Determining an older MB value... aka when does old become classic

I have recently acquired an '84 300D with 172K miles and posted a few questions - much thanks to all who responded. This car had exceptional care by the
previous owner with a near flawless interior (all that was required was new floor mats) and an equally great body/paint (absolutely no rust). However, normal wear (and possibly some manufacturing weaknesses) has taken its toll, requiring a transmission rebuild, flex pipe, vacuum leaks repaired and a new driveshaft due to a worn u-joint/center bearing. Likely the cruise control actuator will need to be replaced also and there is the customary wear in the rear end. A retired (35+ years experience) MB mechanic who now does some work part time has spent some time on this car and feels it has a strong engine. He favors this specific MB diesel and feels it is/was one of MB's best. Now, onto the topic... At this point I have slightly more than $5,000 invested is this car and my wife is questioning my sanity. I have argued that this is, in its on right, a classic and one of the better MB's produced. I have also argued that these repairs will not only make this a long time driver, but will maintain the value of the car. And finally, I have argued that because of the excellent overall condition of the car (and now with these repairs) that customary used car price "guides" only reflect "average". This MB will not be a daily driver and will spend its time with me on pleasure drives. My question: if maintained in top condition, will this car hold its value or will simple depreciation make it worthless in 10 years or so. BTW: I enjoy driving the car, so I consider what I have spent to this point to be "recreational". I'm just wondering if anyone else who knows more about MB's agrees, or if a bean counter would sign papers to have me committed... :^)
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wife is questioning my sanity. I have argued that this is, in its on right, a classic<<
This is a great model of car, and a good one is certainly worth more than $5,000 just for its transportation value.
As for "Classic"- classics have a maximum of two doors, and almost invariably, the roof can be folded down<g>. The rest of our cars are just... old!
Bill Ditmire Ditmire Motorworks,Inc. 425 White Horse Pike Absecon,NJ 08201 http://www.ditmire.com 609-641-3392
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my
right, a

invariably,
Not all cars have to be exotic to be classics. I understand that 25 years is the period for "generic" recognition.
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Rubbish, 300 sel 6.3's, Pullmans and grosser all have more than 2 doors. And if in excellent condition are worth a small fortune.

my
right, a

invariably,
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Perhaps you missed the <g> in my comment that everyone else here did not miss- in internet parlance, it means "grin" as in "if you are too dumb to see the humor in the previous comment, here is a graphic cue for you."
Bill Ditmire Ditmire Motorworks,Inc. 425 White Horse Pike Absecon,NJ 08201 http://www.ditmire.com 609-641-3392
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<go fuck yourself>
how does that sound ?

And
miss-
the
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Another addition to the Blocked Idiot List.
*plonk*
Bill Ditmire is the *one* guy this group would never want to see walk away.
Thanks for your intelligent contribution, fuckwit Dave. Have a nice life on my Blocked list.

doors.
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Yep, that makes his name on 2 looser list. I don't need to read that type of attitude. Good By Dave T

doors.
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you would lose 5000.00 on a new car as soon as you drove it off the lot. if you drive this car 10 years and have the junk yard haul it off for free you got you moneys worth. if you want an investment stick with real estate. or if you find a gullwing really cheap. LOL.
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I have a 1960 190SL roadster that's considered a classic (although not the same way as the 300SL). After I spent $4,000 on previous owners' cleanup, it's turned out to be probably the best cost-per-mile cars I've ever owned, much less than anything newer (and less durable) would have given me.
The MB diesels have a very strong and loyal following; and while MB maintenance can seem expensive when it happens, it should also be balanced out with an expectation that it shouldn't happen very often.
When I consider what a new CLK would cost, including all the financing, interest, deprecation, waning warranty coverage, resale value, undetermined reliability and perceived value in the end, I'm thankful to not lose $40,000+ for the ride.
If your car is restored to like-new condition, and all the maintenance issues recovered and corrected, then you yourself can declare it a classic. It's not likely to appreciate in the same way a collector first-year SL might, but it will cost less to own, give better service, and take you less overall money than probably anything else, because of the diesel and good maintenance.
Instead of wondering if it's worth fixing, I'd look at the longevity and low cost-per-mile you'll have once it's fixed. The longer you keep it, the better the deal, and it's probably going to be the cheapest car to own you've ever had.

