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Thread: The Future of todays NLA parts

  1. #1

    The Future of todays NLA parts

    Does anyone have a crystal ball, into what the future holds for NLA .036 parts?

    Is the situation going to be where people will be rebuilding old used parts, where the hoarders among the ,036 community will sell off their used parts and retire into the sunset with gobs of cash in their pockets, or will new OEM or well made after market parts be available?

    It just seems to me that some parts are becoming NLA way to early, i.e. back glass and lower wiring harnesses. You would think that harnesses would always be available, almost as a courtesy by MB for having built faulty harnesses in the first place. And as for the back glass, I would think glass should always be available.

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevester 500E View Post
    Does anyone have a crystal ball, into what the future holds for NLA .036 parts?
    No.
    Putting the fun in dysfunction...

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevester 500E View Post
    Does anyone have a crystal ball, into what the future holds for NLA .036 parts?
    Yes.



    By the way, I have a Brooklyn Bridge for sale. It is in mint condition. I need the money.
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    I appreciate the honesty.
    Quote Originally Posted by Klink View Post
    No.

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    The back 036 glass is NLA?? (By Back Glass I presume you are referring to the rear windshield) That’s news to me as the last time I checked with my dealer around a year ago there were many still available. Indeed he talked me out of buying one at the time as there was no risk of NLA for some years yet.

    Have any members checked Paragon to confirm the current stock status?
    1987 w124 200 - 3.6 AMG build | 1990 w124 300E-24 | 1992 w124 500E

    1994 320CE Sportline | 1997 w140 S280 | 2007 w211 E220CDI

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    The back glass for the 036 IS still available, and I just posted to this effect a couple of days ago on another thread. I just checked on Friday.

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Stevester, I don't think you have too much to worry about. Yes, parts are going to continue to go NLA at increasing rates. Heck, the transmission mount (just the ordinary transmission mount, a common wear part and nothing special) for the 126 (560SEC/SEL) and many other chassis has been NLA from MB for some time now. Only options new are Meyle or URO.

    HOWEVER, many if not MOST of the current E500E owners hoarding parts will move on to other cars/models in the coming years, and that will very likely continue to release hoarded parts onto the market as they sell their "inventory" off as they move on to other, newer, less NLA cars. I've seen it here many many times over the years. That's correct -- many if not MOST of the current E500E owners, will sell their cars in the next 5 (certainly 10) years and will have moved on to something else. That means that there will be a steady stream of hoarded NLA parts coming to us long-term owners.

    If folks don't believe me, just ask yourself a simple question: How long have you owned your E500E? 15+ years? 10+ years? 5+ years? 3-5 years? 1-2 years?

    PREDICTION: By March 2023, 35+% of the regular participants on this site will no longer own their E500E. By March 2028, 75% of the regular participants on this site will no longer own their E500E.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Moving on to "other cars"? Isn't that sacrilege?

    How could any of us do such a thing?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iz-8CSa9xj8
    Last edited by Trae; 03-12-2018 at 07:06 AM.
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    I think that this is the biggest problem with owning Mercedes. And it is a direct result of the owners. They are cheap. New part availability should not be a problem except that people simply are not willing to pay. I see it over and over in my business. This is why you can buy nearly any part and build lots of cars from scratch from other marcs. And you cannot buy a turn signal switch for most Mercedes that are over 10 years old. And the same reason the prices on these cars are so depressed. And many other low production really cool cars like the 6.3 and 6.9. Even the really expensive cars have terrible parts availability. And even the "new" parts available for them are not really that good. You could say that it is because they are not that popular but that is not true. They are just not that popular with the right people. For example I have done quite a few 500e buyer inspections in the last few years. Mostly nice cars that have miles and run and drive nice but like most need stuff. Timing chains, oil leaks. etc. And that stuff is expensive. I know most of you know that you can easily spend 10,000 on one of these quickly. And buyers will pass on the car or the maintenance when buying a 15,000 car. Because it is not worth it. It really should be the cost of ownership. What does it cost to buy in and own. And that formula should be simple. Can you buy that same car for 25,000 with all that work done. And the answer is most likely no. The 25,000 dollar car most likely needs some of that work done as well. On parts it is simple most people will let things go that cost to much money to fix. Or wait for a used part of lesser quality. For example when I was selling those brand new fenders. Some parts that are nla. At cost. People that were interested wanted me to ship them with no insurance on a Greyhound bus because it was cheaper. Might as well fold them in half and stuff them in a trash bag. Just because they wanted to save 200.00 on shipping. I get that same thing with my tcu kits. People want me to ship with USPS out of the country with no insurance and no tracking to save 100.00.

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    If folks don't believe me, just ask yourself a simple question: How long have you owned your E500E? 15+ years? 10+ years? 5+ years? 3-5 years? 1-2 years?
    That's a downer to even think about being W124-less, Gerry. I've had an E420/400E since 1997 and I can't even imagine being without one. I don't think it will be a lack of parts that will cause most of us to sell our cars -- It will be our totalitarian government's continuing push to get everyone into driverless electric cars so they can control that aspect of our lives too. They'll make it cost-prohibitive and eventually illegal to own one of our cars. I have acquaintances (Prius-driving Marxists) who hate the fact that I even own three cars with V-8 engines. They will be happy when Big Brother takes everyone's driving rights away for the "needs of the many."
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by emerydc8 View Post
    That's a downer to even think about being W124-less, Gerry. I've had an E420/400E since 1997 and I can't even imagine being without one.
    I hear you. I bought my first W124 (a 1992 300TE with 35K on the odometer) in 1997. A great continuation of my past experience on the DarkCISide......


    Quote Originally Posted by whipplem104 View Post
    I think that this is the biggest problem with owning Mercedes. And it is a direct result of the owners. They are cheap. New part availability should not be a problem except that people simply are not willing to pay. I see it over and over in my business. This is why you can buy nearly any part and build lots of cars from scratch from other marcs. And you cannot buy a turn signal switch for most Mercedes that are over 10 years old. And the same reason the prices on these cars are so depressed. And many other low production really cool cars like the 6.3 and 6.9. Even the really expensive cars have terrible parts availability. And even the "new" parts available for them are not really that good. You could say that it is because they are not that popular but that is not true. They are just not that popular with the right people. For example I have done quite a few 500e buyer inspections in the last few years. Mostly nice cars that have miles and run and drive nice but like most need stuff. Timing chains, oil leaks. etc. And that stuff is expensive. I know most of you know that you can easily spend 10,000 on one of these quickly. And buyers will pass on the car or the maintenance when buying a 15,000 car. Because it is not worth it. It really should be the cost of ownership. What does it cost to buy in and own. And that formula should be simple. Can you buy that same car for 25,000 with all that work done. And the answer is most likely no. The 25,000 dollar car most likely needs some of that work done as well. On parts it is simple most people will let things go that cost to much money to fix. Or wait for a used part of lesser quality. For example when I was selling those brand new fenders. Some parts that are nla. At cost. People that were interested wanted me to ship them with no insurance on a Greyhound bus because it was cheaper. Might as well fold them in half and stuff them in a trash bag. Just because they wanted to save 200.00 on shipping. I get that same thing with my tcu kits. People want me to ship with USPS out of the country with no insurance and no tracking to save 100.00.
    Agree 1000% with every word. Most people just don't want to pay what it takes.

