Andrew’s Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG post had me considering my last car, a W203 2007 C230 Sport. Truth be told, I didn’t like that car all that much. The 7-speed automatic was overkill for the V6, leading the gearbox to hunt around too much and the lack of standard features such as auxiliary input for the stereo and fold down rear seats were bewildering on a car costing over $35,000 new. And while the interior fittings were upgraded in 2005, the overall package left a bit to be desired, especially if you were used to Mercedes-Benzes of yore. I’m a much bigger fan of the C-class that preceded the W203, the W202. While my 1998 C230 only had a 2.3 liter inline-4 mated to a 5-speed automatic, it was a much more well-rounded package with a big helping of that old school Mercedes feel. I dearly miss that car and this 1998 C230 for sale in Florida has me missing it even more.
Of all the cars I’ve ever owned, the 1998 Mercedes-Benz C230 was perhaps the most honest. It wasn’t overly flashy, was rather basic as compared to other US market Mercedes at the time and went about its business with 148 horsepower on tap in a steady but dignified manner. While there were hotter AMG versions on offer, Mercedes did offer a Sport package for the W202 throughout its life which gave the standard models a bit more zest. This 1997 C280 Sport for sale in Illinois has covered just over 60,000 miles and represents the last year the M104 inline-6 appeared under the hood of the W202, to be replaced by the M112 2.8 liter V6 in 1998. These Sport models had came equipped with a tighter suspension, 15″ AMG wheels, blacked out exterior trim, carbon fiber look trim inside and a smaller diameter steering wheel.
Click for details: 1997 Mercedes-Benz C280 Sport on eBay
I’ll get this out of the way right off the bat, this car has a salvage title. I’ll get this out of the way as well, I don’t care. For what the seller wants for the car, and what you could likely get him to come down to, you’d be getting enough car for the money that a salvage title shouldn’t matter. The way I see it this is a car you buy and drive into the ground. It is not an investment, it is not a collectors item, it’s a W202 Mercedes that happens to be an AMG car. Even if you paid what the seller is asking I think you’d be getting a fair deal. The car appears to be in great condition now and depending on what earned it a salvage title, this could be a real steal, especially with a little big of negotiating. Salvage title cars are really hard to sell these days, given that everyone has access to the internet, and has seen those commercials with the smug Fox. I agree that 9/10 it is a bad idea to buy a salvage title vehicle, but there are exceptions, and this might just be one of those.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes Benz C36 AMG
Let’s start with the last line first: The C43 AMG is one of the best bargains on the market right now — if you can find a good one. There were less than 1,500 of these imported to the U.S. so there aren’t many to start with. Further, if you find one that needs TLC it should be deeply discounted as repairing this car properly can add up fast.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG on Craigslist Denver
In 1999, if you wanted a small German performance car capable of carrying several adults, you had a few options. First, you could select the BMW M3 – the benchmark for performance in the category, the E36 was nearing the end of it’s life cycle and the sedan had been dropped for the last model year. There was no M3 Touring model available, so if you wanted a wagon you needed to move over to the folks from Ingolstadt; Audi’s second generation S4. While unlike the M3 you couldn’t opt for a convertible, importantly if you wanted to carry your 2.2 children and dog in style they had the Avant available. While BMW’s neutered U.S. spec M3 made it by with only 240 horsepower, Audi’s twin turbocharged V6 offered less displacement but waves of torque and 250 horsepower. Those were the days when a 10 horsepower jump over your competition was a pretty big deal. So, you can imagine the shock when Mercedes-Benz introduced it’s new take on the small executive performance market with the introduction of the V8-engined C43 AMG. While the C36’s inline-6 had a 26 horsepower advantage over its nearest rival, the C43 broke through the 300 horsepower mark with the M113, with 306 horsepower, but staggeringly also 302 lb.ft of torque. That’s a lot, even by today’s standard, and it was not only available in sedan form, but also in Touring form. Though the Tourings never made it to these shores, one has popped up on eBay and is for sale in the Great White North: