Roll the dice? 1992 Mercedes-Benz 500E

Bet big to win big, right? Today might be one of those situations. What we are looking at is a 1992 Mercedes-Benz 500E with a hair under 50,000 miles. This is obviously very good in the big picture. But the real pictures you are seeing show a different story. This monster W124 is so dirty you can’t tell the condition of the paint, the tires are nearly flat and the seller has no real information on the car other than it’s just been sitting in the driveway for at least a year.

Ready to gamble?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Mercedes-Benz 500E on eBay

Year: 1992
Model: 500E
Engine: 5.0 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 49,396 mi
Price: No Reserve Auction

Low mileage because owner collected many cars.

Grille is 1993 version. Has been sitting in driveway at least 12 mos, battery may need to be replaced. Tires appear low. Can probably be driven after battery is charged. But current registration is for planned nonoperation. This is not an estate sale.

Interior of car is very new looking.

Previous license was 3CLH104 prior to a rear-end accident where license plate was lost.

The 500E is a dilemma if I’ve ever seen one. These are no doubt valuable cars and the current market isn’t slowing down on them. Any E500E that is in any kind of decent shape is usually bringing $12,000 right off the bat even for cars pushing the 200,000 mile mark. Once you start getting into lower mileage cars that are very well sorted you can hit $30,000 very easily and head all the way up to $150,000 for Jerry Seinfeld’s 500E.

A couple of things about this car I find interesting. First is that it has been updated to the 1994 facelift look. This is a modification that doesn’t come cheap so those that do it, usually love their 500E. Inside, the interior looks good enough with no major flaws although a bit dirty. Everything can be cleaned, but ripped seats, broken wood and cracked dashes are when things start getting expensive. But the real mystery is the actual mechanical condition. You can easily spend $10,000 trying to rehab one of these cars back to good health and unless you can actually go see this car in person, you are basically bidding blind. There is no indication of updated wiring harnesses, oil tube replacements, EZL condition and most importantly anything about the health of the transmission.

I’m really curious to see where this one ends up. You can basically fix everything wrong with these cars, but you can’t fix high miles. If bidding stays somewhere reasonable, which it probably won’t seeing as it’s at nearly $10,000 already, then it’ll be worth it to gamble on. But if someone pays over $20,000 and finds out it’s a total disaster? Well, hope the market keeps climbing with these.

– Andrew

1995 Mercedes-Benz S500 Coupe

In my opinion, the W140 coupe didn’t age particularity well. That isn’t a huge knock on it because not a lot of cars from the early to mid-90s did age all that well. I think in some angels the C140 looks very handsome, not very offensive. But from other views, mainly the front profile like you see in the photo above, it all looks very odd to me. I totally get why I think it looks this way, you have massive flared fenders up from and a giant rear quarter panel in the back. This is all very good except for the fact that the 16 inch wheels don’t fill out these spaces. The car looks almost top-heavy to me. This of course can be fixed with a proper set of wheels and some suspension modifications. (I still regret not buying that car.) Then again, the main reason you bought this massive coupe is to relax, not worry about bending a $2000 wheel on a minor pothole. You can see the how much I think about this stuff.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes-Benz S500 Coupe on eBay

Year: 1995
Model: S500
Engine: 5.0 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 76,500 mi
Price: No Reserve Auction

· Mileage: 76,500 Color: White over gray exterior/Grey leather interior Owners: 5 Clean title and Carfax

· W140 series (last of the “because they could” big cars built by MB). Classic design coupe; rare, less than 15,000 total production from 1992 – 1998. Car spent the first 18 years in California and Florida.

· Legendary 5 liter M119 V8 engine (last engine to win overall at Le Mans for MB): 315 hp at 5600 rpm and 347 ft/lbs of torque at 3900 rpm. 4-speed automatic transmission/no shift problems.

· California/Florida car. No rust!

· Mechanically very sound. Superb driver. All maintenance up to date. ETB and main engine wiring harnesses replaced. Trans fluid changed. Engine partially overhauled at 66,000 miles (due to engine overheating). Engine very strong. No oil usage. Brakes serviced. Many major components have been serviced or replaced. Underside very clean. Michelin tires w/10,000 miles. Oil/filter changed every year before going into storage. Exceptionally clean and well cared for automobile.