    I remember some years back, how incensed some folks were when I came up with my "GVZ Law #1" about ALL E500Es rolling around have AT LEAST $5,000 worth of deferred maintenance. I got all kinds of PMs (and a couple of public posts) to the effect of, "Well, how DARE you! MY car is 100% in tip top shape...it doesn't have much if any deferred maintenance!!!" And my simple response to them was as follows: "Does your car have 80K or more on the odometer (the answer was inevitably "Yes")? Have your motor mounts and transmission mount been replaced? Have your fuel lines and brake lines and fuel pump lines been replaced? How's your radiator/fan clutch/operating temps these days?" And so on and so forth. At shop rates, even inexpensive shop rates, the numbers add up ... just motor mounts & transmission mount is about one-third of that $5K*** !!

    Ever the provocateur unhinged troll, then I upped the ante with a supplementary Law: All E500Es with more than 150K miles on them, are carrying ~$10,000 worth of deferred maintenance. Not as much pushback for that one, but still a little.

    And that sort of leads to my prior post, and your post, Whipple. People are looking at a $15-20K E500E, plus $5-10+K worth of deferred maintenance, and it doesn't pencil out. It's easier to just go out and spend the money and get a W211 or W212 E-whatever AMG that is faster and newer than the E500E, with no hassles. Perhaps get a CPO/StarMarked car while at it. No hassle, vroom vroom vroom. No need to hoard parts, few if any NLA issues....pay, drive and go. Cogito Ergo Zoom!

    It takes a special kind of person to daily-drive a 20+ year old car. A certain amount of craftiness and lots of effort to source and scrounge for parts, find the right fluids in today's difficult environment, and so on.

    It takes increasing amounts of dollars and effort, and time. All precious things that, after a while, many owners just don't want to expend. And you can't blame people -- they want to spend their time on other priorities. An E-whatever AMG is the easy way out, and they don't have to bother niggling over $100 or $200 for shipping fenders via USPS or Greyhound.

    Great discussion!!!

    Cheers,
    Gerry


    *** Just prior to moving from Texas to Maryland, I was planning to drive my G-wagen the distance to carry my most valuable items that I wouldn't let the movers take on the moving van. Being that I didn't really have a place over the past 18 months to work on my vehicles (divorce+living in an apartment), I had my local indy shop do some maintenance on the G-wagen. Note that this is a G-wagen with only 120K on the odometer. He did the following work: replaced A/C compressor & receiver/drier; replaced motor mounts and transmission mount; replaced coolant expansion tank; new idler pulley; full 30K service (lube/etc.); and a few other small items. The bill came out to over $5K. I was happy to pay it because I needed the vehicle and didn't have time/place/tools to do the work, but the cost of the work was 20-25% of the total value of the truck.

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by Trae View Post
    Moving on to "other cars"? Isn't that sacrilege?
    I think for many people, it's both an economic and practical reality.....

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by JC220 View Post
    Have any members checked Paragon to confirm the current stock status?
    My understanding is that the correct name of this MB-proprietary parts inventory system, is not Paragon, but rather "Parts-be-gone"

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by Klink View Post
    No.
    Damn.


    Quote Originally Posted by whipplem104 View Post
    I think that this is the biggest problem with owning Mercedes. And it is a direct result of the owners. They are cheap. New part availability should not be a problem except that people simply are not willing to pay. I see it over and over in my business. This is why you can buy nearly any part and build lots of cars from scratch from other marcs. And you cannot buy a turn signal switch for most Mercedes that are over 10 years old.
    Hold on a sec. This was NOT TRUE until about ±10 years ago. Up until that point, availability of parts for old MB's was not an issue. 10+ years ago I almost never encountered a part that I couldn't buy, although there were plenty I couldn't afford. My local dealer never complained about NLA stuff. Today? Freakin' W211 parts are already NLA, and I'm talking 2008-2009 W211, not 2003!!! My dealer tells me NLA parts for all chassis are causing them all sorts of problems and also lost sales, because they can't sell stuff that's NLA. And if anyone has a factory carbon-fiber center console roll-top slider available for the W211, please let me know.


    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    If folks don't believe me, just ask yourself a simple question: How long have you owned your E500E? 15+ years? 10+ years? 5+ years? 3-5 years? 1-2 years?
    Fourteen years for my first 036, although it's likely to be up for sale before it hits 20 years, as it's my lowest-mile car and I just don't drive it enough anymore.


    Quote Originally Posted by emerydc8 View Post
    That's a downer to even think about being W124-less, Gerry. I've had an E420/400E since 1997 and I can't even imagine being without one. I don't think it will be a lack of parts that will cause most of us to sell our cars...
    Got my first W124 in 1995, but didn't upgrade to an M119 until 2004. It will be a loooong time before I'm W124-less. For the moment I'm mostly getting around the NLA issue by having a couple parts cars around, but that only works for items that don't wear out or are fixable... for example, most rubber bits degrade over time and used ones aren't going to help. Ditto for window channel felts, etc. Thankfully those aren't NLA, yet.

    Just wait until the news spreads that the late 124 front LCA's are NLA for the passenger side. Still dunno if that is temporary or permanent NLA, but it's still scary.

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by whipplem104 View Post
    I think that this is the biggest problem with owning Mercedes. And it is a direct result of the owners. They are cheap. New part availability should not be a problem except
    I think that the future of new parts availability is going to become a huge problem. Mercedes Benz built the W124 in an era when there were only 7 or 8 body styles in the lineup including coupes, wagons etc, replaced every 10 years. We're now in an era where the current model lineup as more than 30 body styles. MB has now become BL of the 70's and all of this variance will make it harder to source spares from the factory. They will need the shelf space for all of the varying parts for the existing line.
    Given the model range, I would be surprised if you could get parts for cars that have been discontinued for 5 years let alone 30.

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    I have told many friends back home that owning a .036 one needs to have “balls”, and passion first and proper MNT.
    Many people back home look at me crazy for restoring the 92 Midnight Blue, more than 12,000 usd in parts already.
    I have some NLA parts because i have 2 500E’s.
    I have also seen people buy $80,000 usd cars; but when it comes to a .036 they wanted it cheap.
    You can’t even have a conversation with them at all about a .036.



