No 56k: Racing to the Punchline - kicking tires with public and frankiess

public

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Disclaimer: This thread will continue to serve as a means to document our endeavours in the world of well-used cars.

frankiess: public and I, we're always looking for a good deal in wheels with a varying degree of sincerity. But with winter coming up more sooner than later, we felt it was time to investigate some local specimens first hand. Just in case we'd run into another awesomely cheap mint conditioned classic luxury sedan, which I'd be proud to call my own for the next few weeks.

public: And is there a better way to spend a Saturday than drive around kicking tires and prodding rusty bits?

I'm probably better off not answering this one. Anyway. The first destination, and most interesting one was a metallic blue Mercedes Benz 300 E from 1989. The pics looked great, it had a complete Merc-dealer service history, only one owner, and a bloody great 425000km on the odometer. After reassuringly taking the navigator's role, I made sure we'd eventually get there. Here's me reading a map after getting lost for the third time.

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W124 300E manual

Finally finding the car was rewarding to say the least. Body was straight, no rust to mention, interior was immaculate, and man did it look dignified! I liked this one.

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The 300E was beautifully blue. It wore the standard-issue dish-like wheeltrims, it had the bigger body cladding that gave it a passing resemblance to the W140 S-Class, and it looked pretty straight for its years. Having read the ad thoroughly, I started looking at the advertised ?1500 euro worth of body repairs?, and noticed the faults by the driver?s door handle first.

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Other than those, the paint was pretty good; there were a couple of bubbles starting to form again on the re-done parts, and some surface rust atop the windshield and the rear window, but not much more. The wheel wells were mostly rust-free...

They were rust-free, dammit.

...and a peek at the undercarriage revealed a slightly rusty exhaust along with some slightly rusty/oily bits and bobs...

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...but nothing major. The car seemed to have worn its years well, and the interior seemed to be very tidy. Without a test drive, I couldn?t tell if the 425 000 km had impaired its roadholding, but at this point the car looked very good, especially for its price. And after all, it?s a manual 300E with full official Finnish dealer service history?

W124 300E automatic

The next one was also a 300E, and we got to the dealer too late so this was the best view we had..

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The car in question was white and older, so it had the thin black door trims, and it was a German import with automatic transmission. Despite having only 244 000 km?s on the clock, it didn?t look quite as good, as the white paint was faded and made it look like an appliance.

Which I don't want in my cars...

The right front door was more of a clay-white hue, as the rest of the car was chalk, and without a closer look I couldn?t tell if this example would be worth almost 1000 euro more. And a German import Mercedes must always have bullet-proof service history; otherwise you?re just getting your hands on some Frankfurt taxi reject.

I never did like this one. The white somehow doesn't suit the car without the fat plastic trim, it looked rusty and the dealer seemed shady. But I'd gladly see it as a reference point. So at least to know what I'm barking at.

Here's public with his teacup-stance.


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W116 280SE

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One of the golden rules of Tuusula?s Sulantie car yard region is that the further you continue on this street, the worse the cars get. And this brown Merc was at the very end... Peeling paint, bubbling paint, damaged paint, badly applied paint, dents, dings ? not a single body panel was intact. The chrome was horrendous, the interior was in a state, even the three-pointed star wasn?t quite right. And it had a fresh MOT, which I just can?t comprehend. Pictures tell the story better than words, this was a heap beyond belief.

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It was actually priced at 2400?, which I hear has been dropped nearer to 1500?. But still, what a ripoff. This parking lot was full of some shady deals. And the poor car. Such dignity, reduced to this pile of heap. Who would do such a thing?

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E30 320i touring

After a lovely drive around the Tuusula countryside, we met a guy and his red E30.

The car seemed pretty worn out. The engine purred nicely after warming up.. and uhh.. well the steering wheel was a fun 3-spoked one. And that's kind of it. Can't think of anything else positive. The guy said the bushings in the front end needed replacing, and true enough, the steering felt horrible. The gearbox was like clobbering through someone else's sockdrawer, in an attempt to find a pair for the cool pink sock you've now put on ONE of your feet. And it didn't really matter what gear you were in anyway, the straight six didn't really deliver any punch.

