Vintage Benz (or others) owners?

acdesignskySeptember 14, 2005

DH and I have been getting by with one car for the past 4 months since he began a new position at work. He based from our home office and flies all over the country. The only traveling and/or driving he does is to the airport. That being the case, we decided we'd just have one car and I'd drive him to/from 2X a week (company pays for gas and mileage).

Now that the kids are back in school and involved in activities 5X a week, it's getting harder to do so we're looking at buying a used 2nd car. It'll get about 100 miles a week at most. DH figures this is a good chance to get a impractible little car, either a 1973-1979 Benz convertible or coupe.

We've had fun cruising Ebay for the right one. This isn't a really expensive car (we're keeping it under 4K) and it doesn't need to be museum quality. DH worked on F/14s for 8 yrs, so he's up for the mechanical upkeep.

I just wonder what we're getting ourselves into. Any other vintage car owners out there? Benz folks esp

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ericwi

I see several vintage Mercedes driving around Madison. I know that there is a shop south of town that does frame-up restoration, limited to the Mercedes badge. I drive a 1990 VW Fox, which will be an antique soon enough, if it isn't already. Last year the clutch cable separated, and I was stranded along the highway for an hour or so. Had to call a tow truck, and got the car hauled to our local independent VW shop. I think that the tow and the repair together came to $225.00. Not very much of a horror story, I'm afraid. Do you have a cell phone? It took me nearly an hour to find a pay phone, that was the biggest problem.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 9:19AM
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jemdandy

I'm not convinced that a 1973-1979 Benz convertible is a practical vehicle for "a soccer Mom" for running her children to school activites 5 times per week. It's a cool car, ok, but would you really want a bunch of muddy children piling into your vintage cool car? How about a child's friend with a gooey choclate bar? And the fact that it's a convertible reduces useable space in the back seat and trunk. It also reduces driver visibilty with the top up compared to standard car. You will need all the visibilty you can get while in school lot. The top will be up all winter anyway, or it would be in my climate.

If the car quits and hubby is out of town (Murphy's Law says this will happen), you'll need to get it running again in a couple of days. A repair on the old Benz may be just as quick as any other car, or it may take a couple of months depending what part is needed.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 3:31AM
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sdello

Uh, Jem I don't think she is proposing the Benz as a replacement for her but instead a vehicle that will get her husband back and forth to the airport and will serve double duty as a weekend cruiser when she and DH feel like going for a ride with the top down.

I can't help with the track record for a late 70's SL Benz but I'll add this food for thought.

An old car is an old car. If it has been well-maintained and treated nicely for its entire life then it will likely continue to provide good service as long as the maintenance continues and components get replaced as they wear out.

I'm not sure I understand the point of EricWI's story except that of the clutch was never serviced then it was it's time to wear out.

Your proposal is OK as long as you understand that there will be maintenace involved to keep it running and looking good. Benz service (like all acrs) is not cheap. Nor are parts (but I suspect that most parts are readily available).

The fact that DH "has worked on F/14's for 8 years" means nothing except that he is mechanically inclined and can likely LEARN how to work on the car. If you haven't doen something before you don't know what you're getting into. I would not call a brain surgeon for a heart problem. Also, he has to have both the time and desire to work on it.
Unless you find a really great deal, a $4k car is worth just that. When you try to buy luxury cheap you need to expect to do some work.

I think it might be fun, but no one is going to guarantee that it will be all fun and games. That's the gamble of used cars. Nothing runs maintenance free forever.

that's my 0.02.
good luck

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 10:48AM
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acdesignsky

Thanks for the replies. It would be DH's car. More often that not, I'll still drive him to the airport, but conflicts are bound to arise. Chances are pretty good it will sit in the garage 85% of the time.
DH used to work on cars alot in HS and in his early 20's. He just got tired of getting his hands dirty at work and at home. Now that he's in a office type job, he misses the mechanical work. He's looking forward to his new "hobby".
I mentioned the upcharge we'll have to pay for service w/ a Benz. Since we've never had a luxury car before, we don't have a real good idea of the price difference. We've had new or newer Japanese imports. That does worry me. Fortunately, we spending less so we have cash for repairs and maintenance.
We're keeping an eye out for the right car. Wish us luck!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 9:48PM
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gary__

I would suggest finding a mercedes forum before jumping in. Couple of years ago I was considering buying an SL for my work car. I've always liked the way they look. A guy at work had a newer (at the time 10+ years ago) SLC I got to ride in a couple of times. After reading the forums it sounded like they're pretty tempermental and get lousy gas mileage. Not wanting to get any worse gas mileage than the mid 20's I was already getting, I opted for something else. As another poster said, an old car is an old car. I bought an '87 corvette with 25k miles on it. There has been a pretty steady flow of things to fix on it even with the low miles. Being a chevrolet, parts are easy to come by. I'd consider the parts availablity of the Mercedes too before buying. Happy car hunting! They are definitly neat looking cars.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 8:14AM
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vstech

my limited experiance with benz is limited to the deisel 300 series, I have an 82 turbo deisel. it has a bit over 260K and it never fails to start. mileage is fine with this huge tank of a vehicle (30+)
I also have a 79 straight deisel non turbo. the head gasket just blew, I will be selling it pretty soon.
both cars came to me as freebies.
so I don't worry too much about maintenance. I also knew nothing about benz, but I worked as a mechanic for years and I was not afraid to take on this challenge. it sounds like your husband will be of the same mindset.
I would look locally before getting one on ebay. and I agree with the above posters, the sl series are "sporty" not economy, so prepare for expensive parts.
enjoy!
John

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 10:04PM
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acdesignsky

GRRRR! Why are men such *idiots*?!?
After all our talk about a vintage MB, DH went off and bought a 1990 Jeep last night. He paid at the absolute top of our budget and it has a whopping 170K miles. I am so incredibly angry about this. He loves the POS and I want to throw up. Fortunately for him, he's out of town this week. I would advise against him stepping foot through our door right now.
I'm trying to repeat the phrase "Serenity now" a la Frank Constanza, but it's drowned out by steady streams of foul lanquage and curses.
Lord, help me..

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 3:09PM
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gary__

Did he ask you what you thought first or just bring it home? Maybe there could be an unfortunate incident while he's away. Get stolen, fire, parking brake failure resulting in it getting launched into the ocean, that kind of thing. Just a thought.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 4:41PM
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