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USED European Luxury Cars (pre 1990)



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,819
    Yep, go to Repair & Maitenance Board, there are some Lexus topics there.

    We dont' really do tech questions here, we do more about history, specifications, value, you know, "classics" type talk.

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  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    I came across yet another old Mercedes for sale today. This time it was a '72 350SL; the doors were open, so I took a peek inside. The odometer shows 141k miles, there are no service records, and the bottoms of both doors already show quite a bit of rust. Plus, there is a little tear in the rear window. Any ideas about its present worth?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,819
    Lessee...a 350SL in "fair" condition, obviously neglected.

    Well, the question really low would you have to price it to overcome people's fear of it? Maybe somebody would bite at $5K-$6K. A car like this could really hurt you if there's more rust that's hidden.

    These aren't terribly valuable cars in really good shape. You should be able to find a beauty for $12K, so do the math---body work, new paint, back window, whatever mechanicals it needs.Ca-ching! You could blow $6K easy.

    Sounds more like the kind of car you buy super cheap and just drive it into the ground.

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  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    I can see the merits of buying a fairly ratty convertible, not putting a whole lot of money into it, and just using it during nice weather, not as 'reliable transportation', since it's unlikely to fulfill that role. For ~$5k, you can probably find an early Miata, pre-90 Saab 900 or 325i convertible also, which might be better choices in the long run than a 30 year-old SL. Of course, it's way cheaper to buy any in the 'off-season'.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,819
    Mercedes don't look very good when they are rusted, do they? Any prestige value goes right down the drain.

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  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    Same thing goes for rusted Audis and BMWs, I presume?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,819
    I don't know, I never really thought of Audis or BMWs as prestige cars but I guess some people do.

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  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    You never cease to amaze me, Shifty.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,819
    Howszat lance?

    You mean about my view of prestige cars?
    Lemme explain....

    This attitude probably that comes from having known BMW for so long when it was an affordable and sporty car for the stoutly middle class man. I have the same memory of Jaguar, which I also have a hard time thinking of as a prestige brand, since it also, like BMW, was originally born and marketed as an affordable car strictly built for fun driving.

    Now that these cars have gone upscale, I have a hard time relating. I'm like the old school chum who remembers the geeky kid before he became famous. To me he is still the geeky kid. I'm rather hoping that this BMW and Jaguar thing is an aberration and that the cars will sober up, go on a diet and return to their true identities as lean and mean thoroughbreds rather than lydesdales with fancy braided manes and coiffured hooves and tails. Fat chance, I know, I know.

    Mercedes, on the other hand, has historically always been a prestige brand, going back pre WWII, so I'm very used to regarding them as such.

    I wish this worked in reverse, where I would still look at a Cadillac or Lincoln as a prestige brand, but there has been too much evidence to the contrary these last 50 years to even keep my dreams alive about those cars.

    But to a 20 year old, sure, BMW is a prestige car and Jaguar a luxury car. Neither one impresses me in that way, since we are such old friends and I know where all the warts are.

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  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    If MB is so upscale why does it fill the taxi role in Germany so well? Seems to me it is luxury here to those who want image but over in Germany it has the full range just like GM or Ford. Don't get me wrong, no comparison from the 70 Torino I dumped in 72 for an MG, to the 71 280 SL that we now get to tour around in but just different ends of the spectrum. I think you are giving it way more credit than it deserves which is what the market does as well, IMO.
  • amazonamazon Posts: 293
    In europe, you can buy the E-class with a small 4 cylinder engine and not much luxury equipment. Those cars are roomy, and can take the abust from taxi use very well. For a cab owner, these cars aer the most economical in the long run.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,819
    They are still highly regarded in Germany whether they are taxis or not. They don't think like we do about everything. For instance, an auto mechanic in Germany has at least the status of a teacher or other professional, since he goes through an apprentice program. Back me up here, friends from Germany!

    In other words, both the Mercedes taxi and the mechanic in Germany have "credentials" and are thought of more highly than counterparts in the US.

    Besides, Mercedes has a long and glorious history and making taxicabs is not going to erase that by any means. All they have to be is Europe's sturdiest, longest running and most reliable taxicabs, and be worthy of the Benz name, which they apparently are.

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  • magnetophonemagnetophone Posts: 605
    Exactly. I believe Germans really feel that their resilience as workhorse vehicles is a testament to the car's quality and ability. Mercedes taxicabs are in use in nearly every European country. Granted, so are Opels and other brands I wouldn't consider as sturdy.

