1998 Mercedes-Benz SL320

All of a sudden we are in the middle of October and soon little Spider-Mans with coats on will be banging on your door wondering where the free candy is at. That means convertible season is all but over for most of America. That is, like my father used to yell at me for, unless you are one of those crazy people who puts the top down and blasts the heat which in turn is like trying to heat the whole neighborhood. The other scenario is of course if you live somewhere that doesn’t get snow then go ahead and enjoy your top down weather until the turkey is in the oven. That brings me to today’s car, a 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL320.

The SL320 and the pre-facelift 300SL have always stood deep in the shadow of big brothers V8 and V12 R129s and rightfully so. They are were just powerful enough that the car wasn’t a total dog, and usually they were low on standard features. Mercedes figured this out after eight long years with the inline-six SL and finally killed it off in the US after the 1998 model year. This leaves this example in Greenwich, Connecticut, a place where a four garage costs nearly $600,000, in rare company. The even better part about this car is that it had a pile of repairs and maintenance just competed. The thing is, is the price worthy of the little brother SL?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL320 on eBay

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1996 Mercedes-Benz S600 Coupe

Last month I looked at a Mercedes-Benz W140 Coupe in a 1999 CL500 that not only looked great, but had a really reasonable asking price as well. Needless to say, it didn’t last all that long as someone else must of saw the value in it. Today, I wanted to go even further up market and check out a very low-mile 1996 S600 Coupe up for sale in New Jersey. Just as a refresher, Mercedes produced just over 8,500 of the V12-powered 600SEC/S600 Coupe/CL600 models for worldwide sale over an eight-year production period so they are relatively rare compared to the 36,000 examples of the V12 sedan. To find one with just 36,000 miles as this one has isn’t an easy task. However, that certainly means you are going to pay a premium. A big one.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Mercedes-Benz S600 Coupe on eBay

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2001 Mercedes-Benz S320 CDI

I certainly didn’t expect to see this on U.S. soil. “This” is a 2001 Mercedes-Benz S320 CDI. That means this is a short wheelbase W220 with the OM613 turbo diesel engine. Produced from 2000 to 2002, this S-Class was never brought to North America because the diesel S-Class was killed off in the early-90s during the W140 chassis and still hasn’t returned…and probably never will. It was very light on equipment and options, but it wasn’t about that in this car. It was about that sweet OM613. Have a gentle foot, and you could return 30 miles per gallon out of this boat of a car. I know an economical S-Class is a bit of an oxymoron (more of those here), but this is very much a situation of having it all. Let me explain.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Mercedes-Benz S320 CDI on eBay

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1988 Mercedes-Benz 230TE 3.2 AMG

AMG subsidiary AMG Japan produced some wonderfully subtle vehicles in their heyday. The natural course of action if you are a tuner is to go big or go home, which they did occasionally, but not every car can be a 6.0L V8 with giant wide fender flares to make the Batmobile jealous. Today’s car, a 1988 230TE 3.2, exemplifies how AMG Japan sometimes modded cars. It is very subtle and under the radar compared to the normally flashy vehicles that came from Japan and they even went as far as converting the front end to a facelift look that I think finishes the car off perfectly. The thing is, if you want one of these, you’ll be paying for it. Collectors are gobbling up any early AMG car they can get their hands on and this one looks like it will be no different.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 230TE 3.2 AMG on eBay

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The Aquarium: 1966 Mercedes-Benz 600 by Chapron

Its hard to imagine a car that was more sought after and requested by the truly elite of the world than the Mercedes-Benz 600. I don’t need to regurgitate over and over again all the well-known individuals who owned these cars as I’ve done that in the past, but if you want to read about some of them, go nuts. Naturally, with great power and wealth comes with certain expectations and certain requests made to their favorite luxury car maker. I’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff that the Mercedes factory honored the request of, but today’s modification was so nuts that the Mercedes factory flat out said no to.

Nubar Gulbenkian, an Armenian oil tycoon, had a taste for eccentric luxury cars to say the least. He commissioned Rolls-Royce to build him some truly wild stuff and naturally asked Mercedes to do the same with their 600. The thing is, Mercedes said no. Why? Well, Gulbenkian had a thing for cars with fully transparent roofs. He had a 1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith with a transparent Perspex roof, among other body modifications, that is truly a one-off. The story goes, Mercedes wouldn’t do it on the 600 because the structure of the roof isn’t entirely flat. So bending a giant sheet of glass on a car that is constantly flexing and experiences temperature swings isn’t something they wanted to dive into nor stand behind when it breaks. Tycoons usually don’t take no for an answer, so Gulbenkian ordered a standard 600 through a fake name and asked coach builder Henri Chapron in Paris to do the work. In additional to adding the roof, they covered the entire interior in leather and added other little touches like tobacco pipe holders on the front seat backs. I told you this guy was eccentric.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1966 Mercedes-Benz 600 at RM Soethby’s

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1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9

The holy trinity of M100-powered Mercedes-Benz cars, the 600, 300SEL 6.3, and 450SEL 6.9, are not for the causal or faint of heart owners. The buy-in is expensive, the parts are expensive, the labor is expensive, everything is expensive. These are not cars you can stick in the corner of the garage under a cover with a battery tender hooked up only to drive it once a month, if that. They all use extremely complicated suspension systems that will leave you weeping if you walk out in the garage and see the car suddenly resting on its rocker panels. Despite support from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, lots of parts have been no longer available for many years and aren’t coming back, so your only hope it to pray that it doesn’t break and if it does, hope it can be rebuilt. There is a very small, but passionate group of owners of these cars in the M100 club, but their membership is decreasing as the years going on as younger generations aren’t interested in spending sometimes five-figures for routine repairs on these cars.

