Earlier this week I check out a handsome 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 4.5 that looked to be a great driver and probably not a bad buy for the long run. Today, we have another W109 that has a little bit more risk attached to it. This of course is the king W109, the 300SEL 6.3. I’ve covered these many times before and every time I see one pop up for sale I always try to take a look at them. Unfortunately, this 6.3 needs a lot of help and even more money to make it worth it.
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?
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.…
With the burgeoning economic boom of the late 1950s (Adenauer’s ‘Economic Miracle’ in West Germany), many companies tried to capitalize on the success of the middle class by introducing swankier, more stylish versions of their economic models. The hope was that these cars would be expressions of wealth and signature models. To greater or lesser extent, the three that were developed around the same time – Volkswagen’s Karmann Ghia, BMW’s 700 Coupe and NSU’s Sport Prinz – were all relatively well received in the marketplace, though of the three only the Karmann Ghia had mass appeal. That was interesting, as the Sport Prinz offered a slightly different take on rakish Italian lines with pedestrian German underpinnings. Introduced for 1960, the Sport Prinz was built on the Prinz III chassis, a diminutive, air-cooled rear-engine inline-2 economy “sedan”. To take the Prinz upmarket, like Volkswagen NSU turned to Italy. Instead of Ghia or BMW’s choice of Michelotti, though, NSU enlisted famed Bertone in Turin and the designer Franco Scaglione. The resulting design was significantly more dramatic than the Prinz, with long overhands, a swoop roofline and tail fins hinting at greater GT speed. As with the others though, the Sport Prinz offered no performance gain, but at least came to market slightly under the price of the more famous Karmann Ghia, at around $2,400 – top for the NSU lineup in the early 1960s.
“Hey, nice Corvair!” , they’ll shout out the window at you, “What, did you leave it in the drier too long?”
Most people I know seem to view me as some sort of idiot-savant, casually remembering which wheel styles were associated with what model, what colors various cars came in, engine specifications and call numbers – you get the point. But I have to admit to a huge gap in my automotive knowledge. Perhaps it’s a willful ignorance, but I’ll be damned if every single American car from the 1950s basically looks the same to me. I’ll take ‘Generically shaped cars for $1,000, Alex!’:
“What is Hudson!” (beeeeeep)
“What is a Studebaker?” (beeeeeep)
“Uh, what is Nash?” (beeeeeep)
Sure, like the rest of America who grew up before the year 1990, I can ID a 55 Chevy at a distance thanks to Don McLean’s insistence that you weren’t American if you couldn’t, but otherwise there’s this huge void of massive steel shapes that mean little to me.
What’s interesting is that I can so easily identify the differences between the Volkswagen 1500, the BMW 700, and the NSU Prinz. All were rear-engine, three-box sedans that were built at the same time. They all have a very, very similar shape. And yet, to me they’re as different as….well, a BMW and Volkswagen can be. NSUs are rare as the proverbial tooth of a hen here in the U.S., so is this forlorn 1200 worth a roll of the dice?
I know what you’re thinking.
“Great“, you’re saying, “Carter wants to look at another shitty swapped Volkswagen. Pass. When will he get over this?”
Admittedly, I have looked at quite a few hot hatches recently. There was the A1 GTI with an ABA 2.0 swap; subtle, and clean, but certainly not original and that hurt the value. Several notches up from that was the repeatedly for sale 1977 Rabbit with the 2.8 24V VR6 swap – neat and generally clean, but again a bridge too far for many. Then there was the ultra-clean and fully custom 3.2 swapped Golf; cool, but clearly not a daily driver candidate. So, here we go again – another swapped Golf. But, this one has a bit of a twist…is it worth a roll of the dice?
Very rarely do the fine people at Mercedes-Benz perpetrate a major mistake. But when they do, oh boy. Maybe it’s just the nature of the beast of car manufacturing that when mistakes do happen, it’s usually of grand proportion. Today’s car, a 2002 S600, is one of those mistakes. It’s not the sub-par build quality and lack of longevity that makes this car an absolute nightmare, it’s what is under the hood they makes this W220 almost radioactive to any buyer.
Engine: 5.8 liter V12
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 138,599 mi
Price: Buy It Now $3,445
2002 S600 Mercedes that runs and drives but has an oil leak from the top of the motor in back. The motor has 389 horsepower. It delivers it very smooth. The transmission shifts so nice through all of the gears. The wheels are correct factory S600 wheels wrapped in as new Michelin tires. The brakes stop this heavy car easy. The exhaust is all in good order. The battery works just fine and is the big battery. The car goes down the road so smooth. The inside is loaded up with heated, cooled massage front seats, wood all over the place, Suede headliner, leather dash, steering wheel. Heated power back seats with lumbar. The navigation and Bose system is great!! The car has a clean clear title in hand ready to transfer. No extra fees in my auction. The 2 coil packs and the set of xenon headlights are worth $3000 alone!! Make me a fair
This problem with this W220 is the 5.8 liter M137 V12 engine. There is a reason why this engine only lasted for two years in the United States before moving to a 5.5 liter twin-turbo M275.…
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.
Every time I see a car that is usually expensive, selling for a price that is inexplicably inexpensive, the gears in my head start turning. Could I buy this one on the cheap, fix it up and perhaps not lose money on it? Better yet – could I buy it, not do a thing, let it sit and probably not lose money on it? Thank goodness I physically can’t fit another vehicle in my garages and driveway because when I see cars like today’s, those damn gears start moving.
The W109 300SEL 6.3 has quickly become a collector car that everyone in the Mercedes circles are rushing to snag up. Prices have been going up at an alarming rate thanks to folks like Jay Leno proclaiming his love for it. I understand where he’s coming from because the 6.3, in my opinion, is one of the finest sedans Mercedes has ever made. It’s also generally considered one of the first “super sedans” – the prototype for not only later AMG models, but cars like the M5. Sticking the M100 V8 into the handsome W109 body and building it to a standard of above average durability and reliability made this car a winner the day it left the factory. The only problem was all the greatness is that it costs a lot of money upfront and even more to maintain at a reasonable level. This is where some solid math skills and judging your mechanical ability come into play when deciding whether to take the plunge on a project like this 1969 6.3 up for bid in Eastern, Pennsylvania.