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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    As a 6.9 owner I cannot agree more with what has been discussed already here. I have lusted after a 500E for a while as well, but truth be told the ongoing scrounging for parts fills me with absolute dread to be honest. There were times when I have seriously thought of kicking the 6.9 to the curb. The fuel bill alone will make you cry in your beer every night! But then I go out to check her out after a nice wash and those lines and the thought of that monster V8 beneath the hood makes me fall in love again, and so goes the cycle also I totally agree with just getting a nice low mileage W211 E55 and calling it a day. Yes, finding 05/06 ones with low miles and top shape is getting harder, but I can easily see myself driving one of those beasts with no BS, turn the key and GO!
    Last edited by daantjie; 03-12-2018 at 10:31 AM.

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by daantjie View Post
    ... also I totally agree with just getting a nice low mileage W211 E55 and calling it a day. Yes, finding 05/06 ones with low miles and top shape is getting harder, but I can easily see myself driving one of those beasts with no BS, turn the key and GO!
    ...just keep in mind, the W211 will have the same issues with NLA parts. Mostly interior / body parts, for now (same as the 124).


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    The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by daantjie View Post
    As a 6.9 owner I cannot agree more with what has been discussed already here. I have lusted after a 500E for a while as well, but truth be told the ongoing scrounging for parts fills me with absolute dread to be honest. There were times when I have seriously thought of kicking the 6.9 to the curb. The fuel bill alone will make you cry in your beer every night! But then I go out to check her out after a nice wash and those lines and the though of that monster V8 beneath the hood makes me fall in love again, and so goes the cycle also I totally agree with just getting a nice low mileage W211 E55 and calling it a day. Yes, finding 05/06 ones with low miles and top shape is getting harder, but I can easily see myself driving one of those beasts with no BS, turn the key and GO!
    Yes, I always wonder how you 6,9 owners are holding up now that the hydro struts have gone NLA from MB some time ago. I enjoyed mine immensely for the years that I had it, but haven’t looked back since I sold mine in 2002.

    The one good thing with the older cars, which is not really so true much after the 126, is that just about everything is rebuildable/refurbishable on the old-Skool cars except the soft parts (rubber, etc.).

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    Yes, I always wonder how you 6,9 owners are holding up now that the hydro struts have gone NLA from MB some time ago. I enjoyed mine immensely for the years that I had it, but haven’t looked back since I sold mine in 2002.

    The one good thing with the older cars, which is not really so true much after the 126, is that just about everything is rebuildable/refurbishable on the old-Skool cars except the soft parts (rubber, etc.).
    Gerry yes indeed there are a few very reputable rebuilders of all the hydro parts and though not cheap the work is top notch and restores the famed "magic carpet ride" to factory spec, if of course the rest of your suspension rubber etc is in top shape. Overall W116 part supply is not the best but not that bad either. ebay is a good source and you can pretty much get "any" part you need. The w116 board is also a great resource, absolutely the best 116 online resource www.w116.org (hope it's OK to plug the site here?). What I have seen is that interior trim parts are getting tough to find but not impossible. Usually you get few folks stripping out old ones so again ebay can be a treasure trove for good used parts. Luckily the 6.9 shares a lot of parts of the regular SEL so one can usually find what you need. As you probably know that M100 engine is pretty much bullet proof, and there are very reputable rebuilders for the transmission, so all is for sure not lost for current 6.9 owners. But for sure you need to be a bit of a masochist to drive one of these beasts!

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by daantjie View Post
    As you probably know that M100 engine is pretty much bullet proof, and there are very reputable rebuilders for the transmission, so all is for sure not lost for current 6.9 owners. But for sure you need to be a bit of a masochist to drive one of these beasts!
    Oh, I know very well the "bulletproof" nature of the M100 engine. I was once a double M100 masochist, before I was treated and cured of the disease.

    Between you and me: The M119 lovers here who think that V-8 is bulletproof, likely don't know of the far greater degree of bulletproof-ness of the M100 The M100 was truly a "cost no object" design.

    Interestingly, almost 20 years on, the M-100 group has still never deleted/updated my car records.....

    1969 300SEL 6.3 (#2665): http://www.m-100.cc/registry/63/63Re...5&editid2=1509



    1977 450SEL 6.9 (#2113): http://www.m-100.cc/registry/W116-69.pdf

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    My understanding is that the correct name of this MB-proprietary parts inventory system, is not Paragon, but rather "Parts-be-gone"
    You have to say it as one word, fast “Partsrgon”
    Putting the fun in dysfunction...

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    I updated post #7 above, with a prediction.

  42. #24
    E500E Guru RicardoD's Avatar
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    I upped the ante with a supplementary Law: All E500Es with more than 150K miles on them, are carrying ~$10,000 worth of deferred maintenance.
    Yup, that's about right, adding my bill for pullng the motor from my car at 165k miles for timing chain and a nice refurb of other bits. Add the other work done (engine mounts, misc bits I did), I am easily at $10k. My car runs incredible well now however.
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    You did it right, Ricardo, absolutely right. And that's what the $5K and $10K+ figures are ... for folks who "do it right." Not figures for folks who do it all themselves (no labor cost) or folks who half-ass it with band-aids. If everyone band-aided it, nobody's car would have much deferred maintenance at all

    As Whipple says, there are all too many folks trying to "Ball on a budget" with their E500Es, with predictable results.

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  46. #26
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    Just wait until the news spreads that the late 124 front LCA's are NLA for the passenger side. Still dunno if that is temporary or permanent NLA, but it's still scary.
    https://media2.giphy.com/media/KeTVw7VjcTJok/giphy.gif


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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    GSXR,
    Look at the ownership of Mercedes in the last 20years. How long people own cars and the depreciation. 10years ago is when Mercedes figured out that no one was ever going to buy those parts. They were going to buy a new car instead. That is why you can buy a 185,000 CL65 that is less than 10 years old for for under 35,000 with low miles. When I started with Mercedes in the late 90's you could not buy a 560sel for less than 35,000. But those customers were still the 1st owners for the most part and would regularly spend 5-10 thousand if not more and we did not think it was surprising that they did. It was assumed. I use to love 124 4matics coming in at my 1st dealership. It was a absolute guaranteed 5-6k ticket. Every single one every single time. New sway bar, tcase, valve job, etc, etc. No one ever said no. And they were 10 years old with 150,000 miles. I have customers say no to brakes on a regular basis now. No I do not want a service just change the oil. My favorite did the oil need changed how did it look. My response is if it looked like it needed changed then it is not preventative maintenance. It is to late.

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    ^^^
    I think that goes toward the changed nature of MB owners in general, and that has been in transition I think for the past 15-20 years, during the reign of the W140 and W210.

    Once upon a time, nearly all MB owners bought their cars. They often saved much of their lives to be able to afford the car, and were only able to do so later in life. Hence, in part why MB's have had that "stodgy old owner" reputation...because it was true! Older, wealthier people were the only ones generally who could afford them. And afford to maintain them.

    And once they did buy it, they paid what was required to keep their investment in top nick. Keeping a 116 or a 115 or a 123 or a 126 or a 124 for 20+ years as a daily driver was not unusual, and the owners had the books of dealer maintenance to prove it.

