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    190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Son turns 16 next week and I was thinking of getting him one of these MB's. Any preference? I have been looking for a 190E 2.3-16 (not for my son!) but thought a 190E 2.6 or an 300E/E320 would be a good car too. Any input from those that have had a 190 are appreciated.

    Thanks in advance, Eric
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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    I have personally owned a 300E with 5-speed manual, a 190E 2.3-16 (manual), and 190E 2.6 (manual). From a driving experience, the 300E feels more substantial with higher quality materials vs. the 190E which is more nimble but feels like a slightly lesser car but depending on your priorities, is no less desirable. The choice really comes down to priorities and what you/your son wants. In general, 300E's are easier to find in good condition and pricing is about the same so if interior/trunk space is needed, it's the better choice. From a design perspective, I feel the 190E is a slightly better looking car and it definitely feels more nimble and with careful mods, it can be made to handle really well.
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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    I've owned both. The smaller car would be easier to drive, but I think the larger car is a bit safer, and also teaches a new driver how to handle a (somewhat) larger car. I'd vote for a 300E/E320. Preferably with ASR to help keep the sheet metal un-wrinkled, particularly on wet roads.

    Since the prices are likely not much different, I'd lean towards an M104 (1993-up 300E/E320) over an M103 version (1986-1992 300E). The M103's are more difficult for DIY troubleshooting on the injection system (and more finicky, too). The 190E will be an M103. I'm ssuming you live in Oakland CA, btw...?

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    If you're looking for a manual transmission model, you'll have to settle for a CIS injected car or find a M104 car that someone swapped a manual into.

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Glen is correct - if you want a stick shift, you will need to get an M103 car, or a conversion (pretty rare).


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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    I'd put my vote in for a 1993-1995 W124 model with the M104 engine. Plenty of power, very safe car, reliable, and easy to maintain. And most cars have had the upper harness redone, but something to check before buying. Also, the M104s require head gaskets every 125K miles, or so.

    Having owned both M103 and M104-based W124 models, I much prefer the M104. Having 40 extra horses under the hood and the same or better mileage is really nice. The only thing is that these cars (inline sixes) are pretty thirsty, so 21-22 in average driving is about the best that can be had in real-world driving. A bit better on the freeway.

    If you are indeed in the Bay Area, I'd recommend you talk to my friend Robert Fenton in San Rafael. He always has a nice selection of W124 models on hand, usually 10-12 of them to choose from. Sometimes even up to 20 of them. Wagons, sedans, coupes, 400Es, diesels, and the like. He services them and makes them good. Usually sells them for $3-5K depending on mileage and condition. (415) 456-5151 is his shop phone, weekdays business hours PDT.

    Cheers,
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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Oh, if you decide to go with a W124 automatic, don't rule out a 400e420. Very little MPG penalty compared to the 6 cylinder cars.

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by Glen View Post
    Oh, if you decide to go with a W124 automatic, don't rule out a 400e420. Very little MPG penalty compared to the 6 cylinder cars.
    For an experienced driver, I would absolutely recommend a 400E/E420 over the 300E/E320. Major power gain, with almost zero MPG penalty, both city & highway. And, the .034 has more standard options (leather, memory seats, headlight wipers, etc which were all optional equipment on the 6-cyl).

    For a new 16-year old driver, you'll have to determine if his skills are up to handling a 275hp car. If you did go this route, I would consider ASR a requirement (new driver + 275hp = need ASR as a safety net).


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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post

    For a new 16-year old driver, you'll have to determine if his skills are up to handling a 275hp car. If you did go this route, I would consider ASR a requirement (new driver + 275hp = need ASR as a safety net).

    FWIW, all four of my kids "learned" to drive on my '94 E420. I was lucky, none of them were Speed Racer wannabes, in fact because of the high gearing, most complained about how slow it was from a standing start (even w/ 1st gear start). Given the normal teenage driving "foibles" having that heavy weight and level of engineering was undoubtably, a good thing. That car has hit stationary objects, moving vehicles of all kinds, and deer (multiple times), and still keeps rolling. Not pretty any longer, but it gave its youth to keep them all safe, which is fine by me. Its now just the beater, take and leave it anywhere (even don't bother to lock the doors anymore) and not a single worry, but still drives well.

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    I would say an m104, or m103 190e.

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    I am amazed that you guys are able to consider some of the cars mentioned as a car for a 16 year old. This is not a moral issue, but a financial one! Over here in the UK, a newly-qualified male teenager would have to pay in the region of £1500-£2000 per annum for insurance for even the most humble 8-10 year old car. I don't think you'd have any chance at all of insuring such a driver on a 190e 2.6, or a 300/320e or the like!

    I'll stand corrected on this if any UK contributor has a different experience!

    I do know that some parents try and get around this by naming themselves on the insurance as the main driver - but woebetide you if the insurers find out it is in fact your son/daughter that is the main user.

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by r44raven View Post
    I am amazed that you guys are able to consider some of the cars mentioned as a car for a 16 year old. This is not a moral issue, but a financial one! Over here in the UK, a newly-qualified male teenager would have to pay in the region of £1500-£2000 per annum for insurance for even the most humble 8-10 year old car. I don't think you'd have any chance at all of insuring such a driver on a 190e 2.6, or a 300/320e or the like!

