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Old 7th March 2009, 13:37   #1
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Default Which German car For 3.5L? Please Help!

Hello friends,

Need urgent help on choosing the pick of the following options that I have for Rs. 3.5L :

1) 1983 MERCEDES BENZ 300D: This car is being fully overhauled with major engine work, suspension, brakes, clutch etc. It has the original beige leather upholstery. I only need to choose my color (will be premium DUPONT finish in a paint booth). After everything, the final price would be 3.5L approx. Need expert opinion on W123 cars and issues re: maintenance, spares etc. Is the price okay?

2) 1994 BMW 525 TD: Have test-driven the car, and it amazed me to find how driver-focussed BMWs are! The suspension seems okay, so do the engine / brakes etc. The performance is sluggish though (it is not a TDS). It does need paintwork and interior work. After everything, the price would be close to 4L. I am clueless of BMW repairs / maintenance / spares etc. Anyone who owns / has owned this model? Please help me with this.

3) 1988 Mercedes Benz 300SEL: This is an all-original car with power everything... a true-blooded Merc. Absolutely adore the 300 and 500SEL cars. I feel these are how Mercs should look like! Mileage is not a concern as much as the maintenance and spares. The car on as-is-where-is condition is being quoted at 3.5L while, if engine, suspension work is carried out, it would go upto 5L.

4) 1996 Mercedes Benz E220: A reasonably okay Azure Blue car which has clocked 1L plus kms, but has been maintained very well by Merc workshop. But I dont prefer the look of W124 cars... too plasticky. However, if you suggest otherwise, may go ahead.

5) 1985 MERCEDES BENZ 280SE: An all-original car for 3L. Will need to spend 50k on minor repairs.

Please keep your valuable suggestions coming in soonest. Have to take a decision asap before I lose a good car!

Thanks,

Vikas
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Old 7th March 2009, 17:49   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOVE HER(ALD)! View Post
1) 1983 MERCEDES BENZ 300D:
The Classic, this model is a favorite with W123 fans. Advantage is that she is being completely restored. The only area of doubt : Why would anyone restore a car that's been put up for sale? Not like these cars are cheap to restore anyways?

Quote:
2) 1994 BMW 525 TD:
Avoid. Not sure why you mention that its sluggish, the 525 TD was the fastest diesel sedan of its time.

Quote:
3) 1988 Mercedes Benz 300SEL:
My pick. Of the 80's Mercs, this is the newest. And, after all, you are getting an S-Class. One of the best ever made. It may cost you good $$$ to restore, but any part replacements should last atleast 1.5 - 2.0 lakh kms.

Quote:
4) 1996 Mercedes Benz E220:
The safest bet. Indian made, ready support structure and the newest as well.

Quote:
5) 1985 MERCEDES BENZ 280SE:
I don't find the 280SE appealing in this list.

Keeping in mind the cars you already own, I'd choose between the 300D and the 300SEL. It would help if you can procure further information like:

1. Year of import
2. Number of owners
3. Total number of kms travelled
4. Evaluation by an independent mechanic (of the two shortlisted cars)
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Old 7th March 2009, 19:26   #3
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The only area of doubt : Why would anyone restore a car that's been put up for sale? Not like these cars are cheap to restore anyways?

Well, the 300D is with a garage owner who is a specialist with W123 cars. He buys these in any condition and rebuilds the cars completely before selling them.

Avoid. Not sure why you mention that its sluggish, the 525 TD was the fastest diesel sedan of its time.

Any specific reason to avoid the Beemer? I was inclined towards it on account of its relative uniqueness on Indian roads. The reason I found it sluggish is probably in comparison with new modern diesels. Any idea of a BMW specialist in Delhi?


My pick. Of the 80's Mercs, this is the newest. And, after all, you are getting an S-Class. One of the best ever made. It may cost you good $$$ to restore, but any part replacements should last atleast 1.5 - 2.0 lakh kms.

Yeah! I agree. Its my favorite Merc as well. Incidentally there's even a 500SEL available in a similar condition and a similar price tag. Which is the better bet?

The safest bet. Indian made, ready support structure and the newest as well.

But somehow, dont you think these W124 models are way too common on our roads. I would rate them way below any '80s S-Class or even a W123 as far as desirability is concerned.


I don't find the 280SE appealing in this list.

But the car is in the most decent shape among all the ones listed here.

Keeping in mind the cars you already own, I'd choose between the 300D and the 300SEL.

I think I am with you on this
but I do have a small soft spot for the BMW as well. Please convince me further

Thanks,
Vikas

Last edited by Technocrat : 9th March 2009 at 17:41. Reason: Fixed End Quote & marked answers in Bold
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Old 8th March 2009, 13:47   #4
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300SEL for its presence and the style statement. If properly done up, with the right mods, would be the best head turner among the lot. Definitely the most comfortable to cruise around in too. Only downside being the parts being on the more expensive side as compared to others in the lot. If you want to take the safest bet then go with the E220.
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Old 8th March 2009, 15:19   #5
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Of all the cars mentioned I would go with the MB SEL 300. Dont how good mechanics you have but through the years of buying old cars and maintaing them (classics also) I feel that till the time you the right spares, any half decent mechanic or even you yourself can do the job.

Spares of all the 3 cars (leaving aside the Indian MB) are available by the dozen in UK/Europe. So if travel to UK/Europe regularly, maintaing them should be a cake walk. ( Return Ticket to UK costs about 30K- Much cheaper than procuring parts piece meal here)
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Old 8th March 2009, 19:04   #6
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Default MB for parts supply

I have heard of several people buying old Mercs and getting them done. MB India sources and supplies in India, any part, even if the car was imported before MB set up operations in India. Someone in Hyderabad got a complete rear axle assembly for his old merc through MB India. I do not know if BMW India offers the same service.

Cheers,
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Old 9th March 2009, 01:16   #7
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Originally Posted by Ravveendrra View Post
MB India sources and supplies in India, any part, even if the car was imported before MB set up operations in India
And not to mention that they rip you off for it! For old mercs that would be a last resort if you cant find a particular part yourself or through an importer/supplier.
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Old 9th March 2009, 17:23   #8
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Heart says: 1988 Mercedes Benz 300SEL

Brain says: 1996 Mercedes Benz E220

Better to go by brain this time, as these are very costly to maintain, & you will need twice-thrice the car's value in future for 300SEL.

Go with relatively newer 1996 MB E220.
1lac Km is reasonably OK with it.
It will have atleast 1lac km more for sure.
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Old 11th November 2009, 14:12   #9
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Default Nonsense!

Let me set the record straight.

I use a 1991 300SEL AND a 1996 E220. While the SEL is a larger, better built car, make no mistake, it is NOT expensive to own, especially when compared to the next generation of Benzs (W140 etc)

A new fuel pump with filter cost Rs. 9000/-. Compare that to an E220's pump + filter and you'll get the picture

While certainly not as cheap to run as the W123 and not as modern as a W124, it provides a certain feel of class and presence the other two cars don't have. All in all a great car IF you have workshop that understands her.
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