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donalson
donalson PowerDork
9/8/13 5:01 p.m.

We're hoping to buy a new to us car in the next few weeks (family/wife car), just waiting on saving up a bit more $$$ so a few more pay checks to go... (budget is sub 10k)... 4drs and a/c are the only real givens beyond that we're fairly open and considering things ranging from a Scion xB, civic, jetta, camry, accord etc basic transportation... but then...

I've been lurking on the Houston CL and noticing that a lot of 10ish year old Mercedes fall into our budget... things ranging all the way up to an E-class e55 AMG... a few S-class s430's and a ton of C-class variants.

I'm sure there is a reason there are so many of these 9-12 y/o cars that are sitting at 5-9k range... should I bash my head in for even thinking about these cars or is it one of those things that old luxury cars just depreciate so much in value?

also seeing a number of 10ish year old Jags and plenty of BMW's...

so thoughts from GRM?

Knurled
Knurled UberDork
9/8/13 5:08 p.m.

Only buy one if you bring it to me for servicing and you actually keep it maintained.

There is a very good reason for that 90% depreciation. As someone on here so eloquently put it, the kind of people who can afford to maintain them are not the kind of people that drive 10 year old cars.

I remember a customer who had a redacted that we serviced from the time it was 5 years old to when it was 10. He spent on the other of $30k with us in those five years, on that one car. Tires at $1500 a set every 20k, brakes at ungodly-expensive every 40-50k, $100-130 oil changes because it takes many quarts of a specific type of oil, and that's the regular maintenance not the occasional failures that need repaired. My favorite was the $600 wiper transmission that took out the $900-1200 windshield. Fixed wipers, let windshield go for a while. New windshield finally goes in. 2 weeks later, the replacement wiper transmission failed in the same manner, taking out another windshield...

EvanB
EvanB PowerDork
9/8/13 5:14 p.m.

10 year old Mercedes? yes.

30 year old Mercedes? no.

donalson
donalson PowerDork
9/8/13 5:17 p.m.

for some reason I figured this was the case...

HappyAndy
HappyAndy SuperDork
9/8/13 5:24 p.m.

They are depreciating so much because they're way to old for the highrollers that buy them new, (or CPO for thier kids ), and have too much maintenance cost, and quite likley deferred maintenance for anybody but DIYers to be able to afford to keep them running properly. Fortunately, GRMer = DIYer.

I've owned, and worked on older Mercedes, nothing newer than the early nineties, though. My impression from those cars is that they were well built, but maintenance, even for a DIYer, was too costly for my tastes.

IMHO, BMW gives much more bang for the used German car buck..

I'm going to watch the rest of this thread with interest, because I have a not so secret lust for a Jag, and you mentioned them as one of the others that you've been interested in.

.

donalson
donalson PowerDork
9/8/13 5:29 p.m.

ya lets redirect this thread to BMW's and Jags now :)... maybe add Audi in there even... lol

DrBoost
DrBoost PowerDork
9/8/13 6:03 p.m.
EvanB wrote: 10 year old Mercedes? yes. 30 year old Mercedes? no.

My experience is the opposite of that. My 30 year old benz was actually very reliable. The 10-year old benzes that came into the (high end) shop were turd-o-licious. Right about 1992 (W124) is the last benz I'd buy, the jury is out on the current stuff of course.

nhmercracer
nhmercracer New Reader
9/8/13 6:04 p.m.

I think Andy has it right on this. I'm no stranger to the used Benz debacle. Buying well maintained = costly. The cars on Craigslist seem to be the bottom of the barrel. Rarely maintained, if at all. Needing oil, transmission, diff, coolant, and ps services. Not changing the transmission fluid is a death sentence for the 722.6XX series transmissions, and I bet anything on c-list has never had this done.

I might take a look at the E55, if the price was right, and it was crash-free however.

Knurled
Knurled UberDork
9/8/13 6:07 p.m.
donalson wrote: ya lets redirect this thread to BMW's and Jags now :)... maybe add Audi in there even... lol

They're all the same. High-end European cars started towards a kind of Shoe Event Horizon sometime in the mid-90s, where they were built so complex and relatively shoddy (relative to a 70s-80s model) that it makes more financial sense to get rid of it after the warranty is up.

Nathan JansenvanDoorn
Nathan JansenvanDoorn Dork
9/8/13 6:07 p.m.

Re-read his answer - you guys are agreeing.

To the question: is a 10 year old Mercedes a stupid idea?

10 year old Mercedes - yes (it's a stupid idea) 30 year old Mercedes - no. (it's not a stupid idea)

I've had absolutely great experiences with BMW's dating between '71 and '04. I don't have any experience with Mercedes - primarily because I'm a bit of a manual transmission snob.

