I have a kind of love-hate with the Mercedes-Benz W220. The design of the S-Class from the W140 to the W220 was like high school senior who is just starting out in life to now a post-grad with an office job who realizes that this will be his life for the next 40 years. Everything is a little bigger, a little softer, not quite as handsome, but now you have some kind of money to spend on things like screens that will be obsolete in three years. Nothing wrong with that and totally acceptable, but the S-Class was now firmly blended in with the BMW 7-Series, Audi A8 and Lexus LS. There was some hope for W220 if you really wanted a full-size sedan to separate yourself from the rest and that of course came in the facelifted S55 AMG. The styling was much more aggressive thanks to some different bumpers and a quad exhaust setup, but the real gem was under the hood with the M113K. This engine was a gem the day it debuted in the E55 and SL55 in 2003 and to this day is a favorite by many for its relative reliability and ability to make huge power numbers. Now that we are well over a decade into the M113K existence and the regular W220 can be had for the same price as a gourmet pizza, finding an S55 AMG for not much money at all isn’t a problem. Although that doesn’t mean that all problems are solved, especially when it comes to maintaining these monsters. This 2004 up for sale outside of Chicago is no different.
What to know how professional athletes go broke? This is how professional athletes go broke. Among many other ”investments” professional athletes dump their playing salaries into during their careers that suck all their bank accounts dry, buying six-figure cars that turn into four-figure cars is a great way lose a bunch of money. You might think doing this isn’t such a big deal and isn’t a big piece of their net worth, but you have to realize that it’s never just one time or one car. Even worse, it’s not even just the car they blow money on. You need to buy the rims and the stereo systems too. You sign a professional contract and go buy a car you’ve always wanted. No big deal. Well, your mother and father needs a car too. Don’t forget your wife. Oh, her parents need cars? Your brother could use a new car too, he’s been there since day one. Same goes for your cousin. How about your two best friends you grew up with? They’ve supported you the entire way. Grandma’s Buick and your aunts old Ford Explorer are on their last legs. Now take all those scenarios and do all that three or four times over after that. All of a sudden you’ve blown a literal fortune on cars. Today’s car is an example of that.
This is a 2001 S600 that was bought and owned by former NBA player Anthony Carter. You probably don’t know who that is and neither did I, so let me explain who this guy is. Carter was an undrafted point guard that played an impressive 13 seasons in the NBA for six different teams before retiring after the 2012 season. He was mostly an off the bench guy for the majority of his career with his contracts usually being only for a year or two at most that paid him around a million dollars a year. Good work if you can find it and easily enough to buy a W220 S600 for over $100,000 then dump a bunch of other money into thanks to custom paint and a crazy stereo system. Now let me be clear, I am not saying that this car somehow made him broke, but this is merely an example of how it can happen and still continues to happen to this day. Although one thing is clear, the current owner of this car is asking entirely too much money for it.
The 2001 Mercedes-Benz S500 had the job of carrying on the legacy of being the best sedan in the world for the past 40 or so years. It failed miserably. Not only was the design a soft, mushy shape, but the materials inside were less than stellar. Thanks to unproven things like Airmatic suspension (as opposed to hydraulic), reliability wasn’t great and legacy buyers were jumping ship for cars and SUVs from rival brands. Don’t get me wrong, people still bought these but the S-Class was no longer than the standard of full-size luxury and technology and more-so just another blob sedan in a now very crowded market. So why am I featuring such a forgettable car today? Well the interior, of course.
Something always brings me back to the M275-powered Mercedes-Benz cars. Is it the 603 hp and 738 lb·ft of torque? Probably. But something else just draws me to these mid-2000s rocket ships on wheels. I love the conservative styling with just a touch of aggressiveness like the quad exhaust tips and 18-inch twin-spoke AMG wheels in gunmetal gray. Just when I think I’m ready to dive in headfirst with one of these beasts in a business suit, I turn and run the other way when I see what it takes to live with one. This 2006 S65 AMG for sale in California checks all the boxes when you looking for one of the cars. Including a recent repair bill that will question how it is it possible that car repairs cost that much.
Last week I checked out the lowly 2006 Mercedes-Benz S350 that in addition to being literally short, was short on options too. Today, we travel to the other end of the (non-AMG) W220 spectrum with a car that has no problem with features or power, the S600. The thing about the W220 S600 is that despite only being produced from 2001 to 2006, this super sedan had two variants of V12s. The early S600s used the naturally aspirated 5.8 liter M137 that was so disastrous that it only lasted two years before the engineers went back to the drawing board to totally redesign a new V12 for their flagship cars. What they came with was a twin-turbo 5.5 liter M275 that proved to be much less troublesome. Luckily today’s car, a 2003 S600 for sale outside of Chicago, sports the M275. Even better, it checks in with just a little over 27,000 miles.
