Posts Tagged ‘Mercedes-Benz’

2003 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Sedan with 66k Miles

For January 18, 2022, our used car find is this unusually nice 2003 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG sedan with just 66k miles. It’s offered on Craigslist by a private seller in the Eugene Oregon area for $25,000 or best offer.

Here’s what makes this one special.

Classic White 1981 Mercedes-Benz 300D with 84k Miles

For December 20, 2021, our used car find is this extremely well-preserved, two-owner 1981 Mercedes-Benz 300D sedan with just 84k miles. It’s offered on Craigslist by a private seller in the Richmond Virginia area for $11,750 or best offer.

Here’s what makes this one special.

Used Cars to Avoid: 2001-2002 Mercedes-Benz S600 V12

The Sonderklasse — German for “special class,” or “S-Class” for short — is the ultimate Mercedes-Benz sedan. Each iteration, dating back to the 1950s, has been a showcase for the automaker’s best design, features, and engineering. And short of an uber-elite Maybach model, a V12-equipped Mercedes-Benz S600 has long been the finest S-Class money could buy.

But it wasn’t always the most reliable. In fact, one particular version of the S600, sold during the 2001 and 2002 model years (in the US), has proved to be one of the most problematic Mercedes-Benzes of the modern era.

Mercedes-Benz R129-Generation SL (1990-2002) Buyer’s Guide

The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class traces its roots all the way back to the 300 SL Gullwing, a 1950s style icon that drove even better than it looked, capturing the checkered flag at storied races like Le Man and the Carrera Panamera. These days a Gullwing will set you back a cool million. But there’s another SL out there that’s not only a deserving heir to the name but also a great value: the R129 generation.

Produced from 1990 through 2002, the R129 Mercedes SL wears classic lines that look sharp to this day. Famed designer Bruno Sacco called it his masterpiece. And its beauty isn’t skin deep. Under the hood you’ll find a number of legendary engines, including V8 and V12 mills with their own impressive racing pedigrees.

The supply of nice R129 SLs is quite good, thanks in part to its long production run and also to the fact that many owners kept them as second or third cars, driving them only on special occasions. Now, thanks to the power of depreciation, these excellent roadsters are also about as cheap as they’ll ever be.

So if you’re in the market for a classic roadster that looks like a million bucks but only costs about $10-15 grand, you’re in the right place. Here is the Klipnik Buyer’s Guide for this thus-far overlooked generation of Benz’s iconic luxury roadster.

The Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG is a Used Car Hidden Gem

AMG gets lots of press for souping up high-end Mercedes-Benz models, such as the autobahn-storming, 621-horsepower CL65. But the engineers at Affalterbach also have a long history of tinkering with cars from the lower rungs of the MB ladder. In fact, the mid-1990s C36 — a humble C-Class stuffed with a stroked 3.4-liter inline six — was the very first AMG car officially sold by Mercedes dealers.

It was a hit, and since then AMG has pushed the small car, big engine formula even further, eventually leading to today’s flamboyant C63, which sports a bonkers 469-hp turbo V8 under the hood.

But one of the very best Mercedes-AMG collaborations is a much subtler affair. Unless you know what you’re looking for, you’d never guess that the understated C55 AMG, which was produced for just two model years (2005-06), is anything more than an entry-level C-Class. That is, until it dusts you off the line.

The anonymity of the C55 AMG is one of its best traits. Not only does the bantam Benz shrug off the prying eyes of neighbors (as well as the local constabulary), it also has yet to attract the attention of most collectors. That means prices for a used C55 remain quite reasonable — cheap even, if you consider the levels of performance it offers.

And that makes the C55 AMG a used car hidden gem.

What’s the Best Cheap Off-Road SUV? 5 Picks Under $10,000

If you’ve been shopping for a used off-road SUV lately, you’ve probably noticed something. They’re expensive. Especially models that have a strong reputation for tackling the trails with aplomb.

A Toyota Land Cruiser is arguably the best of the breed. It combines legendary Toyota reliability with rugged body-on-frame construction and plenty of serious off-road hardware, including a low-range transfer case and locking differentials. But a nice example of even the cheapest Land Cruiser generation, the 100 series, will set you back at least $20,000 these days. Meanwhile, examples of the increasingly-collectable 80-series Land Cruiser have been fetching twice that much and more on auction site Bring a Trailer.

But you don’t have to spend the equivalent of a sizable down payment on a house just to enjoy the backcountry in a capable off-road SUV. In fact, we’ve identified five lesser-known models that share many of the Land Cruiser’s best off-road features — but with a price tag of more than 50% off.

240D Fuel Economy Update (Summer 2021)

It’s been a little more than three months and almost 2000 miles since I picked up the Colorado Beige 240D from its original owner in California, so I thought it might be time for a fuel economy update. In that time, I’ve driven the car from Monterey to Seattle, taken it in for a 250,000-mile service, and done various day trips around the area, including an overnight jaunt to Port Townsend.

2002 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 with 65k Miles

For July 20, 2021, our used car find is this 2002 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG with just 65k miles. It’s offered on Craigslist by a private seller in the Bay Area for $12,800 or best offer.