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The paint on it resembled my old Bluebird?s paint; some rust in the corners here and there, with a front wing more matte than the others. The hood was blotchy and faded, but overall the car was in a fixable state, not bad at all. The guy (a mechanic) claimed the underbody was healthy, and suggested that we could have a look at it if we came by his garage some day. He also told of some repairs he had performed, like replacing the bushings on the rear axle, but the car would still have needed a lot of things fixed to make it tight and responsive enough to satisfy frankiess.

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Granted, I'm not easily satisfied. And I haven't driven a mint condition E30 so I can't say how this specific car stands up to comparison. But it was horrid.

The service history was near-flawless, though, which was nice. And the car was an original one, sold in Finland when new, and even the driver?s seat only had one split in its cushion. It wasn?t difficult to believe the indicated 250 000 km or so. All in all, this was a good project car, possibly too loose right now to be enjoyed, but with some TLC and elbow grease and other hackneyed phrases it would make a damn good E30. And it had a tow bar!

It was crap. Get over it.

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So, what was the best sighting of the day? Well, undoubtedly the ?91 Saab 900 for 250 euro, with not much rust at all. If it turned out to have a MOT and to be in working order, it would make the perfect winter beater. Yeah, it was FWD, but since it was late enough to not have the handbrake connected to the front wheels, it would possibly be good fun.

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Probably ran when parked. But then again, if you COULD drive it off, there's so much fun you can have with a cheapass banger. Wouldn't buy it myself, but I kind of approve. All in all an interesting day. Got me thinking though. ebay and mobile.de have all sorts of cool deals.. How far can we go within our budget before the travel and tax-issues become too costly?
 

sifu

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that W116 would make a wonderful sunday treat if it were in shape..
 

Dr_Grip

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The W116 does not look that bad.... if it has no rust holes, it's a great project car.
 

Posmo

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Buy the W124 300E manual. Those paint runs are a good bargaining point, and they would take about 10 minutes to remove with some sandpaper and farecla.. Plenty of power, refinement, and rwd.. you can't go wrong. Did it have the ASD diff?
 

Doctor Blade

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Like the country side there. Is that Finland or did I misread?
 

_HighVoltage_

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eBay deals can be a bitch! I got a good deal on my Volvo, but I had to travel 600 miles to go pick it up. It was a risk, since I never saw the car in person and relied solely on the promises of the dealer.

In the end, it was a good deal. But not everyone has been as lucky as me.


So hang on, Saab 900's have a handbrake on the front wheels??? WTF?
 

Brother Michael

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That seems like great fun ! If I get my stuff sorted I would gladly join you guys for something like this at some point, that is if extra company is welcome and you'll be continueing this.
 

BlaRo

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I would have bought the W116 just for the Euro-spec headlights. You could always sucker some poor North American with those. :D
 

frankiess

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That seems like great fun ! If I get my stuff sorted I would gladly join you guys for something like this at some point, that is if extra company is welcome and you'll be continueing this.

I think there's always an extra seat open for tyre kicking. Have to get back to you on that when the time comes, though.
 

Posmo

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I think there's always an extra seat open for tyre kicking. Have to get back to you on that when the time comes, though.

You need to find him a Lada.

Anyway, you are welcome to come and inspect the Sierra if you feel like seeing something otherworldly and quite simply perfect.:cool:
 

frankiess

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You need to find him a Lada.

Anyway, you are welcome to come and inspect the Sierra if you feel like seeing something otherworldly and quite simply perfect.:cool:

Thanks for that, might be interesting. :lol:
 

Labcoatguy

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That seems like great fun ! If I get my stuff sorted I would gladly join you guys for something like this at some point, that is if extra company is welcome and you'll be continueing this.

Hmm, how different in height and personality are you guys? We may have the cast of the Finnish Top Gear in the making here. :hmm:
 

2Billion

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Damn the Peugeot 406 Coupe is sexy. Reportedly a pile of crap, but sexy.
 

frankiess

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Damn the Peugeot 406 Coupe is sexy. Reportedly a pile of crap, but sexy.

I'd hit it. :p

What about the other two?

What, so am I supposed to be the tall bloke with questionable style and colourful but etiquettely non-conformist rants on every subject ranging from motors to politics? <_<

... shit.
 
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