Everyone once in a while one of my favorite mystery cars pops up for sale again. That mystery being why in the world Mercedes-Benz brought these for sale in North America. The car I am talking about is the 2006 S350. I’ve covered this odd ball over year ago but incase you are new or just don’t know the story with this car, let me explain.
In 2006, the last year for the W220 in North America, Mercedes-Benz sold the S350 alongside the S430, S500, S55 AMG, S600 and S65 AMG. This would be totally normal except the S350 was a short wheelbase car that was over five inches shorter than the rest of the model lineup. It was also the only one with the V6. These cars weren’t highly optioned at all and as a result, were nearly $10,000 cheaper than the 430 and $20,000 cheaper than the 500. But why did Mercedes bother to bring over the S350 for only one year? My only guess is they had an abundance of them scheduled for production and needed to rid themselves of these cars while planning the W221 production to start later that year. But that can’t be it, right? Mercedes probably has an entire building full of production planners who make sure things like this don’t happen. They are German, after all.
In my opinion, custom body work can either go really good or really bad. Those who know what they are doing usually put out some unique stuff. Those who don’t know what they are doing put out work made of nightmares. Luckily for everyone, this 2003 Mercedes-Benz S55 AMG for sale in Vancouver, Canada, has some custom body work that actually looks pretty good. Normally, the bodies of the mid-2000 AMG cars don’t have much of a flare to them, but this seller of this specific car had something to say about that. This S55 had the front the rear fenders pulled out by a decent amount to give it the look of a CLK63 AMG Black Series. The more I look at this car, the more I appreciate it, but I can’t decide if I really love it or not.
Finally. After so many times looking at aftermarket limousine conversions (with questionable build quality) on Mercedes I finally found a real factory Pullman. This is a 2001 S500 Pullman six seater with the AMG Advanced Mobile Media System. And here this whole time you thought AMG was just good at making cars that burn tires. This is a fully mobile office computers, desks, live televisions, DVD players and 43 kbps internet service. Well, maybe stick to your smartphones for the internet service. But this car is a great example how well a limo can be done with the right materials and planning. Lets check it out.
Earlier this year I looked at a 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG and pondered how cheap it would need to be for me or you to take the risk on. Ultimately, at the $17,495 the seller was asking still wasn’t cheap enough for me to even think about buying the car. 603 hp and 738 lb·ft of torque be damned, $17,495 is still $17,495 to me. Today, we have the brother of the CL65 for sale in New Jersey, the S65, and guess what? It’s cheaper than $17,495. How cheap?
If you wondering why I am featuring a run-of-the-mill W220 S430 look no further than the words “Almandine Black Metallic”. That’s the name, in my opinion, one of the most wonderful colors Mercedes-Benz has ever produced for its cars. It direct light it looks plum purple only for it to be mistaken for black in the shade and at night. It’s conservative enough to be taken seriously in any setting but still gives off a great shimmer that separates itself from the usual sea of black cars. So when this 2006 S430 4Matic popped up for sale in California, I had to take a closer look at it while trying to restrain myself from getting shipping quotes to bring this thing home to me.
Model: S430 4Matic
Engine: 4.3 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 186,660 mi
Price: $6,900 Buy It Now
Non Smoker Car – second owner – Delivery in San Jose area – buyer must arrange out of area shipping.
Outside of the paint, this is your fairly standard W220. It’s a nice, clean California car with albeit fairly high miles at almost 187,000, but it looks like it has about half of that. Being this is the last year of the W220 and probably the best year of these cars to purchase as most of the problems that plagued these cars had theoretically been worked through, but at the end of the day it’s still a W220. You’ll occasionally run into Airmatic faults but generally I trust these cars at their core. It’s still just a basic M113 V8 paired to the 722.6 gearbox that has been tested a million times over in every Mercedes from this era. These cars do a pretty good job at being what S-Class are supposed to be: a relaxing, enjoyable place to be. If you stay up on your maintenance and repairs when needed, there’s no reason this car can’t go another 187,000 miles — just keep it away from salt.
So what’s the price to make it purple rain? A surprisingly reasonable $6,900. This price is indicative of it being in the place like San Jose where your mail carrier just got a new E550 so the price is a little softer than what you’d probably see if this car was for sale in any other part of the country. But this is a probably the best way to own a purple German car if you want to save $248,000.