1994 Mercedes-Benz E320 Cabriolet

Some of my favorite cars as one-off or special builds that you rarely ever see for one reason or another. These builds usually happen because of a special connection with the brand, most often thanks to spending a ton of money, that let you have certain modifications when ordering a car to be built. Some brands are pretty friendly and open with this kind of stuff while other brands will give you nothing and you’ll like it. Mercedes-Benz has always been very hush-hush with their special requests for customers so most people usually turn to aftermarket turners like Brabus or Renntech if they want something really special. If you do somehow get some special treatment from Mercedes, it usually isn’t found out about until the car comes up for sale because the kind of people who get special treatment from Mercedes don’t post about it on internet forums or Instagram. Today’s car, a 1994 E320 Cabriolet, is exactly that. Although this car has a long history with a little bit controversy as well. Get comfortable.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Mercedes-Benz E320 Cabriolet on eBay

Year: 1994
Model: E320 Cabriolet
Engine: 3.2 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 120,415 km (74,822 mi)
Price: $65,000 Buy It Now

This 1994 Mercedes-Benz 320CE is a real factory-built Sportline/AMG A124 Cabriolet delivered Zurich Switzerland, November, 1993. It is the only one specifically ordered through Daimler AG with a rare combination of an S-class 722-5 automatic transmission; combined with a post-production modification through, then still independent AMG, Affalterbach, with an unprecedented 3:69 gear ratio ASR differential. This combination was never ordered for any other W124 chassis save for this one-off, hand-built cabriolet!

Other unique specially ordered features include the only one ordered matching Signal Red Recaro/Sportline leather interior, Sportline rally suspension, and AMG 2nd Generation aero-affects. Also ordered was an S-Class-only infrared-remote lock system with an unique Swiss Anti-theft Deterrent system, along with Mercedes’s best available, top-of-the-line Becker ‘Speciale’, AM/FM, Cassette CD audio-receiver with RDS traffic-alert. A discrete digital integration module has been added for future convenience.

This stunning Sportline/AMG Cabriolet recently completed a three-plus year remanufacturing, solely under direction of Mercerdes-Benz USA; in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, Irvine, California USA and Daimler AG, Stuttgart Germany. This rare and stunning example has remained original, with every system and assembly repaired, replaced as-needed toward compliance with Mercedes-Benz factory certification of compliance. Specifically toward acquisition criteria expressed by curators with the Mercedes-Benz Museum, Stuttgart.

This specially commissioned, hand-built, one-of-a-kind cabriolet was imported into the United States in 1997 by the original owner, while she cared for her ailing sister. DOT allowed the vehicle into the U.S. unfederalized under the condition the owner took her car with her when she returned to Europe. The purchase price upon delivery was well North of 115,000. Euros. The car currently records 120415 kph(74,500 original miles). The present owner will consider offers beginning May 1st. After which, this rare ‘rally’ cabriolet will be available by appointment. Located conveniently near LAX or John Wayne International Airports, a scheduled business or personal visit to Los Angeles can easily accommodate a private viewing to experience this stunning example for your collection.

Additional sale features include all original accessories, factory-authorized restoration/repair receipts, original build sheet(s), and as well as, sales and operating manuals, wallets(2) and all supplements. Also included are all correct and complete tool, fuse, bulb, first aid and emergency kits, plus more. Sale includes Certificate of compliance from Daimler AG with an accompanying current title of remanufactured from Arizona.

NOTE: This unique automobile is offered exactly as delivered to Mme. Irene Dreyfus, at her villa, 18th of November, 1993 by her agent, Daimler-Schweiz AG, Zurich.

This one-of-a-kind cabriolet was conceived early August, 1993, within a period as the 300CE to E320 W124 platform was in transition. It includes a rare combination of early/late manufacturing features. With the inclusion of the newly developed S-Class 722-5 five speed automatic transmission, and highest 3:69 gear-ratio ASR differential available by Mercedes, this cabriolet obviously required no C36 package. The original owner desired only what was needed to transverse the Alps between Switzerland, Austria and the Riviera. Not the German autobahns. Of course, the cost savings did not go unrewarded and Daimler realized the owner desires that her new Mercedes be anything but “Ferrari Red” as she demanded!

Hence, the late three month delivery, which by fate forced this car to be one of the final five cars to leave AMG Affalterbach, where the car awaited the matching signal-red Sportline/Recaro leather interior to be fitted.

Vehicle is located in Los Angeles. World-wide shipping can be easily arranged.