    I'll stand corrected on this if any UK contributor has a different experience!

    I do know that some parents try and get around this by naming themselves on the insurance as the main driver - but woebetide you if the insurers find out it is in fact your son/daughter that is the main user.
    You have a valid point. My son has been driving our old '95 E320 wagon for the past two years (he's 18 now) to commute to high school. Because of the car's age, we only have liability insurance on it with him as the primary driver. The cost is around $1800 per year for him so insurance cost does matter. When my daughter was 16, I got her a 190E 2.6 (5-speed) which we still have. At the time, 10 years ago, her insurance was only about $900 per year, again for liability only.

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Generally, insurance is a bit less for teenage females than it is for teenage males. Of course, it also depends on the type of car, and also type/extent of insurance carried. It can also depend on the kid's grades in school and other factors such as the parents' coverage, accident/claim history, and so forth.

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    Generally, insurance is a bit less for teenage females than it is for teenage males. Of course, it also depends on the type of car, and also type/extent of insurance carried. It can also depend on the kid's grades in school and other factors such as the parents' coverage, accident/claim history, and so forth.
    And geographic area too.

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    Generally, insurance is a bit less for teenage females than it is for teenage males. Of course, it also depends on the type of car, and also type/extent of insurance carried. It can also depend on the kid's grades in school and other factors such as the parents' coverage, accident/claim history, and so forth.
    It's interesting to compare the UK with the approach taken by US car insurers. I don't know of any UK car insurer who takes into consideration (a) the kids school grades, or parents' coverage. If I've got it right, here a female is categorised as "young" until she reaches 25, and a young male doesn't reach this accolade until he's 30. Up to that point they each pay huge penalties for the privilege of driving on UK roads.

    And as for mentioning that up to that age they're likely to be driving MB's or BMW's, is enough to reduce the insurer's leg to jelly!

    Do I understand it right that in the US you can still get "third" party liability (i.e. it cover's the other person's costs, but not your own) insurance? In the UK, it is increasingly difficult to obtain such insurance (which traditionally was a cheap way of obtaining cover). Almost all insurers now insist on fulll comprehensive cover (i.e. all party's costs/damages are covered). Most insurers now charge extra if you want only third party cover!

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by r44raven View Post
    It's interesting to compare the UK with the approach taken by US car insurers. I don't know of any UK car insurer who takes into consideration (a) the kids school grades, or parents' coverage. If I've got it right, here a female is categorised as "young" until she reaches 25, and a young male doesn't reach this accolade until he's 30. Up to that point they each pay huge penalties for the privilege of driving on UK roads.

    And as for mentioning that up to that age they're likely to be driving MB's or BMW's, is enough to reduce the insurer's leg to jelly!

    Do I understand it right that in the US you can still get "third" party liability (i.e. it cover's the other person's costs, but not your own) insurance? In the UK, it is increasingly difficult to obtain such insurance (which traditionally was a cheap way of obtaining cover). Almost all insurers now insist on fulll comprehensive cover (i.e. all party's costs/damages are covered). Most insurers now charge extra if you want only third party cover!
    Yes, its still possible to buy a liability only policy in the US. Though due to the fact that insurance is generally a state regulated business, there is considerable variation (types of coverage, minimum mandated coverage amounts, costs, etc.) between the states. In some states, a driver doesn't need to purchase liability insurance at all, but can instead pay into a state run uninsured motorist "pool" (oxymoron?), which generally speaking, is less expensive than purchasing insurance on the retail market.

    On the other issue, what data insurers use to set rates, aside from the traditional factors folks are familiar with, the most useful non-traditional data point used to set rates is one's credit score, insurers having found there is a very good correlation between score and risk. In other words, a high credit score means generally lower risk of big losses for the insurer. It got to the point (about 5-10 years ago) that many states began to investigate/regulate/limit the ability of insurers to use credit scores in their risk and pricing decisions based on their view/suspicion that the use of credit scores resulted in discriminatory outcomes. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming . . . .

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Had a couple 190e's and a 400e.

    All 3 are nice cars. But a w124 is a better car all around. Drives and feels nicer. Roomy yet not huge. All 3 got about 20 mpgs. 2.3, 2.6, and the 4.2l.

    190e's are kinda "boy racer" feeling. Like a 318-328i bmw. Lighter but gutless. The w124 has more of a Lexus ls400 highway machine feel.

    For my personal car, a w124 any day. If I had a son, a m102/3 190e. A daughter? Probably an old Camry.
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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    If you're not opposed to a later w202, the '98-00 C280's are very well built cars and have minimal maintenance/repair issues. It would be about the same price as a 201/124, but a little more modern and safer. Not sure which would be considered cooler by the youth generation these days.....what does he want?

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    I would agree on the w202. Some MB enthusiasts don't like W202's, but hey are not bad.
    The early W202's also suffer from the bio-degradable debacle.
    If you go with a w202 c280, I would go for an OBDI model (95' and earlier).

    Just sold a BMW tranny to a hard core BMW E30 enthusiast. He commented how he thought the 190e's felt a little more solid than his E30.
    I think the 190e is a good car for a 16 year old.