    It's simply an American phenomenon to have to "differentiate" luxury - it actually has nasty implications that go back to our segregationist attitude. In Japan, a Lexus LS430, definitely a very nice, luxurious vehicle only for people who make good money, is a Toyota Celsior. Meaning it shares floor-room space with the Corolla. It's the car you are buying, not the right to buy it in a separate showroom. Now, to Japan's consumer culture's credit, most dealerships are very swanky. They are really high-tech buildings that would put 99% of American car dealerships to shame - except for maybe the "Saab centres" in some of the larger cities in the US.

    Germany actually has been guilty for what you could call a type of obessive compulsive behavior about class wealth and materialism. The country is incredibly sterile and people are very "P.C." They have been raised on almost two generations of being told they have to be sorry for what they did in World War II. While I think they've made up for what they did, there is still a very "dumbspoken" attitude where people simply do not feel like they need to cause any sense of controversy.

    For example, whereas in America or England if you own a BMW or Mercedes or Audi, you tend to show it off, even going so far as to buy "AMG wheels" or stick an ersatz "M5 badge" on your 530i, in Germany people do just the opposite. Not wanting to attract attention to themselves, it is very common for rich people to remove their badging so that nobody knows what they make. If someone owns an E220, big deal, but if they own an E55 AMG, you know they make money. Success is not a reason to show off in Germany.

    This is why in Germany, there is no company making Lamborghinis, Ferraris, etc. Their sports cars are deceivingly similar to the car upon which they are based. An M5 really does not look that much different from a 530i (or 520d, or 520i for that matter). The Mercedes E55 looks deceptively plain.

    My favorite German sports car, the Audi RS6, which I contend is the best thing they've ever made, is a station wagon that looks no fancier than an Audi A6 3.0 avant. But it's got like 400hp and can get to 60mph in less than 5 seconds.

    Anyway, to sum it up, Germans don't equate the fact that their brand has their fingers in different pricing brackets as an example that the whole brand is lacking luxury.

    In Texas, we have a chain of grocery stores called H-E-B. They are almost a monopoly here, because they are well-priced, their buildings are really nice, etc. They also came out with a chain of H-E-B's with a whole health foods/natural foods bent, and they're immensely popular, despite being pedestrian H-E-B's. They're a hit with the rich folks, yet nobody forgets that the regular H-E-B's down the street sell generic milk with WIC coupons.

    It's this kind of egalitarian marketing strategy that is common place in Europe, and all a rare site here.
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    Happy 4th of July to all.

    Hope your day was a nice as it was here. Left the 280SL in the garage to go all American and took out the Vette for a little tour down to town after the local parade.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    From reading some old publications from yesteryear, I could sense and tell that early Porsche 924s ('77-79) and Mercedes 190Es (1984-87) did not have great reliability records and were fairly troublesome. Any reason for this, other than the fact that those two cars were somewhat poorly made, even by German standards?
  • magnetophonemagnetophone Posts: 605
    Hmm, well I own a 92 190E and it's been very reliable. The first few years made were not so great, but by about 1990 both the 300E and the 190E were among some of the best cars Mercedes built.

    Being poorly made is if everything falls apart. Mercedes can and do break down, and if someone goes out in the engine, it's not necessarily because of "bad quality."
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,819
    The 924 was a cheap entry level car that sourced Audi and VW parts. It was rough running and basically just fell apart.

    The early 190Es were well-built cars but just had bugs that needed to be worked out--you know, the "first year model blues" and all that. The early 190Es just weren't up to Mercedes engineering standars, but unlike the 924, the 190E was well built.

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  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    The 924's base price when it first came out in April 1976 was something like $10k. That was pretty ridiculous for a Spartan and unremarkable car. The survival rate today is like, what, 2%?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,819
    I rarely see them and when I do they are usually a disaster. But they made about 140,000 of them so they ain't exactly rare. Sometimes you can get a decent price for the last 924s, the 87-88 924S Coupes. They were upgraded somewhat. Figure $5K for a pristine one.

