£5k limit - which S-Class?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by kps70, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. kps70

    kps70 Active Member

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    Hi,
    I am seriously toying with the idea of an old S-Class (not a coupe). I have about a £5k budget. Ebay seems to have plenty, as does Auto Trader.
    I'm thinking under 100k miles + FSH, not too fussed about expensive gadgets (that go wrong?) but would quite like to 'go large' on the engine. I read somewhere that the S500 is the pick of the bunch. I like the look of the mid 90's S-Class cars - is it true that the build quality is actually better on these than the turn of the century models?
    Plus, I gather road fund is cheaper on a large engined pre 2001 car.
    Anyway, if anyone has anything they can write down to help me decide, I'd really appreciate your comments.
    Bye for now
    Kieron
     
  2. d w124

    d w124 MB Club Veteran

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  3. jimti

    jimti Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Built Quality was very good on the older cars, I wouldn't be too worried about the mileage either 100,000 is quite low mileage for any Mercedes
     
  4. bennesspipers

    bennesspipers Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I like to buy my cars 'needing work', when i was looking to buy my 2nd MB a couple of months ago it was clear to me that you could pick up an S class for less than 1k if it needs attention. What put me off was the large engine,obviously you're not frightened so easily, so GO FOR IT :thumb:
     
  5. wemorgan

    wemorgan MB Club Veteran

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    As above. I wouldn't be worried about a car with +100k miles.
    I'd buy on service history and condition alone, since this is the type of car that can be neglected then for the current owner to pay for the consequences.
     
  6. Roger Jones

    Roger Jones Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Very tempting. I'd agree on a W140 500. However, it won't be cheap to maintain and run unless you are very lucky indeed, so budget for that. Also, these are very large cars, so large that some who have tried them have not stayed with them because of constant inconvenience with parking and handling in confined situations.

    [kps70: You not only live in the place of my birth but we also share a car of dubious distinction -- the VW 411LE, of which I had the Variant as a company car in the early 1970s. I was always glad that as a publishing rep I could fill the front boot with boxes of books to keep the car stable. It was great in a straight line, but not around corners or when you needed to brake.]
     
  7. janner

    janner Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I'd be more worried about low mileage on an S-Class. Unless the owner can prove the mileage it will probably have been clocked. They hide high mileage well and think about the person who ordered it new; would you buy a new S-Class as a shopping car or as a comfy motorway cruiser?
    Go for an S500 LWB (even the SWB is too big for parking spaces so may as well go the whole hog), 1996 facelift onwards (digital climate) and get one with parking sensors.
    Check everything works, especially the aircon.
    They are great cars but finding a good, genuine mileage one is not easy.
    Road tax is the same for any size or year W140 (about £200).
     
  8. mr. shr

    mr. shr Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Would you not consider a W220 or is your heart set on a W140?
     
  9. OP
    OP
    kps70

    kps70 Active Member

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    I'd need convincing about a W220. I just have this niggling doubt that Mercedes were going through a bit of a transition then and that the build quality may have suffered. Also, I know it's only part of the equation but the road tax on post 2001 cars shoots up.
    I guess if I could be convinced about a later one and if it was pre 2001 then I'd never rule it out.
    The comment about 'be wary of low mileage examples' was interesting. However, there must be plenty out there with genuine low mileage and a FSH (company drirector rather than rep so fewer miles!?)
    Keep the comments coming guys - it's all helping!
     
  10. BlackC55

    BlackC55 Authorised Forum Sponsor Authorised Forum Sponsor

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    Is yours for sale then?
     
  11. OP
    OP
    kps70

    kps70 Active Member

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    I guess my W124 estate would have to go to make room for an S-Class. It has 12 months MOT and 12 months tax. Just need to improve the heating before I think about selling it - and of course find a good S-Class to replace it!
     
  12. mr. shr

    mr. shr Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I too was worried about the build quality (or rather, the likihood of continual faults) on my yr 2000 W220, but so far I'm happy to report no major problems at all.
    In fact, other than servicing, the only *big* thing I've had to have done was replace the airmatic compressor (a known failing point).

    Ollie asked if mine is for sale. Well, in all honesty, I *should* sell it as I hardly ever use it. It sits in the garage and I take it out every other weekend for a spin.
    Trouble is, I'm reluctant to sell it as it's a dream machine (or is to me anyway).
    If I sold it, I don't know when I'd next be able to justify owning a V8. (And there really is something sweet about driving a Merc V8). :thumb:

    So really kps70, it's not about convincing you to go for a W220 at all my friend. It's more about you convincing me to sell mine!! :D
     
  13. Pontoneer

    Pontoneer MB Club Veteran

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    I seriously thought about a W140 as I really like the styling , but was put off by all the horror stories of unreliability , electrical gremlins etc and ended up buying my W126 which I haven't regretted for one minute .
     
  14. Smiley

    Smiley Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I am with derek I reckon a good w126 is a better buy than a w140; easier to fix, much less electronics and already looking like a classic whereas the 140 is er a bit of a barge.
     
  15. janner

    janner Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I searched for a W140 years ago but gave up after most I saw where complete sheds. Don't accept that stamps in the service book somehow guarantees a low mileage unless there are invoices and MOTs to back it up. These cars are now around 15 years old and most started life pounding motorways so be very suspicious of any with low mileage.
    Aircon evaporator failure (quite common) means the whole dash has to come out (big £££).
    I'd rather have a nice W140 than an early W220 though. I'm not a fan of the rusty wheel arch look.
    £5K should buy you really nice W140 and remember that these cars are hard to sell so haggle hard.
     
  16. SL300-24

    SL300-24 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Mmmm......many people have upgraded from a W126 to a W140 and say that the 140 is a far better car to drive.
    Visually the W126 is probably a nicer car.
    I have owned both and would in your position, with 5k to spend chose a W140.
    You should get a nice car for your money. Regarding the reliability of the electrics, I had more electrical problems with my W211 than the 140, and have found it to be very reliable except for 2 coil packs which were inexpensive to replace. Go for a very late (1998) car if you can, look after it and you will really enjoy a great piece of proper Mercedes Engineering.
    I have also noticed that good ones are already becoming sought after as a 'youngtimer'
     
  17. Benzowner

    Benzowner Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    The W220 was brought out in 1999 I think so there are some pre 2001 models out there. I have a W220 1999 S320 petrol and think it is a great car. The only rust I have is on the nearside wheel arch caused by stone chips, and the only real expence over the years is a new air pump for the suspension. The other niggles I had earlier on was down to the very low mileage the car had done. It still has only 73k on the clock with a full MB history.:bannana::thumb:
     
  18. mr. shr

    mr. shr Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I too had minor rusting under my rear wheel arches. Was fixed under the MB Good Will gesture. Hopefully wont return due to the stone chip guard they fitted.
    Oh yes, and mine too has full MB history with 94k on the clock. Still drives likes it's brand new. I believe that's due to Airmatic. It really does make for a smooth ride.
     
  19. OP
    OP
    kps70

    kps70 Active Member

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    Great information everyone. I've reckon it's narrowed down to a W140 now, LWB if possible as I like the look of these the best.
    Now the choice of engine. Scared but intrigued about the aluminium V8. Is it as reliable as the straight 6? Should I go the whole hog and look out for a V12 or is this just daft?
    Also, someone mentioned to get a late W140 - does anyone know why? Were problems ironed out later?
     
  20. OP
    OP
    kps70

    kps70 Active Member

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    In response to a comment above, the VW411LE I have is a variant and still on the road - what a rare car this is!
     
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