    Quote Originally Posted by SG-Motorsports View Post
    If you're not opposed to a later w202, the '98-00 C280's are very well built cars and have minimal maintenance/repair issues. It would be about the same price as a 201/124, but a little more modern and safer. Not sure which would be considered cooler by the youth generation these days.....what does he want?

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Definitely W124. For a 16 yr old... 300CE.

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Thanks, everyone, for the posts! I actually live in Oakland, MI, which is a suburb of Detroit. But not opposed to get a car from out west, as that's how I picked up Maui's 500E.

    I'm liking the idea of the 124 more and more as it is a little bigger. Not sure on the 420 as my son is always asking to drive my 500E...he likes power! Insurance isn't so bad, plus Ive planned for the sudden increase in rates. I want something safe for him...not sure an old W124 is safer than the newer cars but for the price range, I think it's hard to beat.
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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Assuming Michigan gets snow & ice... I would strongly recommend getting a car with ASR. It works very, very well on slick roads in winter. You can temporarily disable it if desired, for example to have your son learn how to slide the car in an icy, empty parking lot; how to control the slides, how the car plows straight if you are going too fast when turning, etc. Then re-enable ASR after the lesson(s) are over.


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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    I preface the below by stating that I'm not an insurance expert, and have never made an automotive claim in my life. My general perception of insurance is that it is a scam and a blight upon society. On one of my cars (a black 124 wagon that I owned quite a few years ago), I once had someone back into the fender when the car was parked. I inquired with my insurance agency about filing a claim to have the fender replaced. Despite having no history of accidents or claims, they promptly informed me that they would be happy to cover the claim, but if I filed it, that my insurance premium would go up annually for several years into the future. Ultimately, I decided just to purchase a new factory 124 fender, have it painted, and professionally installed on my own dime (total cost was around $650 at the time) and not bother with paying higher premiums.

    Yes, it's common for US insurers to take into account teenage drivers' grades as an indicator of their maturity and ability to handle responsibility. Of course, they also now take into account adults' credit scores and other indicators of fiscal responsibility.

    By parents' coverage I mean whether you have multiple lines of insurance from that insurer .. such as homeowners'/renter's insurance, life insurance, investments/annuities, multi-vehicle coverage/discounts, etc. Generally the more you buy from a given insurer, the more of a discount they will offer. Not always, but sometimes.

    For kids, in my experience there is a reduction in premiums when they hit 21 years old, and then again when they hit 25 years old (or get married).

    I believe that liability-only insurance only covers the costs of the OTHER person, but not your own, yes. I am not super familiar with this type of insurance, but it's considered a very inexpensive way to go. Also each state has a mandated minimum level of coverage that all auto insurance must have. I think it's more common (at least among folks on this forum) to have comprehensive coverage. It's also common for folks to purchase a separate, "umbrella" policy to augment standard policy coverage.

    So, for example, if your comprehensive coverage goes up to $500,000 per accident, then you can have an "umbrella" policy that augments your homeowner's and auto coverage say, up to $2 million of coverage. Umbrella coverage is generally much less expensive than a regular auto policy.

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    I preface the below by stating that I'm not an insurance expert, and have never made an automotive claim in my life. My general perception of insurance is that it is a scam and a blight upon society. On one of my cars (a black 124 wagon that I owned quite a few years ago), I once had someone back into the fender when the car was parked. I inquired with my insurance agency about filing a claim to have the fender replaced. Despite having no history of accidents or claims, they promptly informed me that they would be happy to cover the claim, but if I filed it, that my insurance premium would go up annually for several years into the future. Ultimately, I decided just to purchase a new factory 124 fender, have it painted, and professionally installed on my own dime (total cost was around $650 at the time) and not bother with paying higher premiums.

    Yes, it's common for US insurers to take into account teenage drivers' grades as an indicator of their maturity and ability to handle responsibility. Of course, they also now take into account adults' credit scores and other indicators of fiscal responsibility.

    By parents' coverage I mean whether you have multiple lines of insurance from that insurer .. such as homeowners'/renter's insurance, life insurance, investments/annuities, multi-vehicle coverage/discounts, etc. Generally the more you buy from a given insurer, the more of a discount they will offer. Not always, but sometimes.

    For kids, in my experience there is a reduction in premiums when they hit 21 years old, and then again when they hit 25 years old (or get married).

    I believe that liability-only insurance only covers the costs of the OTHER person, but not your own, yes. I am not super familiar with this type of insurance, but it's considered a very inexpensive way to go. Also each state has a mandated minimum level of coverage that all auto insurance must have. I think it's more common (at least among folks on this forum) to have comprehensive coverage. It's also common for folks to purchase a separate, "umbrella" policy to augment standard policy coverage.

    So, for example, if your comprehensive coverage goes up to $500,000 per accident, then you can have an "umbrella" policy that augments your homeowner's and auto coverage say, up to $2 million of coverage. Umbrella coverage is generally much less expensive than a regular auto policy.
    Its really interesting to learn about the obvious differences in approach that US insurance companies have compared with those in the UK.

    I was particularly interested in Gerry's story about submitting a possible claim to his insurers for damage to his 124 when a third party damaged it (without leaving any contact details). It appears he declined assistance (i.e. re-imbursement from his insurers) to avoid higher future premiums.

