Unroadworthy classic Mercedes advice needed

W114COSH

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Hello all,

Would the hive mind give me some advice please.... I wont mention names or details but honest info is included.

I just bought a classic 70's Mercedes in the last few days and when i got it home I paid for a pre MOT check with my local garage which listed huge issues so 2 days later I took it to a Mercedes specialist for a thorough check, turns out the car is very bad indeed. All the floorpans rusted through and badly fixed with fibreglass and then hidden underneath with black sealant. The Cills are tack welded and not really attached to anything. The Wings are all filled with filler and not attached at various points. The front Crossmember is corroded too the extent it needs replacing. The Gearbox is leaking, sump bent, coolant leak from rad/oil cooler union, oil cooler bypassed, engine earth strap broken, fuel breather broken, washer pipe not connected, wipers split, seatbelts not insecure. Wiring all bad with lights, indicators etc faulty. Tires all cracked and dangerous.... Lots more but dont want to bore everyone completely. The car has little structural integrity and almost everything needs fixing.

The car wasn't cheap, less then £10k but more than £5k. I was prepared for some work to be done but not to this extent. When I asked for a refund he said sold as seen. Ive shown him the pre MOT check and survey he hasn't commented fully.

There is more but you get the idea, I feel very silly as this isn't my first classic, I liked and trusted the seller. He isn't taking this seriously and I think we will go to court.

It is illegal to sell a car in an unroadworthy condition and also to describe the car as one thing and then it isn't. (tires and also setting good interior when its not). So I believe im entitled to get my money back and expenses so far, at court I think with all my evidence it was be easy to prove my side. He knows these cars and was clearly aware of the issues.

What do you all think?
Regards
Cosh.
 

MD5

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Hello all,

Would the hive mind give me some advice please.... I wont mention names or details but honest info is included.

I just bought a classic 70's Mercedes in the last few days and when i got it home I paid for a pre MOT check with my local garage which listed huge issues so 2 days later I took it to a Mercedes specialist for a thorough check, turns out the car is very bad indeed. All the floorpans rusted through and badly fixed with fibreglass and then hidden underneath with black sealant. The Cills are tack welded and not really attached to anything. The Wings are all filled with filler and not attached at various points. The front Crossmember is corroded too the extent it needs replacing. The Gearbox is leaking, sump bent, coolant leak from rad/oil cooler union, oil cooler bypassed, engine earth strap broken, fuel breather broken, washer pipe not connected, wipers split, seatbelts not insecure. Wiring all bad with lights, indicators etc faulty. Tires all cracked and dangerous.... Lots more but dont want to bore everyone completely. The car has little structural integrity and almost everything needs fixing.

The car wasn't cheap, less then £10k but more than £5k. I was prepared for some work to be done but not to this extent. When I asked for a refund he said sold as seen. Ive shown him the pre MOT check and survey he hasn't commented fully.

There is more but you get the idea, I feel very silly as this isn't my first classic, I liked and trusted the seller. He isn't taking this seriously and I think we will go to court.

It is illegal to sell a car in an unroadworthy condition and also to describe the car as one thing and then it isn't. (tires and also setting good interior when its not). So I believe im entitled to get my money back and expenses so far, at court I think with all my evidence it was be easy to prove my side. He knows these cars and was clearly aware of the issues.

What do you all think?
Regards
Cosh.
Do you have the advert for sale and receipt of purchase? These should be your legal groundings and I'd write a letter of rejection sent with proof of delivery as soon as you can.
 
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W114COSH

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Do you have the advert for sale and receipt of purchase? These should be your legal groundings and I'd write a letter of rejection sent with proof of delivery as soon as you can.
Yes the original for sale post and I have all off our paper trail (messages etc). The letter is a good idea. I will post today, thanks for the advice.
 

MD5

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Yes the original for sale post and I have all off our paper trail (messages etc). The letter is a good idea. I will post today, thanks for the advice.
I'm sure others will offer better advice than me, but does your receipt state sold as seen, or more importantly for spares or repair? Do distance selling regs apply? I'd list the faults as your reason for rejection along with his descriptive (I assume) messages as your evidence of dishonesty.
 

Bellow

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It's impossible to comment without knowing how the car was described to you.
If you post that, then we can gauge whether it falsely alluded to non-existent roadworthiness or implicit in it was that buying a 50 year old car came with the associated risks.
 