· Complete service records starting 2011

· Exterior and interior very clean. Smoke free. Leather in very good condition. No dents or body repair. Original paint very shiny with minimal scratches/nicks. Front fenders and hood repainted (Not due to any accident – Top quality repaint). Carpets in very good shape (minor stains on driver side floor and in trunk). Wood in excellent condition

· All gauges/systems function: windows, door soft close assist, seat belt presenters, rear window shade, rear headrests (beginning clutch grind), rear back up guides, sun roof, air conditioning, radio (serviced OEM), rear window defroster, electronic side and rear view mirrors, rear hydraulic suspension

· Additional areas needing attention: headliner over rear seat is loose (minor flap with windows open, not detached). Rear head rests raise/lower mechanisms will need to be replaced soon; still work but beginning to make gear grinding sounds indicating gears are slipping. Passenger seat head rest not working. Rough idle issue that is not permanent; quick acceleration corrects it. Everything else works! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need to know more. Shipping is buyer’s responsibly. Deposit of $500 dollars required within 24 hours of purchase.

Mileage: 76,500. Clean title and Carfax• 4-speed automatic transmission/no shift problems.• California/Florida car. No rust!• Mechanically very sound. All maintenance up to date. Exceptionally clean and well cared for automobile.• Complete service records starting 2011• Exterior and interior very clean. No dents or body repair. Front fenders and hood repainted (Not due to any accident – Top quality repaint). • All gauges/systems function – see exceptions below.• Additional areas needing attention: headliner over rear seat is loose (minor flap with windows open – headliner is not detached). Rear head rests raise/lower mechanisms beginning to grind – clutch slippage. Passenger seat head rest not working. Seat belt presenters not working. Occasional rough idle at startup after 5 – 10 minutes. Eventually stops after hard acceleration. Everything else works!!”

When I first glanced this 1995 S500 Coupe for sale in Illinois, I thought I had a real winner. Very clean both inside and out, lower mileage and coming from a seller who knows how to properly photograph a car when they are selling it. Then I started reading the fine print. Things like ”occasional rough idle at startup” and ”engine partially overhauled at 66,000 miles (due to engine overheating)” started giving me second thoughts. On the inside, more things like seat belt pretensioners not working, headrests either dead or on their way out and a sagging headliner give me pause. It’s not like all of these things are a major deal, but it just tells me maybe this car wasn’t a number one priority to try to keep in exceptional shape. I totally understand though because the majority of people live with issues on their cars and it doesn’t bother them. But to me, these cars are what I’m into and ”occasional rough idles” keep me up at night.

What I’m interested to see is where the bidding ends up. I have no doubt that someone is going to fall in love with this car based on the outstanding photos and start bidding away, issues be damned. Nice C140s are becoming rare very and clean ones like this aren’t popping up as much as they used to. If I had to guess, the $7,500 to 10,000 range wouldn’t shock me because a lot of people have no problem throwing caution to the wind. At the end of the day, I guess whatever kind of risk you can stomach all plays into older car purchases, but I like to play it a little more safe.

– Andrew

I Love the 90s? 1990 Mercedes-Benz 500SL

Last week Craig looked at a really nice early R129 500SL. Today’s car is another early R129 500SL, but as you can probably tell, this one is a bit different. This 1990 for sale in Orange County, CA comes from an era where you actually had to paint a car to change its color. It’s a rolling piece of 1990s car culture and it hasn’t aged particularly well. I compare it to a nice house that hasn’t updated the kitchen in 25 years. It’s not that the workmanship is low, it’s that time has left it behind. Now of course with any custom car, it’s priced way too high and has some strange things going on with it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 500SL on Orange County Craigslist

Year: 1990
Model: 500SL
Engine: 5.0 liter V-8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 85,730 mi
Price: $13,995

A unique, one of a kind, customized Mercedes-Benz SL500. This car has new B.F Goodrich tires, rebuilt suspension, all new shocks and struts, new conv. tan top, and all original leather tan interior. This auto was customized by Santini with AMG bumpers and trim, Lorinser wheels, and the PPG Harlequin, Vibrance PPG-VM, green to purple paint that changes color as lights hits at different angles. Custom electronics offer remote starting, door and window operations, and remote convertible top opening.