questions - much thanks to all who responded. This car had exceptional care by the previous owner with a near flawless interior (all that was required was new floor mats) and an equally great body/paint (absolutely no rust). However, normal wear (and possibly some manufacturing weaknesses) has taken its toll, requiring a transmission rebuild, flex pipe, vacuum leaks repaired and a new driveshaft due to a worn u-joint/center bearing. Likely the cruise control actuator will need to be replaced also and there is the customary wear in the rear end. A retired (35+ years experience) MB mechanic who now does some work part time has spent some time on this car and feels it has a strong engine. He favors this specific MB diesel and feels it is/was one of MB's best. Now, onto the topic... At this point I have slightly more than $5,000 invested is this car and my wife is questioning my sanity. I have argued that this is, in its on right, a classic and one of the better MB's produced. I have also argued that these repairs will not only make this a long time driver, but will maintain the value of the car. And finally, I have argued that because of the excellent overall condition of the car (and now with these repairs) that customary used car price "guides" only reflect "average". This MB will not be a daily driver and will spend its time with me on pleasure drives. My question: if maintained in top condition, will this car hold its value or will simple depreciation make it worthless in 10 years or so. BTW: I enjoy driving the car, so I consider what I have spent to this point to be "recreational". I'm just wondering if anyone else who knows more about MB's agrees, or if a bean counter would sign papers to have me committed... :^)

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A good question, well framed.
After ten years the car will be nothing more than another very old car, too many were produced, it's not at all rare so scarcity won't increase its value.
If someone drove into it, their insurance company would pay you its wholesale value plus recent improvements, but not $5K, IMHO.
My '80 300SD was run into and there was quite some back and forth as to whether it was a "salvage" car. The insurance company's appraiser was very impressed by its condition, complete maintenance history, original (1979) order paperwork etc. In California, and I'm sure elsewhere, the insurer must restore or replace with like or better within 90 days. I'm sure they realized that they couldn't find a "like or better" car for less than the repair cost so the car was repaired and looks like new! Their cost, including a rental car, was $5,800 vs. their first offer of $3,200 as a total loss.
Old cars sell for their depreciated value but the variance in their prices is due to condition and mileage, more than absolute age.
You have a nice car, fix what needs fixing and enjoy not only the car but also the modest investment relative to a new car of similar size and comfort.
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My 77 300D has 360K miles on her , I bought it for 1k and have invested mostly time, and about 1500 more in parts. Mine isn't pristine as yours is, but I wouldn't trade it for a chrysler benz even a new one. I know I can get in that car and drive it from texas to ny or ca. anytime I want, and won't be stuck on the side of the road somewhere. What is that worth ? Now that you have 5K invested, you probably won't have to sink any more in it, just drive it for the next ten years, the more you drive that car, the better it will run, I can tell you that for sure. As for the bean counters, I guess they have their hands full already with all of the EEEEEEE buyers,lol. Good Luck with it Jim
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questions - much thanks to all who responded. This car had exceptional care by the previous owner with a near flawless interior (all that was required was new floor mats) and an equally great body/paint (absolutely no rust). However, normal wear (and possibly some manufacturing weaknesses) has taken its toll, requiring a transmission rebuild, flex pipe, vacuum leaks repaired and a new driveshaft due to a worn u-joint/center bearing. Likely the cruise control actuator will need to be replaced also and there is the customary wear in the rear end. A retired (35+ years experience) MB mechanic who now does some work part time has spent some time on this car and feels it has a strong engine. He favors this specific MB diesel and feels it is/was one of MB's best. Now, onto the topic... At this point I have slightly more than $5,000 invested is this car and my wife is questioning my sanity. I have argued that this is, in its on right, a classic and one of the better MB's produced. I have also argued that these repairs will not only make this a long time driver, but will maintain the value of the car. And finally, I have argued that because of the excellent overall condition of the car (and now with these repairs) that customary used car price "guides" only reflect "average". This MB will not be a daily driver and will spend its time with me on pleasure drives. My question: if maintained in top condition, will this car hold its value or will simple depreciation make it worthless in 10 years or so. BTW: I enjoy driving the car, so I consider what I have spent to this point to be "recreational". I'm just wondering if anyone else who knows more about MB's agrees, or if a bean counter would sign papers to have me committed... :^) http://www.kbb.com/kb/ki.dll/kw.kc.ur?kbb.CA ;624171;CA097&95404;lux+p;&722;M ercedes-Benz;1984%20300D&21;MB;A3&&&
The Kelly BLUE BOOK is $1650 for this car in EXCELLENT condition.