The seller does a good job of telling you about the history and specifications of this car, but there is more to the story here. The description lays out a bunch of ”one-of-a-kind” and ”one-off” marketing terms but in reality this is just a parts bin car like everything else. The 722.5 transmission and 3.69 rear end were available on European W124 Cabriolets, so yes, this might be very rare compared to all the other cars in North America, but it isn’t exclusive just to this car. The AMG bits were added à la carte style from then-independent AMG and you might notice that is a bone-stock 3.2 liter M104 under the hood. A 3.6 M104 was available from AMG at the time, but this car wasn’t outfitted with such. The other thing that is throwing up red flags for me are the seats. The seller says they are factory and I might have an objection here. The stitching pattern doesn’t match any other W124 seat pattern that was produced. If Mercedes simply added red leather instead of their standard colors, the pattern would match all the other seats. I highly doubt they would make a one-off pattern for just one car. A quick check of the data card says the interior was ”FABRIC “CHECK” – BLACK (371A)” as well, so draw your own conclusions on that one. Then there is the giant elephant in the room.

This a flood car. In 2012, this A124 was a victim of Hurricane Sandy. It was listed on eBay in 2013 where it was discovered to be flooded and even had photos sitting in an insurance auction lot with broken glass scattered about on those red leather seats. The car was also missing that Becker radio and wood steering wheel the seller goes on about. This explains why it underwent the ”three-plus year remanufacturing” process and subsequent R-title. I guess that salt water is tough to remedy. Everything surely looks fine now, but that is something that will never leave this car even if the title somehow gets scrubbed over time because after all, the internet is undefeated.

So what does all this mean for the price? Well, the $65,000 is a hefty ask to say the least, but I don’t know how you price something like this. Yes, it’s rare and unique, but has a story a mile long with a bunch of unknowns thanks to a dousing of water. The A124 market is starting to soften just a little, but this car is as much as an outlier as I’ve seen for one of these. I think you have to look at it as it sits today and not try make a valuation from its past known and unknowns. Does it make you happy when looking at it and when you drive it? If so, try to put a number on that feeling. If you try to come up with all kind of formulas based on comparative cars I think it will get messy and you’ll only get hurt when it comes to try to sell it again. Honestly, based on the sellers exceptions, I don’t think it will go for any kind of reasonable price so I doubt we will see a quick sale — if any sale at all.

– Andrew

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16 Comments

  1. “…three-plus year remanufacturing, solely under direction of Mercerdes-Benz USA; in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, Irvine, California USA and Daimler AG, Stuttgart Germany.”

    Those are some big names. It would be important to know WHO in any of those firms would direct and supervise a project for an independent dealer.

  2. @ Mario. That’s another thing. ”In collaboration” could mean anything. For all we know, they just proved a part number or two and that’s it.

    This whole car is fishy.

  3. Wow…..There is a lot of BS in the ebay ad.
    The VIN given is not for this car. If you look at some invoices, the correct VIN is: WDB1240661C063388 which decodes to the following car:

    WDB1240661C063388
    Model 320 CE
    Engine 104992 12 038874
    Transmission 722503 03 929087
    Order Number 0 3 571 44241
    Order Location SWITZERLAND
    Interior FABRIC “CHECK” – BLACK (371A)
    Paint 1 SIGNAL RED (568U)
    Release Date 1993-11-12
    Delivery Date 1993-11-18
    Approx. Build Date 1993-10
    038 POWER SUPPLY RCL CONTROL UNIT FOR IMMOBILIZER
    221 LEFT FRONT SEAT, ELECTRICALLY ADJUSTABLE
    222 RIGHT FRONT SEAT, ELECTRICALLY ADJUSTABLE
    240 OUTSIDE TEMPERATURE INDICATOR
    260 TYPE DESTINATION ON TRUNK LID – ELIMINATION
    281 STEERING WHEEL WITH SPORTS DESIGN (390 MM) AND GEARSHIFT LEVER IN LEATHER TRIM
    283 DRAFT DEFLECTOR
    291 AIRBAG FOR FRONT PASSENGER
    300 STORAGE BOX IN FRONT TRAY
    371A FABRIC “CHECK” – BLACK
    425 5-SPEED AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
    471 ACCELERATION SKID CONTROL (ASR)
    512 RADIO MB SPECIAL WITH TRAFFIC NEWS DECODER (VK), WITH RDS
    531 AUTOMATIC ANTENNA
    552 THEFT WARNING SYSTEM FOR SWITZERLAND
    568U SIGNAL RED
    570 FOLDING ARMREST, FRONT
    580 AIR CONDITIONER
    593 HEAT-INSULATING GLASS, ALL-AROUND, HEATED REAR WINDOW PANE (SINGLE-SHEET SAFETY GLASS), BAND FILTER
    620 VEHICLES WITH CATALYST TECHNIQUE
    630 ECE – WARNING TRIANGLE
    653 SPORTS CHASSIS WITH 8-HOLE LIGHT ALLOY WHEELS
    740 BLACK SOFT TOP FABRIC 9001
    772 AMG STYLING PACKAGE – FRONT SPOILER, SIDE SKIRTS AND REAR APRON
    798 No code designation available
    823 VEHICLES FOR SWITZERLAND, ADDITIONAL PARTS
    859 MODEL UPDATE II
    880 CLOSING SYSTEM WITH INFRARED REMOTE CONTROL

