There is a common misconception amongst regular folks that when a car gets to be over 10 years old, it just becomes an unreliable piece of junk. This just isn’t true. Or at least, it isn’t true anymore, because there was a time when daily driving a 10 year old car was unthinkable or at least uncommon, but that era ended in the 1950s when auto makers finally figured out how to put together good stuff. However, if you put aside your uninformed prejudices about old cars and get past the “its unsafe” nonsense (if you are older than 40, you probably spent most of your childhood riding around in the back of a car or pickup without a seat belt) then you will realize there is no reason to drive the over-digitized and hyper-plasticized garbage that comes from factories today. Your family might not agree with your lifestyle, but you’ll be happy that you don’t have a car payment. Find this 1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 offered for $4,500 in Fountain Valley, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
I’ve bought some rough cars over the years — many of them that needed help getting home, but I’ve always been keen on getting a good title and a set of matching keys. This next car comes with neither of those things…or if it does have keys, you need a new ignition switch. It is not likely that this car is stolen, but I don’t believe that “out of the DMV system” is really a thing in California (although it might be a thing in the wild state of Nevada)…but the sketchiness factor to asking price is…ummm…not bad. Just watch your back when heading to a remote desert meet-up spot with $1400 in cash. Find this 1976 Mercedes-Benz 300D offered for $1400 in Pahrump, NV via craigslist.
Remember when Mercedes-Benz built big sophisticated pieces of rolling art that cost a bucket of cash because they provided quality and experience that was unmatched. They had interiors that would survive serious abuse without showing wear (just look at those 30 year old MBTex seats!!) and instead of stupid touchscreens they had pop-up (lockable with a key!) cell phone dial pad in the dash. Luxury! Performance! Sophistication! Depreciation? Find this 1993 Mercedes-Benz 400SEL offered for $5900 in Beverly Hills, CA via craigslist.
I had a good friend who always said: If you are going to do something crazy — don’t go half way. Commit. Full send. No regrets. I don’t talk to that guy anymore because he was insane, but I think I might have found his next car, or at least a conversation with a kindred spirit. Because if you are going to have a car that is dedicated to the Joker, it better be purple…and the only thing I’d change is it needs some green rims. Find this 1999 Mercedes-Benz E320 offered for $7650 in Maspeth, NY via facecut marketbook. Tip from Cory.
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.
There is an old saying; if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. That’s sort of the way I feel about the Baja-everything movement. Sure, it started with Beetles back in the day, but then they started putting big wheels and lift kits on Firebirds, BMW Z3s, Miatas, Crown Victorias…where does it end? Let the apocalypse commence, I’ll be ready. Maybe with a W126 S-class? Find this 1982 Mercedes-Benz 300SD W126 offered for $4000 in Highland, CA via craigslist.
The W210 chassis was marketed by Mercedes-Benz with the as the E-class from 1995-2002. It offered an expensive and elite ride for the wealthy and well-to-do. Mercedes offered some versions with 6-cylinder engines where the E stands for executive, but in 1998 the E for eggads my spleen just ruptured AMG version was released. Today’s version is cosmetically modified with some interesting choices, but the price is right. Find this 2001 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG offered for $5,800 in Arrowhead Lakes, AZ via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; if you need a minivan, get a limo. You get seats for 8 people and none of the mind numbing styling and van handling that you get with the typical vanilla domestic market minivan. Granted, an 80s Benz 250S is not a Lamborghini, but it is certainly more interesting to drive than a Toyota Sienna. Plus, this one has an 80s vintage cell phone mounted up front and a stereo mounted where the rear passengers can control the tunes. Stereo controls in the back wouldn’t be annoying with little kids at all. Find this 1983 Mercedes-Benz 250S Limousine offered for $12,500 in Petaluma, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
If you are in the market for an interesting greater-than-five-passenger vehicle, the pickins are slim. Sure, you could get any one of a million big ugly modern SUV things or a minivan, but that is not fun at all. What you really need to drive is something unique, something that’ll have the other parents in the soccer practice carpool jealous of your sweet ride. What you need is a limousine. A big, long wheelbase, 8 seat hunk of German iron. Find this 1983 Mercedes-Benz 250L offered for $12,500 in Petaluma, CA via craigslist. Tip from Matt V.
This next car needs a few things. It needs to be fixed up from a small accident that bent an A-arm and damaged the rims. It also needs the headlights wired up. It also needs some bumpers and de-stickerfication. It also needs a 6-speed manual swap. And then its to be driven and enjoyed because it would be sublime. Find this 1974 Mercedes-Benz 230C offered for $25k in Belmont, CA via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.