    I know of instances here in the UK where a car owner has approached their insurers for help when they have i.e. backed into their own garage door/gate post, i.e. an incident where no third party was involved. Or where their car has been damaged in a parking lot with no third party details. In each case, even where the injured party had decided to pay for the damage themselves, they found they faced increased premiums the following year - just because they had reported the incident to their insurers, and thus rendered themselves a higher risk!

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by r44raven View Post
    I was particularly interested in Gerry's story about submitting a possible claim to his insurers for damage to his 124 when a third party damaged it (without leaving any contact details). It appears he declined assistance (i.e. re-imbursement from his insurers) to avoid higher future premiums.
    This is 100% correct. If you have comp / collision coverage, unless the damage or expected payout from insurance is substantial - meaning, significantly more than you expect to pay in increased premiums over the following 3-5 years - don't file a claim, and don't report the damage! Just pay out of pocket. High deductibles make this a no-brainer for small claims, but if you are paying a bunch for low deductibles, it can be tempting to file that claim. Just remember that all claims go on your Permanent Record and future insurance companies will know about it.


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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Here's a rough summary of the 3 basic coverages. This applies for most states in USA, some details vary state to state:

    Liability coverage (Property + Bodily Injury: This is requires by all states, I believe. It will cover you when YOU are at fault in an accident, and damage other people or their property. If you don't have this insurance, they can sue you for anythin and everything you own, to recover their damages. You run a red light because you are yakking on the phone, ram another car and seriously injure someone? Their medical bills can be tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Your liability coverage pays for this (you get stuck with increased premiums, but you don't lose your house).

    Comprehensive coverage: This will pay for damage to your car, when it's parked, or not in motion. If a tree falls on it or something, comprehensive coverage pays for the repairs, or they will pay the value of the car, less deductible. I believe comp also covers the car if stolen.

    Collision: This pays for damage to your car, when you are driving, or the car is in motion. If the car hits something (tree, guardrail, another car) and damages your car, insurance will pay for repairs / value of your car, less deductible.

    This is an over-simplification of course; click the link below for a bit more info, plus the scoop on uninsured/underinsured coverages, etc:
    http://www.autoinsurance.org/types-o...ance-coverage/



    IMO: Liability is not a scam nor a blight upon society; it protects your assets in case you are in an accident where other people/property are injured. If you own anything nice, you need this.

    Comprehensive / collision are closer to the scam... you need to use judgment and figure out if it's worth it. If you borrow money to buy a car, the lender ALWAYS requires these to protect themselves. For an older car, say a 300E or 400E, comp/collision are likely a waste of money. You either pay a bunch in premiums for nothing if you are never in an accident where you are at fault... or if you ever do put in a claim, they will very likely not give you what your car is worth, and you would have been better off paying out of pocket to repair/replace your car. For expensive cars, comp/collision makes more sense. Wreck a $2k 300E, just buy a new one. Wreck a $20k E63 AMG (or have it stolen, etc), you'll wish you had the comp/collision coverage.


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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    IMO: Liability is not a scam nor a blight upon society; it protects your assets in case you are in an accident where other people/property are injured. If you own anything nice, you need this.
    Let me be more specific with my statements and inferences. The abusive policies of insurance companies are a scam and a blight upon society. For example, saying you'll raise a very long-term, no-claim customer's rates for several years over a potential $700 claim.

    Or telling me when I was 20 years old, that because I'd received three speeding tickets in the past two years (all of them for <10 MPH over the limit) that I was 6x more likely to get into an accident than the average Joe (I've yet to ever have a car accident).

    Or dropping someone after they have a single claim or accident.

    Or strongly steering customers to known, sub-par "favored" repair shops that use used/inferior parts.

    That type of thing.

    BTW, having a low deductible is also a scam. I learned long ago to raise my deductibles as high as possible. Saves money on the premiums for those of us who don't actually USE our insurance.

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    To the original question.

    We have a 1995 E300D for my teenage drivers. It has served us well. Cheap to buy, run, safe as a tank, and slow! AC works well and it's comfortable for all the tall guys (6'4").

    However, it isn't cool. "Granny car".
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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by texas993 View Post
    To the original question.

    We have a 1995 E300D for my teenage drivers. It has served us well. Cheap to buy, run, safe as a tank, and slow! AC works well and it's comfortable for all the tall guys (6'4").

    However, it isn't cool. "Granny car".
    Patrick. I see in your signature that you sold the red 500E. Did you sell it to someone you knew or did I just miss the for sale thread? I would have purchased that car had I not purchased one a few weeks before you bought it.

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Oaklandw124,
    I found your sons car at a good price. No affiliation. M104's have plenty of power.
    http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/n...576871911.html

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    My son turns 14 this month. Now that Gerry has told me about Robert Fenton in San Rafael, CA, I think I know where I can go car shopping for him as its only 1.5 hours away from me. An E320 coupe would be a dream car for me when I was 16 but I'm sure my son will consider it a grandpa mobile. They already make fun of my 500E but when they learn to drive I think their opinion will change.