If you are brave enough to dip your toe into the world of dry-sump engine lubrication and doors heavy enough to slice your fingers clean off if they get caught in them, then the 450SEL 6.9 is where you want to start. Full disclosure, I own a W116 chassis, in non-6.9 trim, so I am a bit biased on these, but also extremely realistic as I’ve worked on a 6.9 extensively and lived to tell about. The hydraulic suspension system is sturdy, but again, very pricey if something goes wrong, and the same can be said for the 6.9 engine itself. The non-6.9 bits are some of the best materials you could ever ask for in a car, sans the god-forsaken US-spec HVAC, so it is for sure a give and take situation. Buy a well-sorted example and stay diligent with the maintenance, it won’t be so bad. However, buy a project and have fun explaining to your wife and kids why Santa won’t be visiting your house this year. Thankfully the car I’m looking at today, a rare European-spec 1977, looks to have all the major things looked after and is it relatively good health. The thing is, I don’t think the owner wants to let go of it. At least for not what I think it is worth.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 on eBay

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2007 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG with 322,000 miles

For me, there is this constant back and forth between “They don’t make them like they used to” and “Newer cars can basically go forever with proper maintenance and repairs”. Today’s car falls in the latter half. Although I’m skeptical. Very skeptical. Why? In case you haven’t noticed the title, this is a 2007 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG with over 322,000 miles on the odometer. Yes, this 6.0 liter twin-turbocharged whale of a car that produces 604 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque has somehow racked up over 322,000 miles. According to the helpful Carfax, this car registered just over 29,000 miles in its first three years – a totally normal amount. Then the next five years saw the odometer jump to 200,000 miles. Six months later, 250,000 miles. That is 275 miles every single day for six months. How? Why?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG at Selective Motor Cars

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2000 Mercedes-Benz SL600

For as many crazy colors as Porsche produces, Mercedes-Benz will once in awhile surprise you with something that you wouldn’t expect. I say “once in awhile” meaning almost never, because at the end of the day these are very serious Germans who make cars in very serious colors like silver, black, and everyone’s favorite, beige. However, today we have color that is quite wonderful. This 2000 SL600 up for sale in The Netherlands is finished in Aquamarine Blue Metallic with a navy blue top and of course a tan interior, because they wouldn’t want to go off the deep end or anything. It has just a hair of 26,000 miles and just like everyone else for sale at this dealer, is nearly flawless. However, that usually comes with a higher price tag and this one is up there. Way up there.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Mercedes-Benz SL600 on Auto Leitner

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1991 Mercedes-Benz G230

There area bunch of oxymorons in the automotive world. Reliable Fiat. Quality Maserati. Leak-free Land Rover. Inexpensive Porsche. Today, we have another one to add to the list: Restored G-Wagen.

Long before the housewives of the world used the G-Wagen as a grocery-getter and mall crawler, this box on wheels was a utilitarian masterpiece. It was meant to be used and abused, and for the first 21 years of production, they basically were. Then in 1990 when the W463 rolled onto the scene, they got very posh, very fast. However, if you still want that utilitarian experience, there are plenty of them out there. To no one’s surprise, people like to have their cake and eat it too. They want old, but they also want comfortable and luxury. That is exactly what this 1991 G230 is. Someone actually went through the trouble and expense of restoring a G-Wagen with a naturally-aspirated four cylinder that made 123 horsepower when new. I guess that is all you need when the speed limit on Nantucket is only 25 mph.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz G230 on eBay

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1999 Mercedes-Benz CL500

A few weeks ago I took a look at a 1993 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC that needed some help to say the least. Thankfully it looks like it sold a few days ago for a low sum of $4,600 and maybe is on its way to a new life. Honestly, I wouldn’t bet on it given how expensive it would be to refurbish the car. Today, I’d thought I’d look at another C140 that looks like it doesn’t need much, if anything at all. This CL500 up for sale in the Los Angeles area is a rare 1999 model, the last year the C140 was in production. Mercedes really cut back on the C140 for the 1999 model year – production was just under 1,500 for the entire world. Word is, only around 125 of them made it to the U.S. in both CL500 and CL600 guise. Needless to say, a rare bird. The good news is this example has just over 100,000 miles on it and looks like it has about half of that. The better news, it isn’t as expensive as you might of thought.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 Mercedes-Benz CL500 on eBay

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