Here’s what makes this one special.

A Few Days in Monterey with the 240D

The day after picking up the 240D, I met up with a few friends, and we spent a long weekend exploring the peninsula’s treasure trove of golf courses. They ranged from Pacific Grove Municipal, known colloquially as “poor man’s Pebble Beach,” which for as little as $34 offers golfers access to a beautiful stretch of seaside holes winding through the dunes, to the actual Pebble Beach Golf Links (pictured above), which is, well, quite a bit pricier.

While the 240D is not a large car by modern standards — at 186 inches long and 71 inches wide, it’s roughly the size of a new Honda Civic — its boxy design and large trunk make for excellent golf course transport. It can easily ferry a foursome plus their bags to and from the course, though with only 62 horsepower on tap, you’ll probably want to leave a few minutes earlier than usual for your tee time. You’re definitely going to notice the additional weight.

Puttering around the Central Coast for a few days gave me some time to get to know the 240D a little better before hitting the highway back to Seattle.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class: Model History and Buyer’s Guide

The E-Class may not be the most iconic car to come from Mercedes-Benz. That honor likely belongs to something a bit more extravagant, such as the 300SL Gullwing.

But that doesn’t make the E-Class any less significant to the brand. That’s because it has long been the most practical car in the German automaker’s lineup. Indeed, since Benz first introduced a midsize sedan back in the 1950s, the E-Class has represented a near perfect combination of size, comfort, and value.

Equally capable of running errands, handling the daily commute, or hauling the family across the country, the E-Class is the ultimate do-anything vehicle. And while it’s never been cheap to buy, it’s built well enough to provide decades of useful service.

If you’re in the market for an E-Class Mercedes, you have quite a few options to choose from, ranging from classic models to modern cars laden with cutting-edge tech. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll give you the scoop on every E-Class generation from the last thirty years to help you find the perfect one for you.

New Wheels, Same Look: Fitting Aluminum “Steelies” to the 240D

One of the very best modifications you can make to a W123-series Mercedes is swapping its original 14-inch steel wheels for aluminum versions of the same. The aluminum rims (pictured above) are the same dimensions as the original “steelies” (14 x 5.5 inches). But they weigh half as much — just under 10 lbs each for the aluminum versions vs. almost 20 lbs for the steel ones.

Here’s why that matters.

Sorting the 240D: the 250,000-Mile Service

Once I got the 240D home to Seattle, it was time for a good sorting. This is something I do with pretty much every used car I buy: take it to the best specialist in the area for a complete evaluation — from hood ornament to exhaust tip — and have them take care of any outstanding needs.

No matter how well-kept it is, a used car almost always has a few items to address, whether it’s aging tires or worn out shifter bushings. Some people take a fix-it-as-you-go approach to this stuff, tackling a few things here and a few things there over the course of their ownership. That’s understandable. It certainly prevents facing a big repair bill right off the bat. But I prefer to get everything done all at once. That way I can enjoy the car in its full glory from the get-go.

Even if the mechanic finds nothing, knowing that all the major systems have been inspected and given the stamp of approval provides great peace of mind.

Driving the 240D Home to Seattle

The map between Monterey and Seattle presents some pretty compelling options. Of course, a drive up Highway 1 along the coast is tough to beat. It’s got great scenery, charming towns, and entertaining tarmac. It’s also fun to head inland and explore the two-lane blacktop east of the Cascades, perhaps with a jaunt to Crater Lake thrown in for good measure.

But I opted for the boring route: pretty much a straight shot up Interstate 5. Why? Because driving a new-to-you, 40-year-old car can dramatically shift your priorities. The 240D was running well, but it was still too early to be cavalier. Taking I-5 meant having consistently good cell phone service as well as better proximity to towns with repair shops that would know their way around an old Benz.

Fortunately, for much of the way, it’s also quite pleasant to drive.

Picking Up the 240D and First Impressions

In mid-May, I flew to Monterey to fetch the new-to-me 240D. It was a surprisingly easy flight — just over two hours from Seattle, nonstop. The car’s seller, Bill, had graciously offered to meet me at the airport. Based on everything I’d learned about Bill and his careful caretaking of the 240D over the last 44 years, I wasn’t at all surprised that he arrived exactly on time.

Bill appeared in a clean TJ generation Jeep Wrangler. With its classic styling and robust 4.0 liter inline six engine, it shares many workhorse-like qualities with the 240D. I would soon learn that he also is the proud owner of an insanely nice FJ80 generation Toyota Land Cruiser, which of course he also bought new in 1993. Man, this guy really knows how to pick his cars.

We got to know one another a bit on the way to his house, which enjoys a commanding view of the Monterey peninsula. Bill had been a veterinarian in the area for decades, and the 240D was his daily commuter throughout his career. He even had custom plates for it — IFIXK9S — which have since passed along to his daughter, also a vet.

When it was time for the big reveal, I gave myself a little pep talk. I didn’t want my expectations to be overly high. It’s easy to paint too pretty of a picture in your mind when you’re scouting a car, only to be disappointed when you finally see it in person.