    I was thinking TDI Golf but the whole emissions scandal thing has turned me off to that.
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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    I think safety and cheap. W124 gets my vote. I see very few which are well maintained now days, but even less on W201's. They were neglected since new, because they were the cheapest benz in the usa to buy at the time.

    I like tdi's. They get good mileage and are peppy but not fast.


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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    I went through this with my cousin. He needed a car, and we got him a 1995 E320. It turned out to be the perfect choice. It is built like a battleship, and the leather and interior was nice, so it didn't feel like a pile of junk. He liked driving it, and it was all around a great car! He still has it, something like 5 years on, and has put a TON of miles on it.

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    My final selection

    1. 190e with a 2.6 engine
    Manageable size: not too small, not too large, not too bad to parallel park.
    Engine: peppy enough for a 16 year old.
    Affordable. $1300-3000

    2. C280
    Manageable size: not too small, not too large, not too bad to parallel park.
    Engine: M104=enough power, no EZL's or fuel distributors to deal with.
    Affordable. $2300-3300

    3. E320 Sedan
    Full sized body. A little on the big side for a beginner driver. The pro, keeps the teenager and his passengers a little safer.
    The con, the beginner drive might clip or scratch some cars in the parking lots etc. Not that your kid would suffer bodily harm, but his insurance premium would go up.
    Engine: M104=enough power, no EZL's or fuel distributors to deal with.
    Affordable. $2500-3500

    4. 400E/E420
    Full sized body......The con, if the teen can't handle the power, then more dents and scratches, etc........
    Engine: Plenty of power, teenage boy can feel like a man, but if Dad has a 500e then Dad can put teen in his place.
    Affordable. $2900-4000

    5. 500e, "you're just asking for trouble"
    Affordable...not so much and YMMV.

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Reviving this thread! (My C126 thread was hitting this topic but doesn't belong there). Lots of don't buy a Japanese econobox, buy a W124 or W210. Is a Subaru Impreza in the econobox domain?

    In see I posted a year ago, and now my son is 15, and rapidly approaching 15 1/2 which means permitted driving time. I am looking at a 4th generation Subaru Impreza for my kid (2011-2016). This will run between $10k to $15k depending upon mileage / condition. 4 cylinder, 27/36 mpg, 5 star safety rating. Airbags everywhere. Modern car. Not considered a grandpa mobile. Mom & kid like this Subaru Impreza hatchback (mini station wagon). Super practical car that can extend through college. Ok, that's great, but it a lot of dough to spend on my knucklehead son (15yr olds are like that even if you love them to death and gave them life). His mother obviously wants something safe, not fast, and reliable.

    In the other corner is a W124/W210, a lot less, and would only carry liability insurance. My Dad spent $3k on my first car in 1989, a 1981 BMW 320i, and that's $6k in 2017 dollars according to the Google. I still have to figure out if I buy a car in his name or mine in terms of total insurance cost. He is living at home so I can help to educate him on how to maintain it and then I have all you guys backing me up if I need help to diagnose something.

    (Side story: My brother, in Chicago, went to a Nissan dealer, who was having a 0% finance deal, and said "what is the cheapest car on the lot", and then bought a Black Nissan Sentra with hubcaps for my awesome nephew. I died inside when I looked at the car and he took me out for a spin. Its like a blender on wheels. The pinnacle of econobox bean counter engineering. Great gas mileage and he has zero problems so far. Engineered to fall apart at exactly 101,000 miles)

    There is a difference between a Reliable and a Durable car

    Of course we love these old Mercedes but they are total Grandpa mobiles to my kids. 1990 = 1890 to them. Dave's comment of "if you don't like your grandpa-mobile, I can return it and you can buy your own car with your own money" is spot on. I then become the "mean Dad" to my and son. My boys are not into cars. I don't think they even know the difference between Toyota/Honda/Subaru let alone GM/Ford/Chrysler and what country is associated with what car. My wife is firmly on my kids side on this one, pocketbook damage be damned... I will probably lose the fight.
    Last edited by RicardoD; 06-09-2017 at 10:29 AM.
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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    If money is not a concern, the airbag-filled, 5-star-safety Impreza is probably not a bad choice. Wreck it and insurance will mostly replace it, along with (probably) doubling already-high premiums for teenager full coverage. I dunno about "reliable" but just fork over $$$$ for an extended warranty (either factory or aftermarket) and that should be taken care of as well.

    On a small budget... the 124/210 (with ASR/ESP!) and liability only would be less painful to the wallet, assuming you can handle basic DIY maintenance.

    Separately, there's the whole parenting issue of handing a kid the keys to anything new and/or fancy... this can, possibly, end up teaching the kid wrong lessons. They can end up expecting to get nice stuff without earning it or at least expending effort to obtain it. But, that's getting out of the realm of a car discussion...