At first glance, I thought this car was customized basically right off the lot. It has all the period correct items like the chameleon paint, early R129 AMG bumpers and sideskirts, Lorinser wheels and remote everything. But upon closer inspection, this car has the 1996-2002 side vents on the fenders. 1990 to 1995 R129s have three squared slots but in 1996 those were swapped out for two slots that were rounded. So if I had to guess, the paintwork and probably all of the other modifications didn’t happen until at least 1996. This still fits the time period of when this paint style was popular so I’m not too surprised. The thing is, I can’t really knock this car. Nothing looks cheaply done or slapped together. It’s not my cup of tea (and probably not most enthusiasts as well), but I appreciate that someone at least spent the time and the money to do all these jobs correctly.

If I was looking at a totally stock 1990 500SL with the 83,000 miles on it in nice condition, I’d value it at $8,000-10,000 depending on location and color. This car is listed at a hair under $14,000. Well, I think it is. It’s also listed on Hemming but the price there is $19,500. That is kind of a big difference in price. In one of the photos it showed the car being rolled across the stage at a Mecum action. Naturally, I did a little research to see what the car hammered at. In 2013, this R129 went up for auction at an Mecum Anaheim event with the bidding stalling out at $9,000 and not meeting the reserve. This doesn’t surprise all that much, even with a room full of people with too much money and likes shiny things. Values haven’t exactly gone up in the past for years on the R129 and it’s probably going to be around 5-10 years before we start seeing that for the clean, desirable examples. If I really had to throw a value on this car to actually to get it to sell? That $9,000 bid doesn’t sound so crazy. The problem being is that it’s totally not worth it to the seller to let it go for that number. So back into the garage it will probably go only to be listed again in another few years.

– Andrew

Slippery When Wet: ex-Jon Bon Jovi 1994 Mercedes-Benz S500

New Jersey: Strip malls, used car lots and Bon Jovi.

Somehow these things lead me down a convoluted path to talk about a 1994 Mercedes-Benz S500. What’s the connection?

From the title, you’ll know of course this is not just any W140. It is a W140 once owned by Jon Bon Jovi, and now it is for sale in New Jersey. At a secondhand used car lot, across from a strip mall. Bingo!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Mercedes-Benz S500 on eBay

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2001 Mercedes-Benz SL500

The Mercedes-Benz R129, in my opinion, is in that limbo stage where a it’s not fully a considered a classic yet, but it’s starting to be eyed up as a future collectible for the right models. In typical SL fashion, the chassis ran a staggering 12 years from 1990-2002 which saw many face lifts and engine updates. Seeing as there was a giant difference in technology between 1990 and 2002, the first R129 that rolled off the line and is a lot different than the last R129 that did. Today’s SL for sale in California is towards the end of the production cycle and takes advantage of almost all Mercedes had to offer at the time.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Mercedes-Benz SL500 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1991 BMW 850i

Yesterday, Craig took a look at a very nice and quite affordable E32 750iL. These cars have traditionally been one of the most affordable ways to get into a V12 sedan, and consequently coming across a generally well sorted one that doesn’t require an extensive amount of service is difficult.

But the M70B50 also found its way into the replacement for aging E24. The revolutionary E31 signaled a leap forward in sophistication, refinement and styling from other period BMWs. Minus small details, it still looks reasonably fresh today; something that can’t be said of many 1980s-era designs. The three-quarter view above, for example, is mimicked closely by BMW’s own current 4-series today and the Audi A5. Yet as with the E32, the E31 has been the gateway into V12 Grand Tourers for many with aspirations loftier than their bank accounts. Finding a pristine, early 850i isn’t an everyday occurrence, so this one was certainly worth a look. It didn’t hurt that it’s been breathed on by Dinan, either.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW 850i on eBay

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Roll the dice? 2003 Mercedes-Benz G500 with 318,000 miles

I have an affinity for vehicles that have hit the moon milestone (238,900 miles) while looking like they’ve done so with relative ease. For this 2003 G500, it has already hit the moon and is halfway home on the return trip. I think people have an irrational fear of higher mileage vehicles because they’ve either been with been with cars that didn’t age well or they’ve been told that higher mileage automatically means “bad”. There is some merit in that the more miles a vehicle has, the greater the risk of things failing, but I believe that you get out cars what you put in them — which a few exceptions, of course.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Mercedes-Benz G500 on Los Angeles Craigslist

