Friday Night Fight: Mercedes 600SEL vs Ford Aspire

Here is today’s mental challenge. Or challenge for the mental. You’ve got to pick between one of the two next $1500 cars to use as your daily driver for the next 3 years. Parts to repair your hulk will be provided for free, but you need to do the maintenance yourself. Which would you pick? This 1992 Mercedes-Benz 600SEL offered for $1,500 in Billings, MT or this 1994 Ford Aspire offered for $1300 in Los Angeles, CA via craigslist.

First up is the Benz, which looks like it has survived a few wars, but runs/drives according to the seller. Are those bullet holes…? Meh, this tank won’t care about some small caliber damage. That giant V12 won’t get the best fuel economy, but it sure beats driving some crummy 4-cylinder econobox. From king of the junkyard to king of the road…with a stop at the king of the gas pump in between.

From the seller:

1992 Mercedes 600SEL
condition: fair
cylinders: 12 cylinders
drive: rwd
fuel: gas
odometer: 150000
paint color: white
size: full-size
title status: clean
transmission: automatic
type: sedan
For Sale: 1992 Mercedes Benz 600SEL V12

The car is in Billings, Montana, but I am listing it in California for better exposure… As well as, finding a mechanic to work on it here, is basically impossible… I’ve had numerous mechanics tell me that they simply have Zero experience working on this V12 motor… So, I thought I would give someone else out of state a shot at owning it… I hate to call it a “parts car”, because it does run and drive, it just needs Alot of TLC… Hence the price…

The car is rough, but yes it Runs and Drives… I drove it on the highway today, and it cruises along nicely at 80mph… I’ve owned the car for 3 years, and have driven it On and Off during that time… Actual mileage is around 150,000, although the odometer shows much more (gauge cluster was swapped out because the old one failed)…

The Title is Free and Clear of any liens/salvage…

Body has dents primarily on driver’s side rear corner, as well as driver’s side C-pillar… Some could possibly be pulled out, and some probably need some body-filler… Interior is very rough, but still comfortable…

Mechanically, reverse is slow to engage, but always eventually goes into gear… Shifts are hard and a bit erratic… The engine is a beast and has a ton of power… (anyone that knows these V12s knows just how powerful they are)… Also, I’ve noticed oil mixing with the coolant… Talking with other W140 enthusiasts, I’ve learned that sometimes there are o-rings on oil cooler lines and/or the oil cooler itself, that can fail, causing this issue, and that is not always the head gasket that has failed… The car Does Not Smoke at all, and has Never Overheated, so IMHO, this seems possible… (bit I am definitely not a mechanic, just giving my opinion based on my reasearch)…The car always starts right up, and has never left me stranded… (another weird thing the does, is probably 1/20 times, the car will not start, unless you put the gear shifter in Neutral, but it has always started doing this trick)

My main reason for selling, is I do not need the car anymore, and hate to see such a rare car sit and rot away on my property… It would be a perfect car for a project, or for someone that needs some of these hard-to-find parts (mainly the engine), or for a mechanic that needs a parts car, or just wants a fun old Benz to mob around in, without having to worry about getting a scratch on it…

The car also comes with all the extra parts in the photos… Various odds and ends including, 3 newer headlights, interior trim pieces, old pse and soft close pumps, relays, and a stack full of old receipts from previous owners… (included are over $55000 in repair receipts, not including the original cost of the car, which was well over $100000)

Feel free to email/text/call, and I would be happy to answer any questions, or take any specific photos of any specific area on the car… And for serious buyers, I can shoot a walk-around/driving video…

Price: $1500

Up next is the Ford that, like a tin foil Pinocchio, aspires to be a real car someday. But no fairy godmother will be able to remove the fact that comparing this car to the Benz is like bringing a hamster to a gun fight. But at least this hamster will start up in the morning and run on a 50/50 mixture of 87 octane and whatever was left in the bottom of your highball glass to get you 40 miles to work and back.

From the seller:

1994 Ford Aspire
condition: fair
cylinders: 4 cylinders
drive: fwd
fuel: gas
odometer: 150000
paint color: white
size: sub-compact
title status: clean
transmission: manual
type: coupe
Selling Ford Aspire. Bought car 2 years ago from first owner. Fixed up put 3k in to parts and labor ( list below) Fixed completely ready to be reliable and save you money. The car is good always starts gets me where I need to go. Getting 40 plus miles per gallon Mazda engine. Serious buyers only. Cheep insurance. Manual. Tags good till November 2021
List:

Serpentine belts

Outer tie roads

CV axels left, right

Front struts

Rock and pinion assembly ( steering column)

Front brake calipers left, right

Front brake discs left, right

Engine mount

Transmission mount

Lover pan gasket

Upper valve cover gasket

Timing belt

Belt pulley

Engine lower seal

Transmission oil

Low resistance spark plug wires

Spark plugs

Lower control arms left, right

Antifreeze New

Front and rear wheel bearing

Clutch 2 years ago

Clutch cable

Fuel pressure regulator

Good tires 2 years ago

Installed 14” wheels originals is 13”
All time changed oil at 5k miles with Amsoil Oil Air filter and spark plug and fuel filter changed every 10k miles
Probably forgot something
Yes – Installed blue tooth Kenwood with Infinity CAPA speakers A/C works
Please be serious if you contact me bit busy working.

Which would you drive?