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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by oaklandw124 View Post
    Son turns 16 next week and I was thinking of getting him one of these MB's. Any preference? I have been looking for a 190E 2.3-16 (not for my son!) but thought a 190E 2.6 or an 300E/E320 would be a good car too. Any input from those that have had a 190 are appreciated.
    I'm not sure if these great choices for a 16 year old unless you're planning to cover the bills. Whether 201 or W124, they're pretty thirsty when compared to other 4/6 cylinder cars, are old enough where anything or everything goes wrong, and parts are expensive. They were very safe for their era but not for this era.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevester 500E View Post
    I would agree on the w202. Some MB enthusiasts don't like W202's, but they are not bad.....If you go with a w202 c280, I would go for an OBDI model (95' and earlier).
    I was thinking the same thing. A W202 or W203 would be a better bet. A C230 or C280 would at least have an extra air bag and possibly side airbags on the very latest cars. They also run R134a and have a 722.6 overdrive trans. I had an 05 C230K dealer courtesy car back in 05 and remember getting close to 30mpg from it. I'm pretty sure that the same drive train was used in the last 202 C230K. You can buy a lowish mileage 05 today for about $5k and if you're lucky, it will be a 6 speed.

    I'm not sure why anyone would go for an OBD1 car over OBD2, the climate control, transmission and coil pack ignition will swing it and you get the added bonus of both the 38 pin connector and OBD2. The M112 motor is super reliable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevester 500E View Post
    Just sold a BMW tranny to a hard core BMW E30 enthusiast. He commented how he thought the 190e's felt a little more solid than his E30
    Yep, I ran an E30 20 years ago when I lived in the UK, MB's of the era are far FAR stronger than BMW's of the era. I have a cherry pre-accident E28 in my shop right now that slid into a post impacting the drivers side fender, just ahead of the a pillar. The passenger side doors no longer close.

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    If money is not a concern, the airbag-filled, 5-star-safety Impreza is probably not a bad choice.
    Yep, the W201 and possibly the W124 were designed in the 70's. We should not be fooled into thinking that our heavy plastics and insulation make our cars safer. New cars with high safety ratings are designed to fold up like accordions so that they can absorb the shock of impact, and allowing the occupants to walk away. Passat TDI would be my choice.
    Last edited by alabbasi; 06-09-2017 at 07:27 AM.

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by alabbasi View Post
    I'm not sure why anyone would go for an OBD1 car over OBD2, the climate control, transmission and coil pack ignition will swing it and you get the added bonus of both the 38 pin connector and OBD2. The M112 motor is super reliable.
    I think pre-OBD would be the cutoff point for me. OBD1 cars require an appropriate scanner or blinker box, but you can still get useful diagnostic information from OBD1 (especially HFM /LH systems) for DIY repairs. Yes, OBD2 is a little easier since the local McParts / FLAPS will scan the car free. It's the pre-OBD stuff that is more difficult for the novice DIY'er to figure out (basically, all CIS engines).


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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    I agree with what Al says on the various topics of MBs, safety, design era, etc.

    However, given current tastes among the young, and overall running costs of various cars, I would also recommend getting a Japanese car for a member of the younger set. An Impreza is probably just about right -- not too powerful (as long as it's not an WRX STi, etc.) but cool enough and safe enough. And, reliable with lowish running costs. And if (heaven forbid) an accident happens, as is almost inevitable, it's pretty much a throwaway car.

    A female close friend of my son, who is 19, has already had 3 accidents since she started driving at 16/17. It happens that inexperienced drivers tend to have accidents.

    Anything German is going to be expensive to run, maintain, and for parts. Volkswagens are HORRENDOUS with regard to parts cost.

    I also don't think it's a good idea to impose OUR "grandpa" tastes and favoritism for MBs/German cars on the younger set. As Al says, cars have evolved and are fairly safe (likely/arguably safer than our W124s & 126s), and strategically and parentally speaking, it's doing the kids a better service to put them in a car that is safer and more modern.

    You can adjust from there as to what type/horsepower the car should have, based on the individual kid and their ability to handle/treasure/maintain such. Many if not most kids don't have the time/desire to maintain cars, they're too busy doing other stuff and on their Instagram/Snapchat/Kik these days.

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    To give an example of progress, here are a few NCAP videos showing how crash safety progressed over the last ~20 years:

    W202 C class (first produced in 1992): https://youtu.be/6nXYES5MW88 (watch the a pillar)
    W210 E Class (first produced in 1995): https://youtu.be/qvJmNbQ2W7c
    W212 E Class (first produced in 2002): https://youtu.be/FhcBthYDnu8
    W213 E Class (first produced in 2016): https://youtu.be/oEcplOsn0KU

    I could not find an NCAP video of a W124 but one vid had lots of techno music which I turned of after 3 seconds (The Germans do love their techno)

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Thanks for your perspective guys. Any chance we can get a Impreza subforum going? Look at all this airbag goodness! Puts the W124 to shame.
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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by RicardoD View Post
    Thanks for your perspective guys. Any chance we can get a Impreza subforum going? Look at all this airbag goodness! Puts the W124 to shame.
    The snarky side of me wants to say "yeah, but the 124 doesn't need the extra airbags... kinda like an Abrams tank doesn't need them either."


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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by RicardoD View Post
    Thanks for your perspective guys. Any chance we can get a Impreza subforum going? Look at all this airbag goodness! Puts the W124 to shame.
    Looks like one of those "bouncy houses" that you rent for your little kid's birthday, IMHO !!!

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    This is actually my kid's Grandpa Mobile. That's me (the little one) next to my older brother in front of my Dad's 1973 240D (W115). I think this is a 1973 photo and my Dad taking a picture of his new car, his first Mercedes, that the started a run of MB diesels up to 1987. I think the last riding lawnmower I owned could outrun this thing. My Dad remembers it fondly.