    There is no difference today between an MB and any other car out there, other than the name still has some halo cachet to it (from the good old days). I don't even notice MBs on the road today unless they are older, because they are just .... unremarkable looking.

    What's a man to do these days, in the face of all this automotive blandness?

    I have the answer .... drive a 29-year-old, 238-hp Mercedes coupe every day !! Or an E500 when the whim strikes.


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  51. #29
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    I think calling people "cheap" for finding some the MB parts prices to be ridiculous is and no more justified than the price of the parts themselves. There is also this irony that every time a car comes up sale the peanut gallery rips the car to shreads declaring it way over valued, but we're fine paying $500 for some $15 rubber mirror boots. You can't have it both ways. If the parts are worth these sometimes insane prices the bulk of them combined, in place and ready to use should be worth significantly more.

    Another interesting fact is that MB has learned how to manufacture their products for much less than in the past, to the detrement of the product some my argue. Look at the E series. The new cars are loaded with options and features that greatly surpases the technology of the W124 yet the cars cost significantly less in today's dollars. My W212 is a shining example. The car has "night vision" and host of other techy options that was unheard of in the ninties yet it had an MSRP $10k less than the W124.036. I know there are a lot of folks that romantize about the "good ol' days" when everything was hand built, but I presonally find the W212 to be a much better driving car than the W124 in nearly every aspect especially when combined with a 5.5l naturely aspirarated V8. There simply is no comparison to the M119 5l. I might add that I personally feel there is no better buy on the market right now than the W212 E550, but I am biased. You can pick these cars up for well under $20k! The car is a rocket ship and a damn good looking car in my mind. I purchased mine as a CPO and paid less than half of the original MSRP with a four year bumper to bumper warranty. Don't get me wrong, I love my E500E's. I wouldn't own two if I didn't, but given the choice for a four hour drive and I'll take the W212 every day of the week and twice on Sunday. It will never be a colletor car but as a DD it is fantastic.

    Gerry mentioned that most folks here won't own their E500E's by 2028. I would agree with that simply because parts won't be available and because "collector" cars tend to follow the generations of the owners. Look at the American muscle car as an example. IMHO in ten years the only people that will be looking for these cars will be true collectors and they will want low mileage unabused examples. I expect to see these cars peak in the near future and then begin a steep decline. I can't see myself owning mine much more than two years as I move into retirement and downsize my lifestyle. The 124.036 will simply be another phase in my car hobby life. I own hobby cars for the love of wrenching and the nostalgia. As I get older the wenching part gets harder as my family has an arthritis gene that already leaves my hands in pain after a day of wrenching not to mention a slower ability to solve problems.

    I can't even imagine what automotive technology will be like in 2028. By then the buracrats will have outlawed all self driven cars from the Interstates and city streets. Many cities will have baned the internal combustion engine entirely. We will be shuned and treated like an NRA member at a PTA meeting.

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  53. #30
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    think that goes toward the changed nature of MB owners in general, and that has been in transition I think for the past 15-20 years, during the reign of the W140 and W210.

    Once upon a time, nearly all MB owners bought their cars. They often saved much of their lives to be able to afford the car, and were only able to do so later in life. Hence, in part why MB's have had that "stodgy old owner" reputation...because it was true! Older, wealthier people were the only ones generally who could afford them. And afford to maintain them.
    Gerry beat me to it. There were 2 fundamental changes in the mid/late 1990's (approximately).

    1) Buyers gradually shifted from long-term owners who kept the car for 10-20 years, to short-term owners who had a 3-4 year lease and then exchanged it for a replacement lease.

    2) MB gradually shifted from building million-mile cars, to relatively disposable cars.

    My opinion is that #2 was partly caused by the bean counters looking to increase profits (and remain competitive with the Japanese upstarts making them look bad); along with a combination of #1 (why build a 1M-mile car when the ownership trend is short-term leasing?), and probably some millennial marketing muppets tossed in who insisted MB created 20 different chassis types to fit every market niche.


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  55. #31
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by Maui View Post
    (snip) ... Don't get me wrong, I love my E500E's. I wouldn't own two if I didn't, but given the choice for a four hour drive and I'll take the W212 every day of the week and twice on Sunday. It will never be a colletor car but as a DD it is fantastic. ...
    Ditto what Maui says. If I could afford it, we'd have late 211's or 212's as DD's as well. They are really quite impressive overall, but I'd be pretty nervous to have a 212 out of warranty. The 211 has been out of production for nearly a decade now, so there is 15+ years of DIY experience to draw on from various forums. The DIY/forum knowledge tends to be tiny when cars are still in warranty, and increase dramatically as they exit warranty. I expect it will be a loooong time before I jump into 212 ownership!


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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts


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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    What rumored around in the recent let's say year or two was: with 10% of the parts you do 90% of the turnover. On top comes the sheer uncountable amount of models and options that demands a huge spare parts variety - means huge parts facilities and costs in the end. So Daimler scraps the old mentality of having really alot of stuff available for their cars. If this is the right way? I don't know - it just follows the global "consuming" trend.

    Also have to agree on the aforementioned lease or financing craze. However what really bothers me though is the crazy amount of (ab)use they do with social media ala Instagram etc: to put up some of the old glorious halo (classics or young classics) and let this shine towards their new models while actually cutting down the old and original roots... I hope I could express it in the right way....
    Last edited by Rouven036; 03-12-2018 at 03:07 PM.
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by Rouven036 View Post
    Also have to agree on the aforementioned lease or financing craze. However what really bothers me though is the crazy amount of (ab)use they do with social media ala Instagram etc: to put up some of the old glorious halo (classics or young classics) and let this shine towards their new models while actually cutting down the old and original roots... I hope I could express it in the right way....
    Yes, MB had made and continues to make a big deal about how well they support their cars with gen-u-whine parts, how we should ONLY use gen-u-whine parts, and so on. The Classic Center sends out a monthly email detailing new parts they are supplying. The Classic Center on two continents has a significant restoration business. They publish a quarterly MB Classic Magazine. MB Classic is a big business and a big division inside the company, displaying at shows and events all over the world, touting how great old MBs are....

    They use the old cars and parts to continue to create a brand halo to sell lots of new cars. And then they continue to steadily cut support for the old cars.

    So, they are reproducing Bundt wheels for 1970s models, and are making chrome bumper over-riders available again for Ponton models from the 1950s .... and you can buy a new grill assembly for your Gullwing. Yet, you can't buy a damn simple rubber transmission mount for a W126 model, or a fuel pump for your 108/109/Pagoda, or a front lower suspension control arm for a late W124.

    Yet....I get press releases and emails from MBUSA every stinkin' quarter telling me how their sales are rapidly expanding and how they've shipped more vehicles than the last quarter, for the last 75 quarters, and so forth. Everything has been sacrificed on the altar of increasing vehicle sales numbers + revenue.