Knurled
Knurled UberDork
9/8/13 6:07 p.m.
DrBoost wrote:
EvanB wrote: 10 year old Mercedes? yes. 30 year old Mercedes? no.

My experience is the opposite of that. My 30 year old benz was actually very reliable. The 10-year old benzes that came into the (high end) shop were turd-o-licious. Right about 1992 (W124) is the last benz I'd buy, the jury is out on the current stuff of course.

So, what you are saying is, 10 year old yes, 30 year old no?

(Unless you think it is stupid to have a cheap, reliable car)

EvanB
EvanB PowerDork
9/8/13 6:32 p.m.

I'm saying 10 year old yes, very stupid idea.

30 year old no, great idea.

I am actively looking for another w123.

oats123
oats123 New Reader
9/8/13 6:49 p.m.

Hardtop Miata.

I guess it had to be said at some point.

On the other hand, I have owned a late 70's diesel mercedes with no issues that weren't my own fault. Just my 2 cents on the old vs new debate lol.

dean1484
dean1484 PowerDork
9/8/13 6:57 p.m.

I was looking at 05 and newer s500s for a while and like many cars of this type the by in is the cheep part. A 7 series bmw seems to be a much better option.

Knurled
Knurled UberDork
9/8/13 7:14 p.m.
dean1484 wrote: A 7 series bmw seems to be a much better option.

It's more entertaining to drive, therefore you don't feel so bad about having to continually shovel money into it?

(can't believe I just posited that a 7-series was fun to drive... bleh, if you want a fun to drive exec car then get an A8)

oldtin
oldtin UltraDork
9/8/13 7:26 p.m.

When did MB start using the wiring with biodegradable sheathing? That would be my cut off date...

chandlerGTi
chandlerGTi Dork
9/8/13 7:32 p.m.

I had a 2001 e55 in 2004; I have to say that car would have broken me if it hadn't had a warranty. The day the warranty ran out it moved on. I see parts are a bit cheaper but the brakes were $1800 for all four corners. Ridiculous.

belteshazzar
belteshazzar UberDork
9/8/13 9:08 p.m.

At that price point, an E46 is a downright great choice.

nhmercracer
nhmercracer New Reader
9/8/13 10:20 p.m.

In reply to oldtin:

Fixed before the 1997 model year. Mostly 202's with this problem.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic SuperDork
9/8/13 10:24 p.m.

You don't want a Benz post 1991 or so.

nhmercracer
nhmercracer New Reader
9/8/13 10:40 p.m.

I have to admit, at this time I have done the following on my 1999 C280, in the last several years:

New battery.

Upgraded to front brakes with Crossfire SRT6 rotors and calipers, along with Akebono pads.

New rear brakes; new rotors, calipers, pads.

Stainless brake lines.

Replacement transmission.

New flex joints.

New rear toe links

New lowering springs.

New Bilsteins.

New idler arm, drag link, ball joints, bearings.

KMAC front bushings.

Homemade rear camber adjusters.

Fuel filter.

Four o2 sensors.

Crank sensor.

Cam sensor.

New shift bushings. (One was missing)

Wheels. Original 15 inchers would not clear new brakes. :(

Outside drivers mirror. The juice ran out, makes the mirror unusable.

And more I cannot remember at this time.

The heater core has started leaking, The dash has to be removed to repair this, along with the AC evaporator. It is a HUGE job. :(

This is a 13 year old car, but really? I have had older domestics with less time and money in them. When I was young, my dad had a 1970 220D which ran and ran. I replaced the water pump at one time, and several sets of brake pads. It finally rusted to the point it would not pass inspection.

I think if i was looking for a German car right now, it would be an E30, or E36. Parts and support are excellent for these cars, and I could be done with the automatic woes.

plance1
plance1 Dork
9/8/13 11:22 p.m.

dang it, I hate hearing this stuff as the E55 was a merc I really liked....in addition to the E500, and before that the 6.9.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
9/9/13 7:22 a.m.

The latest Benz I would buy is a W124.

10 year old Jag will be much better then same Merc. The post '00 XJ8s are fairly reliable. The XJ8s before that main problem is timing chain tensioner so if the car has been updated to the later part you are good.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic SuperDork
9/9/13 7:39 a.m.

In reply to 93EXCivic:

I'd only go with the first half of W124 production, the W201 and W124 were the first cars MB built to a price point.

RossD
RossD PowerDork
9/9/13 7:48 a.m.

When I still had my '00 A6 (2.7TT, 6MT), I considered the cheapest way to keep it was to keep it on the road was to install a LSx, T-56, and the suspension out of a MN12 (8.8 IRS...). In the end, I traded it in and more than doubled my loan, I think I still got off easy.

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