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care
taken
repaired
these
excellent
daily
if
the
a
http://www.kbb.com/kb/ki.dll/kw.kc.ur?kbb.CA ;624171;CA097&95404;lux+p;&722;M
The Kelly Blue Book isn't always correct or relevant. Old cars have greater variability about their price than new ones...in short Kelly is a beter guide for the value of a generic three year old car where thousands are changing hands every year than for a 20 year old car. Who among us hasn't bought countless cars for far less than Bluebook? On the other hand I occasionally will pay far more than Blue Book for a car I really like or for a car of significant interest.
If I were to find a 1984 300D in EXCELLENT condition...plus all the repairs he's mentioned sitting around for $1650 I'd buy it on the spot and wouldn't even look up the Blue Book value. I'd expect to be able to sell it with almost no effort for a reasonable profit...but I'd probably just add it to the "fleet" in my front yard.
Provided you can afford it, a vehicle is worth how much you like it! What other people pay / insurance companies claim / and books like the Blue Book state are just so much ephemeral fluff. Further if you don't sell it then the sale price is entirely irrelevant anyway and not really worth tracking. For example, when I'm banking my motorcycle hard into a turn I'm in heaven. My bike is a 1999 Honda and has depreciated significantly. Does that make it less fun to ride? Nope! If I were on a "classic" Norton that was appreciating at 5% per year would that hard sweeper feel any more heavenly? Nope! In fact I prefer the depreciating Honda even if it goes all the way to $0 because it's rock solid reliable and therefore I can blast off to points unknown without fear of a breakdown. Vehciles are fun. If you want an investment get a broker.
Just my wierd opinion.
Shadowjoe
P.S. Take care of that 300D and you'll have a great car for a long time!
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required
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car
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if
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greater
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heaven.
heavenly?
want
Then you might like this ad even better.
1985 MERCEDES 380SE 150K miles. Mint cond. in/out. Silver/blue. Beautiful car. $8200. 707-586-1447 Automobiles 02/23/04 Email listing
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few
exceptional
and
point
customary
question:
simple
driving
"recreational".
http://www.kbb.com/kb/ki.dll/kw.kc.ur?kbb.CA ;624171;CA097&95404;lux+p;&722;M
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Eight grand? Now that's the ticket!
One other thing about depreciation...one man's "loss" is another man's gain. I love depreciation because I'm a bottom feeder that picks up all the old and unloved machines I can. I'm too cheap (or sane) to buy a $50,000 vehicle today but sometime years from now an aging yuppie will be delighted to unload their "heap" on me for a couple grand. I'll clean it up and happily drive my "former $50 grand" vehicle until my heart's content.
This is also why I can have the best 4x4 machine you can get without custom building one yourself. When I "play in the mountains" my truck sports huge clearance and unstoppable front and rear locking differentials...the secret is that I drive an obscure 30 year old surplus military truck. Some European taxpayers took a big hit in 1973 and spared no expense to build a machine that wound up as my playtoy...if I could I would should send them a thank you note. My truck is the only good thing to come out of the cold war in my opinion.
Plus there is the "Darwin effect". Twenty years down the line is when you really know a machine was built well. Sadly, when they first came off the line somebody might have thought a Pinto was cool and a Gremlin was neat...but now we know better. (I had a relative who was addicted to the AMC Pacer but I think he's in remission from that madness now.) Good cars seem to age well, thus my affection for the Mercedes diesels which seemed to me a bit "stodgy" back in the 1980s but seem "timeless and classic" now.
Shadowjoe (Who likes his 300D but wouldn't consider it worth $8500 unless he left a wad of cash in the glovebox.)
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questions - much thanks to all who responded. This car had exceptional care by the previous owner with a near flawless interior (all that was required was new floor mats) and an equally great body/paint (absolutely no rust). However, normal wear (and possibly some manufacturing weaknesses) has taken its toll, requiring a transmission rebuild, flex pipe, vacuum leaks repaired and a new driveshaft due to a worn u- joint/center bearing. Likely the cruise control actuator will need to be replaced also and there is the customary wear in the rear end. A retired (35+ years experience) MB mechanic who now does some work part time has spent some time on this car and feels it has a strong engine. He favors this specific MB diesel and feels it is/was one of MB's best. Now, onto the topic... At this point I have slightly more than $5,000 invested is this car and my wife is questioning my sanity. I have argued that this is, in its on right, a classic and one of the better MB's produced. I have also argued that these repairs will not only make this a long time driver, but will maintain the value of the car. And finally, I have argued that because of the excellent overall condition of the car (and now with these repairs) that customary used car price "guides" only reflect "average". This MB will not be a daily driver and will spend its time with me on pleasure drives. My question: if maintained in top condition, will this car hold its value or will simple depreciation make it worthless in 10 years or so. BTW: I enjoy driving the car, so I consider what I have spent to this point to be "recreational". I'm just wondering if anyone else who knows more about MB's agrees, or if a bean counter would sign papers to have me committed... :^)

I believe that legally a car can be classified as "antique"/"classic" at 20 years. Yes, $5K is a lot to put into a car with a $1650 Blue Book, but if you get another 100K miles out of it (which you should with that engine), you're saving the $20,000-$50,000 you'd spend to replace it. At this point in the vehicle's life there's really not any room for it to depreciate further. It's not a Vega, Gremlin or Mustang II, y'know :-).
If you can live with its appearance, comfort and performance, and don't feel a need for the features a more modern car would offer, why not keep it?
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