    As Rouven says, it doesn't make any sense.

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  62. #35
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Indeed. I was just chatting with my parents last night on this very subject. Cars are disposable commodities, and the manufacturers have either followed suit, or created the whole mess (chicken and egg - up for continuous debate obviously)

    My parents are currently in the situation of trying to figure out what to do in the context of a car they have owned since new for the past 18 years. I have never thought of them as individuals who drive cars ‘into the ground’, but even that paradigm has shifted in the last 20 years. That milestone is no longer reached when the wheels literally fall off, or the body is consumed by rust, but when the interior trim is falling apart and is NLA!


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  64. #36
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    ^^^^Yep, while Rolls Royce and Bentley forums usually has very little by way of technical know how. They've managed to compile a pretty nice parts interchange guide in order to keep their cars on the road (including using $20 MB W126 brake pads on your Bentley Turbo R instead of the far inferior $200 pads from Rolls Royce).
    I suspect that we'll soon be doing the same.

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  66. #37
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by Maui View Post
    I can't even imagine what automotive technology will be like in 2028. By then the buracrats will have outlawed all self driven cars from the Interstates and city streets. Many cities will have baned the internal combustion engine entirely. We will be shuned and treated like an NRA member at a PTA meeting.
    So much in our society has become and is becoming "as a service". First it was restaurants, because dining out (or going to McDonald's) is less time consuming than buying ingredients and taking the time to cook. And progressed from there.

    Now we have "transportation" as a service in the form of Uber and Lyft. Far more efficient and cost-effective than the old-school "taxi cab" model. It won't be too long before folks won't have to buy cars - you just consume what you need as a service. People who live in cities (and millenials) already do this. Owned cars will be a thing of the past. Cars are a thing of the past. I'm hoping to hang on to mine for the next 20-25 years, but we'll see. Maybe internal combustion engines won't die as quickly as some are saying they will. There is a LOT of vehicles and infrastructure out there that precludes legislating them away overnight.

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  68. #38
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    I am still waiting for George Jetson to pick me up for work... But I digress, I am taking about 10 priceless parts to my 3rd floor, climate controlled storage today.
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  69. #39
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    So, they are reproducing Bundt wheels for 1970s models, and are making chrome bumper over-riders available again for Ponton models from the 1950s .... and you can buy a new grill assembly for your Gullwing. Yet, you can't buy a damn simple rubber transmission mount for a W126 model, or a fuel pump for your 108/109/Pagoda, or a front lower suspension control arm for a late W124.... As Rouven says, it doesn't make any sense.
    They aren't repopping those bumper guards... they are dumping old stock!!!

    Are you looking for original bumper guards for your classic Mercedes-Benz Ponton or Fintail? The following bumper guards are available at special discount pricing throughout March:
    • 120-880-00-55-10 left and right front bumper guard, fits Ponton models 180, 180D, 190 190D. $300.00 ($1,150 list)
    • 120-880-07-55-10 left rear bumper guard, fits Ponton models 180, 180D, 190, 190D. $300.00 ($600 list)
    • 120-880-01-55 left front bumper guard, fits Ponton models 180c, 180Dc, 190b, 190Db. $300.00 ($1,150 list)
    • 120-880-02-55N right front bumper guard, fits Ponton models 180c, 180Dc, 190b, 190Db. $300.00 ($1,120 list)
    • 120-880-16-55-10 right rear bumper guard, fits Ponton models 220 S, 220 SE. $350.00 ($1,470 list)
    • 110-880-03-55 left front bumper guard, fits Ponton models 190b, 190Db and all W110 Fintail models. $200.00 ($900 list)
    • 110-880-04-55 right front bumper guard, fits Ponton models 190b, 190Db and all W110 Fintail models. $200.00 ($900 list)

    The bumper guards are new old stock (NOS), may present with minor blemishes and are sold as is. These parts have never been used and can easily be re-chromed if necessary. Please call 1-866-622-5277 or email your classic specialist at classicparts@mbusa.com to place your order today.

    Order your NOS bumper guards today

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Maybe Musk or Besos is about to buy them...

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  72. #41
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by nocfn View Post
    Maybe Musk or Besos is about to buy them...

    More likely, Robert Fenton for his warehouse.

  73. #42
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    Ditto what Maui says. If I could afford it, we'd have late 211's or 212's as DD's as well. They are really quite impressive overall, but I'd be pretty nervous to have a 212 out of warranty. The 211 has been out of production for nearly a decade now, so there is 15+ years of DIY experience to draw on from various forums. The DIY/forum knowledge tends to be tiny when cars are still in warranty, and increase dramatically as they exit warranty. I expect it will be a loooong time before I jump into 212 ownership!

    Dont have a 212 but an A207 that cannot match the comfort of my 91C126 for long drives, until I remember it has orthopedic seats then we get close.
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  74. #43
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    So much in our society has become and is becoming "as a service". First it was restaurants, because dining out (or going to McDonald's) is less time consuming than buying ingredients and taking the time to cook. And progressed from there.

    Now we have "transportation" as a service in the form of Uber and Lyft. Far more efficient and cost-effective than the old-school "taxi cab" model. It won't be too long before folks won't have to buy cars - you just consume what you need as a service. People who live in cities (and millenials) already do this. Owned cars will be a thing of the past. Cars are a thing of the past. I'm hoping to hang on to mine for the next 20-25 years, but we'll see. Maybe internal combustion engines won't die as quickly as some are saying they will. There is a LOT of vehicles and infrastructure out there that precludes legislating them away overnight.
    This. Everything is a service these days - EaaS.

    + SaaS - software as a service, obvious
    + TV as a service - Netflix, Amazon, CrunchyRoll, DramaFever, etc.
    + Transportation as a service - Uber, Lyft
    + Car for Driving as a service - Volvo
    + Music as a Service - Spotify, Pandora, etc.
    + Sous Chef for Cooking Dinner as a Service - Blue Apron, the Munchery, etc.
    + Already Cooked Dinner as a Service - Seamless, DoorDash, Caviar, etc.
    + Razors as a service - Harry's, Dollar Shave Club, etc.

    I think there are two contributors to this.

    Firstly - the allure of recurring revenue for the companies providing the "service".

    Secondly - and perhaps nowhere near as explored --- LACK OF INFLATION IN THE PAST DECADE.
    We're just seeing inflation now in 2018 but for the past decade, there has been very little inflation.

    This has lulled people - especially millennials - into thinking that prices will forever remain the same. In an environment where pricing is static, it makes sense to move daily necessities to a subscription / service model --- you can really accurately predict the cashflow you need to support that.

    However, in an inflationary environment, EaaS starts to get really difficult. You might be paying $350/month to Lyft everywhere this month, but are you paying $400 next month? And then $450 the month after? How about the cost of shaving? Is that going to go up?