    Grandpa mobile forever!
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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by RicardoD View Post
    This is actually my kid's Grandpa Mobile.
    Sorry to hijack, but this is a great picture, the Mercedes Benz W114/W115 model is my favorite Mercedes Benz of all time because my father had one when I was a kid. His was a Mercedes Benz 250 in signal red with parchment interior and a 4 speed. It was how this car sickness started.

    Here's a picture of me with my father and his 250 and another picture of me , him and my E55 , 40 years later


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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by alabbasi View Post
    Here's a picture of me with my father and his 250 and another picture of me , him and my E55 , 40 years later
    Awesome photo! I am celebrating my father's 80th birthday this summer in Chicago and I need to get him out to California one more time to get a picture of him with me in front of my E500. My sickness started the same way. He owned a W123 300D (not a fan), '79 300TD wagon (the beast!) and a 1983 W126 300SD, and a W124 300D ('87) which was an incredible car. It was only rust that robbed us of the W124 eventually. Chicago and salty winters.
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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by RicardoD View Post
    This is actually my kid's Grandpa Mobile. That's me (the little one) next to my older brother in front of my Dad's 1973 240D (W115). I think this is a 1973 photo and my Dad taking a picture of his new car, his first Mercedes, that the started a run of MB diesels up to 1987. I think the last riding lawnmower I owned could outrun this thing. My Dad remembers it fondly.

    Grandpa mobile forever!
    From about 1982 through 1987 my daily driver was a 1973 220D in the same colors. A few years later, I bought the car back and continued to drive it off and on throughout the 90s. Love that photo...
    Putting the fun in dysfunction...

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    I'll chime in since my son, now 19, has had both a w201 and a w124 as daily drivers. He started driving in our 1992 190e 2.6, which he dearly loved. It was a well used car already when he took over driving this car at 250K+ miles, but it was easy to manuver and powerful enough for him at the time. We did have full coverage on this car, and his insurance through State Farm was only about $60/month. Sadly the car met it's demise a few months back when he was rear ended on his way to school. It doesn't take much to total a car like this, so we settled with the other driver's insurance and moved him to our '93 w124 300e. At first he didn't like the size of the larger car, but has grown used to it and now actually prefers the w124. I paid all of $500 for the car, so it's liability only for insuance coverage which runs about $40/mo.

    Both cars actually have a coolness factor with the more savvy of his generation. Don't write them off yet
    Last edited by roadster27; 06-09-2017 at 05:18 PM.

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    The W210 wagon reminds me of a somewhat unattractive girl that nevertheless had some redeeming qualities......
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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by RicardoD View Post
    Nothing beats a late model w124 wagon for me. How do I get one with a M119?
    Easy: You call Ron's wife, Joanna, and tell her that you're willing to get rid of that pesky Imperial Red E320 wagon with 500E engine which has been cluttering up their garage. (Details on the conversion are in a forum thread from a few years ago.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Klink View Post
    Yeah, she's no looker. Great personality, though...
    Quote Originally Posted by Bogeyman View Post
    The W210 wagon reminds me of a somewhat unattractive girl that nevertheless had some redeeming qualities......
    I'm sensing a theme here. Sadly, it will be another 5 years before we can import a proper W210 wagon like this one, or this other one.

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Hopefully of interest, and utility...

    I very recently purchased a one-owner Smoke Silver '92 190e 2.3 with 42K incredibly careful little-old-man miles. Zero deviations from showroom stock.

    Just fully competently serviced: all fluids, filters, ignition, mixture, serp belt, caliper service, one flex disk.
    That's it, nothing left to do except recharge AC.
    Looks and runs close to virtually purrfect.

    I bought it for my GF but it's way too special for (even a very special) non-enthusiast.
    Would be ideal to give to my son to go off to college with, but that happened 15 years ago, with a Corrado.

    Pictures and more details easy to provide if any interest.
    '92 300CE Black/burgundy Sportlined
    '86 BMW 635CSi Black/black 5spd
    '67 Volvo Amazon wagon Green/green 75Kmi time capsule
    '62 Volvo Amazon Black/red 4Dr 65Kmi time capsule

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Much as I admire early Mercedes (build quality, value for money etc) engineering safety has advanced since the W124. Doubtless you'll all have heard of the various "towards Zero" movements (possibly started by the Swedes back in 1997?). There are now several car models on the US market that have had NO fatal accidents in the last year; these cars are the ones to put your nearest and dearest into.
    Sure it costs, but.....
    If cost is a factor for you then remember MASS counts; buy them as big a car a possible. NCAP ratings mislead, they are mass related, a 5 star rating in a light car is crap if you collide with a solid object or heavier vehicle.
    It continually astonishes me that parents think their cherished off-spring should be in a cheap light small car ('cos it's easy to park).


    http://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/50/1/1

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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    "If cost is a factor for you then remember MASS counts; buy them as big a car a possible. NCAP ratings mislead, they are mass related, a 5 star rating in a light car is crap if you collide with a solid object or heavier vehicle."
    Absolutely correct. Inelastic collision of 2 bodies from physics 101 class. The proportion of energy the body(car) as to absorb is the proportion from the opposite body. So a big heavy unsafe old 60 Lincoln car which hits a civic only has to absorb only the energy from the civic. Poor civic has to absorb.. the bigger share. Around here in Texas all those trucks are heavy 5000-9000 lbs these days.