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1993 Mercedes-Benz 500SEL Limousine

Limousine conversions can go either way. The way I enjoy them are the factory conversions which Mercedes-Benz calls the “Pullman”, a term carried over from railroad cars that were built to be relaxed in. Their fit and finish is totally perfect, which makes sense because these cars were usually built for heads of state like Boris Yeltsin Vladimir Putin to be the ultimate in chauffeured transport. On the other end, companies have taken the standard production car, sliced them in half, lengthened them, stitched them back together then added their own interiors in the passenger compartment. These cars were mostly used as shuttles for kids to puke up their Jägermeister on the way to the prom. Today’s 500SEL for sale outside of Boston is one of those types of limousines. Yea?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Mercedes-Benz 500SEL Limousine on Boston Craigslist

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Feature Listing: 1991 Alpina B12 5.0

I was quite lucky as a teenager to have some pretty serious metal from Bavaria to cut my teeth on. My father had gotten quite into 1980s BMWs, so we had a few 6-series and even a M5 in the house. But it was the “family” car that I liked the most, believe it or not. That family car was a pretty special one as it was an E32 735i 5-speed. The manual in the large body car might be a bit of an aberration, but as a whole package the E32 was a great car. It was fantastic to drive and felt much lighter on its feet than the size would indicate. It was comfortable, too, in either front or back posts, with rich smelling leather, a modern climate control system and a great sounding stereo. It was a car which ate up highway miles with ease, and outside it was quite a looker, too. It managed to look both more substantial and much better proportioned than the E23, finally integrating the mandated bumpers well into a design that was market leading. In fact, the only area I ever really felt our E32 could have used some help in was to have a bit more motor.

Of course, BMW offered a revolutionary motor in the 750i. It was the first of the big three luxury brands to make the leap to a modern V12, and the M70B50 was a pretty impressive motor on paper. With 300 horsepower from 5.0 liters, it was nearly 100 horsepower north of the M30 mill in our 735i and smooth as silk. As the years progressed though, the M70’s power was nearly matched by the lighter M60 and there was somehow a loss of exuberance about the V12 as a new run of V8 motors proved the impressive mainstays. I have always had a soft spot for the twelve though, and to me none are more special than the very limited production Alpina B12 models:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Alpina B12 5.0 on Hemmings.com

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Feature Listing: 1999 Mercedes-Benz CL500

In many ways, modern executive sedans – especially the top-tier fully loaded examples fit for the Wall Street elite – have become appliances. They ooze of technology, features and exclusivity but to me the designs have all become too similar. On the surface I can tell the difference between the S-Class, the 7-series and the A8, but they’re really birds of a feather with few distinctive differences. In many ways, leveling the playing field between the big three has resulted in a homogeneous market place full of leisure suit wearing, rhinestone-studded Elvis impersonators. Some may be slightly better looking than others, and some may do a great job. But like a Vegas show that’s run its course, would you really want to own one out of the service warranty when the budget conscious construction, mega complicated electrical systems, suspension and drive train items start breaking? ‘Thank you very much!’, but I’d prefer to look to history for a lesson on how to do it right.

I remember well when the W140 Mercedes-Benz launched. It was a big deal back then, because as they have always the S-Class models represented the absolute best engineering available. The W140 externally was an evolution of the W124 design more than an update of the W126 in my eyes, though the visual similarities were no surprise as Bruno Sacco was at the pen of all three. While the design wasn’t revolutionary, it did bring Mercedes into the current trend and in its own way is handsome. The W140 also pioneered many electronic systems into the large executive market, including cutting edge ABS and Anti-Slip technology, Xenon headlights and near silent interiors thanks to glazed windows. While Mercedes-Benz continued to offer a large coupe version of the platform, unlike the previous generation the C140 featured a completely revised body that made the large 2-door imposing and impressive. All of this cost – a lot – as Mercedes-Benz engineers racked up a reported 1 billion dollars of development costs. Luckily they managed to retain the pillarless design – one of the best aspects of the coupe. The C140 came in a few different engine configurations; under the hood of this CL500 was the same M119 that had powered the legendary 500E. With over 320 horsepower on tap, the 4-cam V8 was capable of providing and entertaining drive even in the quite heavy W140. This particular CL500 is from the last year of production for the 140 chassis:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 Mercedes-Benz CL500 on eBay

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