    And then owning your own car actually starts to make sense again --- throw 25K into a daily driver and then never pay a single dime for the car outside of maintenance ever again (yes, I will admit I'm a vapid Toyota-driver for Daily Driving Activities). Drive that daily driver for 15 years.

    Once people are presented with inflation, then owing stuff outright starts to make a lot of sense because you can more accurately manage cashflow. The millennials today have never experienced an environment with even moderate, let alone high inflation in the double digits. Its not their fault really but they just don't know. They think everything will stay the same.

    Once owning stuff for the long haul makes sense again, then parts will become valuable again..... I think. Maybe. Or Not. If fleets of autonomous vehicles take over before then then all bets are off. But I dunno, its really easy to game the AVs driving around. All you gotta do is make a faint swerving motion in your own car to the AV in the next lane, and that AV will stop to prevent getting in a wreck. The instant that happens, I always see 5-6 human operated cars quickly rush to cut off that AV before it starts moving again. End result - AV just sits still in traffic while everyone else takes advantage of it and gets ahead. AHAHAHAHAHA!!! It is so delicious to do this to the Chevy Bolt AVs running around ..... Okay that's another topic....
    ---
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  76. #44
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    ^^^This last paragraph is very funny. Manipulate the AVs... that’ll be interesting.

    In the last 10 years, I think at the base of much of this, is the fact that technology is “a race to the bottom.” It used to be that technology was a way to increase profit margin — a barrier to entry, a way to raise prices, and a way to reduce costs. Now, it just reduces margin — lower costs, lower prices, and no real barrier to entry. The result is massive counter inflation at every level, including the wages that customers have to spend. So they’d rather not spend on anything they don’t have to. Because they can’t afford it.

    For the 10 years before that, car companies got greedy with the leasing model. Now they could sell the car twice — once in the lease (huge profit margin), once when they sell the lease return (decent profit margin). And what’s better than that, “hey we can finance it too, both on the lease and the lease return sale.” K’ching, k’ching! One problem — 20 years of leasing is one of the reasons customers CAN’T afford to buy and maintain anymore. Kick the can some more...

    You add them up, and the new 2018 EClass (which my GF drives) has tons of gadgety BS and none of the driving experience of the W212 E550. At least none that she uses anyway. When I have her out of the car, I can actually make it do something. But she’d just as soon have the car drive her around while she works from the car, or stalks social media or catches up with friends. She’s too distracted to drive — she just wants to get there — mainly because she has a career that actually pays something, a relative rarity in the past 10 years. What she doesn’t have is what humans cannot create, and that is TIME. But she is the ideal customer for MB now, which is different from the former customer — she can afford the perpetual lease (as uneconomical as it is, long term), and she doesn’t have TIME for anything car related. She really just wants a service, will pay for it, and part of that service is keeping car related thoughts off her “desk.” Me, I’ll take the 25+ year old 500E with the driving experience, just because I have these cars in part to keep tech heavy BS “off my desk.” She has a car service take her to the airport, because when coming back from China, she doesn’t want to deal with what may have happened to her car in the meantime (flat tire, battery, DRIVING, nothing).

    And this is the rub. Distracted, overwhelmed customers make for a distracted, overwhelmed Mercedes Benz. Not knowing what precisely to build for their fractured and distracted customer base, they build everything (Mercedes minivan, anyone)? They’re not the only company struggling with this, and so much of the AV craze is because it gets the car companies out of the conundrum of trying to serve a customer base that doesn’t really care, can’t afford to care, doesn’t have time to care, and just wants a service anyway. That’s probably none of us here.

    So cars that move to the classic center’s domain will probably maintain support. But with 10k units worldwide, I wonder if that’s .036. Ironically, affinity groups like this Board have the power to influence that. Cars that aren’t classics won’t get supported. Period.

    But to get something useful out of the discussion, my thought when I bought this car was that the ubiquitous nature of the W124 + the parts overlap between R129 and W140 cars, could would and should keep “parts availability” as a back burner concern. Was I wrong? Is that not the case? So far, I haven’t had a real problem (low mileage, garage kept, not daily driven, yada yada), but I’ll admit, I likely won’t be chasing down and hoarding parts. Like my GF, I simply don’t have time for that. The price of new parts isn’t my problem. The price of my time definitely is. If the car isn’t serving it’s purpose (pure enjoyment whenever I want to drive it) because parts aren’t available to fix it, then it becomes an expensive yet cool paperweight and will be dealt with accordingly. But do we really see that happening?

    What would be useful, and I think somewhere between GSXR, GVZ, Klink and Jono this probably already exists, is knowlege of the parts overlap between R129, W140 and .036. After that, it’s just a pay to play enterprise, same as anything else in life. Which of course makes it special, by the way. This is a “not for kids” car in a “not for kids” environment, which has the added (and great) value of keeping the kids away. Works for me, even though I’ll probably have to spring for the rear glass if I ever want to market my car as “mint.” Back burner concern for now... The other irony is, owning multiple Benzes, I am no longer MB’s ideal customer. Make sense of that one...

    maw
    Last edited by maw1124; 03-13-2018 at 07:05 AM.

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    I found that the classic center does treat many chassis as important on the young classic side. Last I was in Irvine, there was even a C126, a close-up of a M117 cross section and an .036, so it is already special to them because of the ".036" designation.
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    The reason I got my first Mercedes was because parts were available even with it's age- which just wasn't the case with anything else I drove. So I could be picky and fix little annoying trim- just replace it and while not cheap, it wasn't but $30 for it.

    I like to drive my 500e, and if parts availability dwindles to where that isn't easy, then I will sell it. It's a fun car, but there are other fun cars. I wish MB would get a better hold on their parts system. Back before computers, the way hardware was organized and the tool section in the microfish was really nice.



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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by nocfn View Post
    I found that the classic center does treat many chassis as important on the young classic side. Last I was in Irvine, there was even a C126, a close-up of a M117 cross section and an .036, so it is already special to them because of the ".036" designation.
    That’s what I’d expect. I don’t know if the W220 will make anyone’s classics list, but they made so many of them, I’m not expecting to have a parts problem. Hence, the S55. I really don’t believe in buying headaches, so I don’t think I have. I bought one and learned my lesson (the Audi Allroad 4.2). It was the rarest derivative of a rare car, and it’s been a bit of a problem. Luckily a friend saved me by buying a couple parts cars (God is good). Now, he sees more Allroads, so he buys more parts cars. All good for me. But that taught me not to repeat the mistake of buying cars where I can’t get parts.

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by maw1124 View Post
    ^^^This last paragraph is very funny. Manipulate the AVs... that’ll be interesting.

    In the last 10 years, I think at the base of much of this, is the fact that technology is “a race to the bottom.” It used to be that technology was a way to increase profit margin — a barrier to entry, a way to raise prices, and a way to reduce costs. Now, it just reduces margin — lower costs, lower prices, and no real barrier to entry. The result is massive counter inflation at every level, including the wages that customers have to spend. So they’d rather not spend on anything they don’t have to. Because they can’t afford it.