    Contrary to the seller’s comment, the 5-spd. Automatic was very common for European 6 cylinder W124s, so was the Alarm system. Even
    the (questionable) AMG spoiler package was factory ordered. The car was ordered as a Sportline, also very common over there, with the beautiful checkered cloth interior.

    Using the correct VIN, the CARFAX is a complete disaster. It had a title issued in Florida in 2000 with 20k miles. A year later it was in Georgia with 58k miles. Then in New York until 2011 with 73k miles. Then it went to California in 2014 and had 73.956 miles for two years. That’s what happened after that:
    02/07/2017 Florida
    Motor Vehicle Dept.
    Hollywood, FL
    Title #0071015735 New owner reported
    SALVAGE TITLE/CERTIFICATE ISSUED
    Vehicle color noted as Red
    04/06/2017 South Dakota
    Motor Vehicle Dept.
    Lawndale, CA Registration issued or renewed
    Vehicle color noted as Red
    05/15/2017 South Dakota
    Motor Vehicle Dept.
    Lawndale, CA
    Title #170951376 TOTAL LOSS VEHICLE
    SALVAGE TITLE/CERTIFICATE ISSUED
    Exempt from odometer reporting
    Vehicle color noted as Red

    One can only hope that nobody falls for the, granted, beautiful red interior and pays waaaaaay to much money for a more than questionable car.

  4. great detective work by audifan…..based on this research I’d consider it a bad buy even if they took a zero off their asking price.

  5. Okay, let me clear up some misleading statements and outright assumptions made in this market blitz article.

    First, yes it was a flood car from the 2012 storm on Long Island. But to be a journalist one should expect diligence of research before writing any published article. Unlike this writer, I did do the research before arranging restoration on this car.

    The owner at the time of the damage was located and contacted. She discussed the car freely with me. She was heartbroken about losing her car, but her Insurance carrier explained to her, that due to the age of the vehicle at that time and despite the damage was minimal, in their estimation the car was not worth more than to repair it, than. In fact, they gave her only $7000. for the loss.

    Before the storm, the car was moved from her waterfront home inland by her service mechanic. The fear at the time was about the expected tidal surges would inundate the coastal strip with sea water. Fortunately for this car, so many cars were moved inland that her car was one of the last to be moved. When finally moved, it was parked just outside the lot used, ending up on a wooded knoll nearby. What surprised everyone was not the tidal surge, but the torrential rains that followed. Actually, what was fortunate for this car was because it was late to be moved it wasn’t flooded as deeply as all the hundreds of other cars in the parking lot. It did get water, but only fresh water, and only up to the driver’s side door sill. When retrieved a day later, water was discovered in both of left floor pans and moisture had creeped through the carpet to soak the front passenger side carpet. The major insurance carriers were contending with tens of thousands of cars, so nearly 70% of the affected cars were ever even superficially inspected by adjusters. I obtained photographic evidence taken by the auction company at the time revealling exactly where the waterline had reached on the car. After due research, it was a consensus of opinion that the car was indeed retrievable and easily repairable if enough money was willing to be spent to save it. After contacting the Classic Center in Irvine California and Daimler in Germany, I soon realized the car was exceptional enough to save it. If it had been a simple base cabriolet, I would have never bothered. In fact, for one part alone; what I have come to believe is the achilles heel for all the A124s, I had to buy another A124 simply as a doner car.

    My only suggestion to this fool that disparage this vehicle is to due research. I suggest he question the importance of any sort of title with any surviving 280SE 3.5 cabriolets. Or for that matter any W111 convertible from 1961 thru 1970. As Jay Leno said about the salvage title on his Duesenberg; “If an old car’s past scares you, then you shouldn’t be buying one.”