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  • magnetophonemagnetophone Posts: 605
    What does a 924 look like again?
  • magnetophonemagnetophone Posts: 605
    Oh wait, I know. they're the conventional hatchback model. I always thought they were cool looking
  • mminerbimminerbi Posts: 88
    Shifty, refering to your message # 730 above, I respectively disagree with your classification of Jaguar as "an affordable and sporty car for the stoutly middle class man." While that description may apply to early post-WWII BMWs, Jaguars since ~'49, when they were first imported into the U.S. in reasonable numbers, were always upscale cars. They weren't in the Rolls Royce category, but it seems to me that both the XK120 and 140, and the Mark ?? sedan were roughly comparable, in price and prestige, to the Cadillacs, Packards, Lincolns, and Chrysler Imperials of the late '40s - '50s era. Of course, Jaguars catered to a much smaller, more discrimminating segment of luxury car buyer, but their leather and wood accented interiors, and 160-210 horsepower double overhead cam engines appealed more to luxury brand intenders than to folks who purchased Oldsmobiles, Mercurys, or DeSotos, for example.

    Refering to Magnetophone's message # 734, there's another explanation for why some owners remove the AMG, M5, V12, and other high end badges from their cars; it's to reduce the probability of theft. Auto theft is perhaps an even greater problem in Western Europe than in the U.S., from what I've heard and read (although I don't have statistics to back this up). I understand that a significant percentage of the high end cars on the streets of Moscow and other major cities of Eastern Europe, were stolen from their country of origin.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,819
    Well, let's see what the prices were and maybe that will tell us something:

    In 1954, a Jaguar roadster (cheapest one) was $3,400 and the cheapest Cadillac convertible was $4,400. The cheapest Buick convertible was $2,560 and the most expensive Buick covertible was $3,520.

    As for sedans, the '54 Jaguar Mark VII was $4,170 and the best Cadillac sedans were $4,683 and $5,874 respectively.

    A Rolls Royce would have cost 2,500 pounds for the *chassis* alone (you ordered and paid for the body separately) , so was way , way more expensive than either a Jaguar or Cadillac.

    So I'd say the Jaguar was for the prosperous middle class, not the factory worker to be sure, but still cheaper than Cadillac convertibles and way cheaper than Cadillac sedans and limos. Of course, if you wanted the base model Cadillac sedan you could get a plain 4-door at Jaguar prices (Model 62 Cadillac sedan).

    More or less a Jaguar was affordable to anyone who could buy the best Buick or Olds.

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  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    This is purely anecdotal, but when I drove by many car dealers in the UK, I noticed that the cars on their lots outside the showrooms had "Denver Boots" on them. I've never seen that on any car lot in the US, even in some of the nastier sections of several big cities.
  • magnetophonemagnetophone Posts: 605
    What are Denver Boots?
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308 a large, usually yellow, circular device that locks around a wheel hub and acts as a chock of sorts, effectively immobilizing (or immobilising, for Matt's benefit) the car. For reference, see the episode of The Simpsons where Homer parked illegally in New York City while he looked for a restroom.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,967
    ...from time to time. Didn't know they were named after a city, though :-P
  • magnetophonemagnetophone Posts: 605
    I really don't know what the actual numbers are, but it could very well be that cars are stolen more frequently in England than here. I personally doubt it, as England has a tight network of traffic cameras that not only monitor accidents but speed. "Getaways" and the such are less likely considering how crowded the motorways usually are.

    In any event, I do know that the US is the most crime-ridden of the world's industralised nations. I feel very safe where I live and almost anywhere in America, but to be perfectly honest the drive-by-shooting and such probably don't exist at all. The only noticeable violence that I can think of is Nothern Ireland.
  • maw1982maw1982 Posts: 62

    I am looking for a used luxury sedan for my business. I want the most for my money ($15k or less) and don't mind depreciation (would be ay a write-off). I want something with at least a drive airbag and abs. I was looking through on ebay and saw a '90 Audi V8 Quattro with 146k miles for $3k. I compared it to other brands it it looked like a steal. Are audi V8s a worthy competitor in what I am looking for? Also, what are anyone recommendation on what I should buy(I know my choices but am just confused by th choices I have. I need the fanciest model I can get because of my job (BMW 750il is one of my picks). What is everyon'e opinion. THanks
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    For most of its short life (1990-94), the Audi V8 was but a small blur in the luxury car marketplace. My friend's boyfriend had a '90 just like the one you mentioned, but it was the most troublesome car that any of us kids had. You have to remember that these cars are extremely complicated and gas-hungry, and parts and service will definitely be very expensive. The Audi DOHC V-8 is basically two VW 16-valve 4-cylinder engines put together. Same goes with the BMW 750iL. A Saab 9000 Turbo or Volvo 960 would be nice but they are not exactly the paragons of reliability. Here are my personal picks:

    1994-96 Audi 100/A6 Quattro (simpler than V8)
    1993-95 BMW 530i/535i
    Any Lexus from 1993-96 except LS400
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