BTB 500

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It is illegal to sell a car in an unroadworthy condition

Eh? Plenty of older/classic cars are sold without being roadworthy and need to be trailered away. As already mentioned much will depend on whether this was a private or trade sale, and what the adverts/receipt/other paperwork say. Buying a 40-50 year old car with no MOT obviously carries a significant risk.
 

Harrythedog

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Did you buy it online or over the phone ? Due to Covid restrictions were you allowed a personal inspection ?
 

Tuercas viejas

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Guy just a question --or two???
Whatever happened to the words & practice "Caveat Emptor"? --Its means "buyer beware" in legal ease .
The other question is WHY didn't you get a professional inspection done by that shop you mentioned BEFORE you agreed to buy this oxidizer of a car?

Shaking my head in dismay in Denver & your new found lawn ornament.
Tuercas viejas
 

ChipChop

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My understanding is that if you purchase a car from a private individual you have no comeback. Caveat Emptor. You may be better off being as reasonable as possible and hold your tongue with the seller to seek some form of redress, such as some money back, required replacement parts etc. A 70's car would also be mot exempt and would be the owners responsibility to ensure it is in a roadworthy condition, a strange position to argue in law i would imagine if you went that difficult route.

Personally if i was buying an old MOT exempt car i would require an MOT test to be carried out pre purchase. £35 or so well spent to find what a cars general condition is underneath the cosmetics.

Best of luck.
 
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ChipChop

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One other thought on a MOT exempt car being roadworthy would be if the previous owner had the car listed in the sales advert you responded to as currently claiming historic road tax status. If the car was claiming historic tax class at the point of sale then that would imply the owner deemed the car as being roadworthy at that point.
 
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W114COSH

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Not sure how to answer all those comments, but thanks.

In the UK there are two legal points here I believe;

1) Misrepresetation - Has the seller misrepresented the car?

2) Selling a car that is unroadworthy is a criminal offence.

Yes it is taxed by the seller (no charge as per age).

I went to see it but couldn't possibly work out how bad it was from that without seeing underneath, also im no mechanic.

Private sale although the owner seems to have 3 others for sale and has sold others in past so not sure about that status.

Yes of course I should of have it checked by a mechanic and not after but I trusted this guy and ive owned and sold a few classic cars over the years and have always made sure they are good cars, safe and sound etc so made the mistake of thinking others were the same as me...

The car was described as thus:

'The car is running and drives. Just had service and tuning. Exhaust replaced. The interior is very good. So are the tires and wheels. The Chrome work is good.'

No mention of spares or repairs or any other similar thing, if it was it would have been a lot cheaper.

But the interior all needs to replaced and/or fixed and the tires are cracked and dangerous. And the other stuff is just awful.

And this is the Classic Mercedes inspection report:

  1. Various coolant hoses worn
  2. Module box bracket just lying in inner wing
  3. Battery insecure
  4. Poor wiring throughout
  5. Various suspension bushes perished/cracked
  6. Coolant leak from radiator/oil cooler union
  7. Gearbox oil leak- Sump pan is bent
  8. Oil cooler has been by-passed
  9. Engine earth strap broken
  10. Indicator switch faulty
  11. Dash panel lights not working
  12. Front side lights not working
  13. Wiper blade is split
  14. Washer jets not working
  15. Tyres ALL cracked
  16. Rear springs have an assistor fitted (Non-standard)
  17. Exhaust gearbox bracket not fitted to gearbox
  18. Brake pipes and and fuel pipes are new but fitted very badly
  19. Horn & Number plate bracket is lose
  20. Fuel breather broken
  21. Leak from gearbox
  22. Seats belts insecure (DANGEROUS)
  23. Washer pipe not connected
  24. Front cross member is badly corroded and replacement is required
  25. Corrosion to front inner wings under wheel arch
  26. Floor pan badly repaired- suspect using fibre glass
  27. OS&NS sill covers badly tack welded on would require removing to explore full extent of damage/condition
  28. Corrosion to floor plan
  29. Rear NS wing not attached at bottom
  30. Rear wings heavily filled with filler
Based on all of the information above, this vehicle is NOT road worthy and deemed as dangerous.
If you require any further assistance please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Its pretty bad I think you will all agree, I asked him again today to refund me and he hasn't responded, to court we go I feel.
 

BTB 500

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In the UK there are two legal points here I believe;

1) Misrepresetation - Has the seller misrepresented the car?

2) Selling a car that is unroadworthy is a criminal offence.