    M

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  81. #54
    Senior Member RicardoD's Avatar
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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by MCR01 View Post
    It continually astonishes me that parents think their cherished off-spring should be in a cheap light small car ('cos it's easy to park).
    So that's a no to the 5star crash rated Subaru Impreza?

    Current car choices in play
    1)4th generation Subaru Impreza
    2)1995 E300 diesel (w124) <--- grandpa mobile special
    3)2005 or 2006 E series CDI <--- 40mpg on highway!

    So I should add ML class CDI diesel to the list because it has more mass? Man, I hate SUVs.

    How did I survive in my 1981 BMW 320i as a teenager?
    RicardoD
    1990 964 C4 / 1991 964 C2 tip
    1994 E500
    1991 560SEC
    2014 E350 for wife

  82. #55
    E500E Guru 8899's Avatar
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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Perhaps a W140 sedan or an old 7 series BMW?
    Greg
    '94 E500
    '03 E320 4Matic Wagon (W210)
    '08 G55

  83. #56
    E500E Guru Melville's Avatar
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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by 8899 View Post
    Perhaps a W140 sedan or an old 7 series BMW?
    Here's a nice 7 series up the coast from you (Ricardo) in Vancouver BC. Because it's over 25 years old, it will be easy to import. About USD$5k. Approx 70kmi.

    http://splendidauto.com/viewcar.aspx?carID=457

    I consigned my cabrio through this dealer after I moved back to the US from Canada a few years ago. He's a real car guy.

    And because this is a Mercedes site, here's a very early W124 for peanuts. Looks great.

    http://splendidauto.com/viewcar.aspx?carID=501

    Lots of other interesting cars at this dealer too.

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  85. #57
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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Thanks for the link... I thought this quote from the article was interesting, considering the photos I posted here last winter:

    "Small vehicles, high death rates:
    The vehicle with the highest death rate among the 2011 models is the Kia Rio, a minicar, with 149 driver deaths per million registered vehicle years. It's one of only three vehicles with death rates above 100."


    Side comment about the article: Raw numbers can be slightly misleading. [Near] zero deaths per million vehicles is great, but for models which are built in low quantities OR tend to be purchased by a particular demographic (i.e, experienced, safety-conscious drivers) may not necessarily mean the vehicle itself is intrinsically safe.


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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    SUV's, or anything with increased rollover potential due to high center of gravity, would NOT be my choice for a new driver. One wrong swerve at too high a speed and bad things can happen. Ricardo, I think your 3 choices are all reasonable. The CDI is actually a bit powerful for a new driver - have you tested one out yet? Loads of low-end torque from that sweet OM648...


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  88. #59
    Senior Member RicardoD's Avatar
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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    SUV's, or anything with increased rollover potential due to high center of gravity, would NOT be my choice for a new driver. One wrong swerve at too high a speed and bad things can happen. Ricardo, I think your 3 choices are all reasonable. The CDI is actually a bit powerful for a new driver - have you tested one out yet? Loads of low-end torque from that sweet OM648...
    I sadly had a close friend lose his younger brother in a SUV rollover event in the early 90s. It just added already to the pure engineer in me who understood the value of a low CG and my anti-SUV bias. I know SUVs are engineered with better chassis dynamics now but not interested in them. My wife's prior car, the family truckster was a W211 2006 E350 wagon instead of an SUV. The little jump seats in the back were great on occassion when kids were younger. Prior to that it was an Audi A6 wagon.

    I've never driven a CDI but looking around I think I can find one with relatively low miles for $10k or less. Hopefully much less.

    I will keep you updated, eventually I will have to pull the trigger on something and it will be a fun adventure until then. Gives me an excuse to look at all kinds of vehicles. and continue this thread.

    Massive W140 sedan for the weight win!
    RicardoD
    1990 964 C4 / 1991 964 C2 tip
    1994 E500
    1991 560SEC
    2014 E350 for wife

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  90. #60
    Senior Member RicardoD's Avatar
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    Re: 190E or W124 driver for my 16 year old son

    I will be in Vancouver in August with the family on vacation. Love that town! I will be at Robert Fenton's shop soon and I will see what grandpa mobiles he has.

    Here is an 1995 E300 close to me. looks nice in the photos, must be a respray after some accident driving the salvage title, but no VIN or mileage listed, people really don't know how to sell things on craigslist.
    https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/cto/6120429057.html

    Love seeing the CDIs on craigslist for sale at 250k miles or more.
    This one looks great, less than 100k miles, but asking a bit much, "repaired" title
    https://seattle.craigslist.org/est/cto/6179266544.html

    Need to talk to my son again, even after looking at a Subaru in person, nothing seems to get him excited, in which case I will just give him "wheels" and he can figure out later what he would buy with his own money down the road.
    RicardoD
    1990 964 C4 / 1991 964 C2 tip
    1994 E500
    1991 560SEC
    2014 E350 for wife

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