    ^^^^^^^^^ Yes so much this. Perhaps this is now off topic but I feel very passionately and strongly about what you just observed.

    Technology used to be used to make goods more productive / efficient and therefore bring lower costs to society. For example, the weaving loom made cloth cheaper, railroads made transportation cheaper, the latest microprocessor and computations / graphics that much cheaper, wifi made accessing information faster and more flexible without be tethered to a wall ---- all these things pushed down cost-push / supply side inflation.

    However lately technology it seems has increasingly been used to ALLOW US TO LIVE IN DEBT FOR LONGER.

    We know time = $$$$.

    If you don't have the $$$ for a car, then use transportation as a service.
    If you don't have the $$$ (time) to get some groceries, pay someone to do it for you.
    If you don't have the $$$ for a house in the most expensive parts of the country, then just pay forever (rent / infinite lease).

    I am not sure what this means. It used to be that financial products (the banking industry) came up with models to expand debt. But, now it feels like every single industry is figuring out a way to expand debt --- in this case by "redefining" debt as "BlahBlah as a Service".

    I haven't been able to draw a parallel to other points in history, but would be interested to know if others have had similar thoughts.
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  86. #49
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    As for parts availability, the Classic Center and Mercedes have brought things back due to demand, so it’s not all doom and gloom. One I recall is the power brake servo for the Pontons - they are producing them again, however, one will set you back over $2k, maybe more these days.

    A more current part is the “switchblade” key fob used by the R129, W140, ML and others of the mid to late 1990s. These have been NLA for several years, sending many owners into fits of panic and rage which I have personally witnessed at a dealer’s parts counter.

    Mercedes has found a new supplier and is in the final stages of engineering approval on the replacements. However, it remains to be seen what the cost of these will be. With the costs of sourcing a new supplier, engineering and quality control, and desired profit margin on a part whose costs can’t be applied to an existing project/chassis, I suspect this is going to elicit far more wailing and gnashing of teeth when it’s made available to the end user.

    My dealer has a list of over 100 customers wanting one or more of these for their cars. I feel for my parts person when these become available. I’m sure it will be ugly.

    Dan

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by Jlaa View Post
    ^^^^^^^^^ Yes so much this. Perhaps this is now off topic but I feel very passionately and strongly about what you just observed.

    ...

    I am not sure what this means. It used to be that financial products (the banking industry) came up with models to expand debt. But, now it feels like every single industry is figuring out a way to expand debt --- in this case by "redefining" debt as "BlahBlah as a Service".
    Excellent points from all yous guys. And I suspect it's related to the reason our 124 parts are going NLA. MB pays lip service to the Classic Crowd, but would gladly never stock a spare part again for a vehicle out of warranty (or one that is no longer considered profitable to service - just make the customer buy lease a shiny new GLE S AMG whatever.)

    I am probably in the tiny minority, but I've been actively trying to remain debt-free. This was primarily fueled by my employer's penchant for almost continuous layoffs from roughly 2002 through 2016 or so. I'd love a W212 E550 as a daily driver, but that would require debt, so the ol' 1992 400E keeps racking up the commute miles!


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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    A lot of informative discussion in this thread. But, I do think that we are missing the impact that tech has on our lives for the past two decades. Before the 90s, the tech was moving slowly and a lot of advancement either came in slowly or at a lot of investment which allowed companies like MB, Sony etc. to command higher prices.

    Since the 90s, when computers, laptops, cell phones etc. have become mass products and technology is moving much faster in terms of what is achievable. And, folks want that in their cars and hence, the demand that manufacturers are trying to fulfill.

    Because tech has lowered the barrier to entry, companies like Toyota, Honda etc. can bring products with technology at lower price points and create pricing pressure on MBs and others and unless companies have a true tech edge like Tesla, they can't command premium pricing. This also drives cost cutting including lower quality materials, offshore production etc.

    Overall, this means that transportation is becoming another "thing" in life and people have other important things to spend their time on like messaging apps and these forums

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    ^^^ Funny. Yes, the technology "race to the bottom" = "the commoditization of everything" = "no one owns, they just lease" = "infinite revenue (or cost) streams, depending upon whether you're a producer (or consumer)" = "no one can afford to own, so they stay captive to debt". It's certainly not the only outcome (as you point out), but that outcome can't be overlooked. At least not wisely. It's also very foolish, because a snake that eats its tail at a certain point won't be a snake anymore. My GF thinks I'm an idiot owning multiple cars that I drive collectively less than she drives one. Up until she realizes that she spends more per year on that one car than I spend on all of mine combined. Every year, year after year. It adds up. They say cars make horrible investments because of the depreciation. Well that equation flips once there is no more depreciation. That is, as long as there are parts.

    I've pointed out before how MB tech shares between cars -- from the S/SL, down to the E, down to the C. And I think this penchant overlaps to provide parts availability in a funny way, whether it's the S55 owner who can buy SL55 or E55 parts; or the .036 owner who can buy R129 or W140 parts. In the end, MB will always take the SClass customer, because that's the trunk out of which every other branch grows. Every. Other. Branch.

    The SClass Customer and the Classics Center customer are the same person -- the one who is not distracted or overwhelmed; they know what they're buying and why; and they're not afraid to pay for it as long as it's worth while. Hence, when they figure out that, e.g., the 500EBoard members need e.g., fuel pumps or wiring harnesses, my guess is that fuel pumps and wire harnesses will be made. Maybe costly, but that's your problem not theirs.

    I think the stat was something like 7 out of 11 SClass owners are repeat SClass owners. And we know the new SClasses don't always work right and depreciate like rocks. Doesn't matter to the SClass owner, who probably has 3 other SClass cars running. My guess is MB will always cater to that customer and their classic MBs.

    maw

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    I sure like me some 2018 SCoupe, but not for 125 large, perhaps in 2020 I will snag a 2018 for the price of two well sorted E500... We shall see how bitcoin works out....
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by LWB250 View Post
    As for parts availability, the Classic Center and Mercedes have brought things back due to demand, so it’s not all doom and gloom. One I recall is the power brake servo for the Pontons - they are producing them again, however, one will set you back over $2k, maybe more these days.

    A more current part is the “switchblade” key fob used by the R129, W140, ML and others of the mid to late 1990s. These have been NLA for several years, sending many owners into fits of panic and rage which I have personally witnessed at a dealer’s parts counter.

    Mercedes has found a new supplier and is in the final stages of engineering approval on the replacements. However, it remains to be seen what the cost of these will be. With the costs of sourcing a new supplier, engineering and quality control, and desired profit margin on a part whose costs can’t be applied to an existing project/chassis, I suspect this is going to elicit far more wailing and gnashing of teeth when it’s made available to the end user.

    My dealer has a list of over 100 customers wanting one or more of these for their cars. I feel for my parts person when these become available. I’m sure it will be ugly.