Again, point 2 simply cannot be true. Apart from the historical/classic 'project' cars I mentioned before, a large majority of race cars aren't road legal.
 

oldguy57

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The advert was very carefully worded wasn't it? "The car is running and drives" always puts a question in my mind ie it might make it to the end of the road. If he has 3 other cars for sale he's a trader , masquerading as a private seller to get round legislation. Can you do some sort of background check on him? Write to him with rejection of car and suggest if no refund Small Claims Court beckons. I'd also be tempted to have a word with Trading Standards. They really don't like car traders pretending to be private sellers. Good luck.
 
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W114COSH

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Again, point 2 simply cannot be true. Apart from the historical/classic 'project' cars I mentioned before, a large majority of race cars aren't road legal.
My research into the legalities of this lead me to understand that if you sell a car that you know is unsafe and dont declare this it is a criminal office regardless of being a dealer of not.
I think the issue of that is that if the seller states it is a project or spares or repair then you know its not road legal or unsafe but he didnt mention this and taxed it and then watched me drive it off onto the M25 for long journey home. The brakes work ok as is the engine seems to be running fine at the moment but thats not really the point...
 

fabes

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TBH - a fair number of items on that list are not that bad, are actually fairly minor and with a classic would be expected (wiper blades, tyres, and minor electrics)
Then on the other hand the body work issues (again not to be unexpected) look severe, significant and costly
If you have played in the classic games before, you would be expected to expect quite a few off that list......?

Before you embark on anything, what was your expectation, your budget and what is the rough cost to do the important / required stuff?
You expected to do some work, much of which will be on that list?

Then yes, you could have a meaningful conversation with the seller
If he gives you no joy, then you can go legal (advice will give you a likelihood of success based on the sale of contract), but if he is a seller from home (you mention 'stock') then that may help if you can find his other adverts to sway the balance of legal requirements.

Or you could then go to trading standards, Social media, forums and name and shame, but being factual and treading the 'libel line' carefully
 
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W114COSH

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The advert was very carefully worded wasn't it? "The car is running and drives" always puts a question in my mind ie it might make it to the end of the road. If he has 3 other cars for sale he's a trader , masquerading as a private seller to get round legislation. Can you do some sort of background check on him? Write to him with rejection of car and suggest if no refund Small Claims Court beckons. I'd also be tempted to have a word with Trading Standards. They really don't like car traders pretending to be private sellers. Good luck.
Thanks yes I agree. I dont want to start a big confrontation with him, im being polite and reasonable, but he's sold me a very dangerous car but yes will write the letter and see where we end up, never been in this position before.
 
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W114COSH

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TBH - a fair number of items on that list are not that bad, are actually fairly minor and with a classic would be expected (wiper blades, tyres, and minor electrics)
Then on the other hand the body work issues (again not to be unexpected) look severe, significant and costly
If you have played in the classic games before, you would be expected to expect quite a few off that list......?

Before you embark on anything, what was your expectation, your budget and what is the rough cost to do the important / required stuff?
You expected to do some work, much of which will be on that list?

Then yes, you could have a meaningful conversation with the seller
If he gives you no joy, then you can go legal (advice will give you a likelihood of success based on the sale of contract), but if he is a seller from home (you mention 'stock') then that may help if you can find his other adverts to sway the balance of legal requirements.

Or you could then go to trading standards, Social media, forums and name and shame, but being factual and treading the 'libel line' carefully
I dont want to name and shame, better to resolve amicably or legally I think. Its good to discuss this with a group though, thanks.

I was expecting to spend £3-5k making it good on engine, transmission, interior etc ... and then another £3-4k when i could afford it to respray it. I know it had lots of issues, things I could see and i was happy to deal with them BUT its all the stuff i coolant see, the rotted floorpans and sills that the Classic Specialist Independent Mercedes garage thought I was would be looking at over £6k of welding and the front crossmember will cost at least £800 to buy alone, looking at over £13k to get sorted, out of my reach.
 

BTB 500

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The advert was very carefully worded wasn't it? "The car is running and drives" always puts a question in my mind ie it might make it to the end of the road.

That's the sort of phrasing used at auctions to indicate that the engine starts and the car can move under its own power. It doesn't imply (to me, anyway) that the car is safe or road-legal.
 

ChipChop

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If the car in question is UK registered did you check the Gov.uk check mot history site prior to purchase? Generally the infomation on this site will paint a true picture of condition one way or another.
 

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