    I have complete and thorough documentation from and by Mercedes-Benz USA LLC, the Classic Center in Irvine, California, as well as Daimler AG relating to this unique car’s complete history and remanufacture. It has achieved a rarely granted Certificate of Compliance from Daimler AG itself and all receipts for work performed and NOS parts purchased are directly from and by Mercedes-Benz.

    And on a final contention, let me assure all that what the restoration of this vehicle has taught me is that what I spent to save this car and what I am asking for it will pale in comparison five years from now. This is not my first waltz with rare vehicles. For example I picked upo a 70 Dodge Charger Hemi RT/SE with a lost salvage title in 1986 for $12K. The car had a 10 pound bag of sugar dumped in its tank! I ended up letting it sit until 2013 when I decided to sell for $65K. I offered it first to all the local Mopar enthusiasts; the so-called experts, who came out and tried to dissuade me of the rarity by saying in their expert opinions that the car wasn’t that rare nor valuable, offering 20 cents on the dollar of my asking price.

    Eventually, after politely refusing the low-ball ignorant insults, a gentleman from Finland visited, looked the car over and immediately paid the full price in cash. Within a matter of days the car was flatbed to Long Beach, stuffed into a container and shipped around the world to Finland. Last year after spending an additional $45k to restore it, he sold it for $245K! Unknown to all the so-called experts, only nine such 1970 RT/SE Hemi Chargers were ever built. They were built only for showroom display at cost for Dodge’s highest volume dealers in the US. Five of the nine were automatics and the rest 4-Speed sticks. Whatever configuration each dealer wanted for his specific he could have, but only as long as it was a top-of-the-line Hemi RT/SE.

    The Charger is but one example of cars I have found, restored and sold. I don’t flip cars, I don’t screw people and I care less about nickel and dime bullshit about what condition a car is in when I find it. Hell, if its too much to bare for the market at the time, then, likemy Hemi Charger or my 71 280SE 3.5 Cab, I’ll just let it sit. Every year I can write it off as devalued inventory on my taxes all the while its purcalating wirh appreciation!

    What I have gained, though, through experience from all the decades of being in this ‘pursuit’ or hobby, is the ability to easily spot the passionate from the profit in people that associate with it.

    As far as any statements or documentation made in my listing that are vague or omitted, please have the commonsense for whatever reasons anyone may have, contact me directly and I will be happy to assist you in realizing your goal to find the truth about any car I set out to sell. Whether on is here for gain or simply for the pursuit of their passion, I have not hidden agenda than to pass along what would have been lost for the future.

  6. I don’t understand why making a bad move on a previous vehicle makes this a good value.

  7. lol @ RICHARD BALL

    This is one touch shelf saga. At this point, the car isn’t the ONLY problem.

    Oh, and revealing a private communication from the MBCC was a classy touch. Even classier was posting the sender’s name.

    Eesh.

  8. Check with Classic Center or the MB Museum and they will kindly educate the writer that AMG supplied Kepler-Recaro seats with post-production modifications orders

  9. Can’t but laugh with the so-called experts here. Obviously if any response is too complex or beyond simple three short sentence paragraphs or bullet points it is failed to be grasped

  10. But as I said “If an old car’s past scares you, then you shouldn’t be buying one” kind of says it all.

  11. But as I said “If an old car’s past scares you, then you shouldn’t be buying one” kind of says it all.

  12. What receipts? The VIN is WDB1240661C063388 and is in the ad description. eBay does not allow a foreign VIN to be input.

    God! What a pain in the ass dealing with millennials who can no longer can have common sense but merely emotionally react as adolescent peasants. All the millions in tuition wasted on empty degrees going nowhere.

    If Trump only accepted the reality and simply picked up Nero’s fiddle

  13. Good Lord! Like stumbling into a lesbian bar around 1 am on a Tuesday morning!

  14. Sometimes a seller is their own worst enemy.

    In this case, the seller seems to be reveling in that notion.

  15. FakeSellerExposer

    Baaah! This peanut gallery is booooring! Much better commentary on this car here:

    https://www.500eboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12580

  16. For whatever it’s worth, our Classic Center had no involvement with this vehicle beyond the provision of a factory build sheet some time ago. We did NOT restore the car, nor did we oversee the car’s restoration, nor have we ever sold the owner any parts for it.

    We appreciate the tactic of throwing good name into the marketing effort, but only when it’s deserved (and true!).

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