    Dan
    I got a spare one for my 1995 G-wagen back in late 2014 through the Classic Center. At that time it was around $200 for the key.

    I'm sure MB will be able to charge whatever they want to for these when they do become available again.

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by Jlaa View Post
    ^^^^^^^^^ Yes so much this. Perhaps this is now off topic but I feel very passionately and strongly about what you just observed.

    Technology used to be used to make goods more productive / efficient and therefore bring lower costs to society. For example, the weaving loom made cloth cheaper, railroads made transportation cheaper, the latest microprocessor and computations / graphics that much cheaper, wifi made accessing information faster and more flexible without be tethered to a wall ---- all these things pushed down cost-push / supply side inflation.

    However lately technology it seems has increasingly been used to ALLOW US TO LIVE IN DEBT FOR LONGER.

    We know time = $$$$.

    If you don't have the $$$ for a car, then use transportation as a service.
    If you don't have the $$$ (time) to get some groceries, pay someone to do it for you.
    If you don't have the $$$ for a house in the most expensive parts of the country, then just pay forever (rent / infinite lease).

    I am not sure what this means. It used to be that financial products (the banking industry) came up with models to expand debt. But, now it feels like every single industry is figuring out a way to expand debt --- in this case by "redefining" debt as "BlahBlah as a Service".

    I haven't been able to draw a parallel to other points in history, but would be interested to know if others have had similar thoughts.
    My point was that we've become a "service-based" economy where as you say, everything under the sun is purchased/leased/rented as a service, and no one actually OWNS or DOES or CREATES anything themselves.

    Our transition from a largely individualistic, self-sufficient society to one that is largely outsourced to others. At tremendous cost, and tremendous debt. You see this in the large cities and the coastal areas, whereas the rural and some suburban areas still maintain some of the self-sufficiency. There's a parallel political trend that follows this, but I won't go there as the policy of this forum is not to discuss politics.

    Is outsourcing and doing things "as a service" always debt, though? I mean, you don't pay a monthly subscription for Uber ... you consume it as you need it. Other things, yes, like Microsoft Office, you subscribe to monthly or annually rather than having a box of Office DVDs that you actually OWN (but even then are not legally your property).

    More plainly said, what I think a lot of companies have been doing is finding ways to translate what they offer into recurring revenue streams, rather than pay once and you-own-it. Over the long run, this is indeed more profitable than the old model (i.e. you pay $100 a year for Microsoft Office, vs. $200 one time to own the DVDs that you use for 5-6 years....meaning that Microsoft gets $500-600 vs. the $200 that they once got). So yes, "as a service" extracts more money over time from the consumer, but whether that's debt or not is actually up to the consumer and how they choose to spend and fund their lifestyle.

    My girlfriend leases her Lexus IS350. It's a top of the line model, around $55K. She put $5K down and has about a $550 monthly payment for four years. At the end of the lease, she either walks away, trades up for a newer/better model, or translates the residual payment into a loan and buys the car. I think the residual value (already carefully calculated by Lexus) is somewhere around $25-30K after four years. I already know what she's going to do -- she's probably going to lease another Lexus, but go upward to the LC500 model (unless I convince her to buy it). It frustrates me because there's nothing tangible that she has at the end of the lease, except the pleasure she gets from driving the car while she has it (and it is a really fun car to drive). And that's why I'll never lease a car myself -- I have to have something tangible, and preferably an asset that is not depreciating, and in reality APPRECIATING. Hence why I keep my E500, 560SEC and G-wagen. All are appreciating, and I'm essentially driving all of them for free save the cost of maintenance and repair. Which is ONE HELL of a lot less than the $550 monthly Lexus lease cost.

    GSXR's debt-free lifestyle is compelling and right on. I've seen a brief glimpse of his life and have no doubt that he is extremely self sufficient, and not only with MB repairs I think I saw corn fields, potato fields, and vegetable gardens out on the other side of his shop, where he grows his and Mrs. GSXR's food supply.

    The time discussion is interesting. I think one reason everyone outsources, per maw's posts, is the perceived time savings. But that may well be borne of people trying to do too much. I know that I get a LOT of personal satisfaction (as I assume a lot of us do from fixing Benzes) from doing as much as I can myself on jobs, whether it be yard work, construction projects, plumbing and electrical work, and of course car work. But most folks are far too busy and harried (not to mention lacking skills/knowledge/tools) to say, finish their unfinished basement and make it into liveable space.

    Technology has made ALL of our lives far MORE complex and harried and full of busy-ness, when it was supposed to do the exact opposite. The only solution is to conscientiously simplify one's life, and you do that by cutting out as much as possible.

    The first and easiest thing that people can cut out, is social media. An absolute and total waste of time (I'm talking Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and the like). LinkedIn is somewhat excepted because it is career/professional-focused and is not as social-media-y and showoff-y as the former sites I mentioned.

    The second and next easiest thing that people can cut out of their lives, is Banzworld.org JUST KIDDING !!!!

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Gsxr- self sufficient? Great hunting and fishing up there in Idaho!

    It's an interesting thought on service economy.


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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    The first and easiest thing that people can cut out, is social media. An absolute and total waste of time (I'm talking Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and the like). LinkedIn is somewhat excepted because it is career/professional-focused and is not as social-media-y and showoff-y as the former sites I mentioned.
    ^^^ plus eleventybillion. I'm on LinkedIn as a career safety net, and nothing else besides a couple of these time-suck MB forums.



    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    The second and next easiest thing that people can cut out of their lives, is Banzworld.org JUST KIDDING !!!!
    I can tell from here your pants are on fire, Gerry. We all know you are not kidding. And I agree, btw, that BW has a pretty low S/N ratio. MB Whirled is pretty low as well, but 500Eboard does set the bar pretty high...

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    ^^^ plus eleventybillion. I'm on LinkedIn as a career safety net, and nothing else besides a couple of these time-suck MB forums.




    I can tell from here your pants are on fire, Gerry. We all know you are not kidding. And I agree, btw, that BW has a pretty low S/N ratio. MB Whirled is pretty low as well, but 500Eboard does set the bar pretty high...
    I was kind of thinking .... should we rename this site 500EWhirrled?

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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    I am probably in the tiny minority, but I've been actively trying to remain debt-free. This was primarily fueled by my employer's penchant for almost continuous layoffs from roughly 2002 through 2016 or so. I'd love a W212 E550 as a daily driver, but that would require debt, so the ol' 1992 400E keeps racking up the commute miles!
    Agree 10000000%. Personally speaking I loathe debt. I'm not debt-free per gsxr, but once the house is paid off, hopefully not much time left at all, I'll be happy as a clam ---- and my employer will be jlaa.

    Business-wise I can appreciate the gearing effect of debt. Especially for private equity. However, when running a small biz (as opposed to a big biz) where you are essentially the person in charge, and all decisions roll up to you ---- I find debt to cause a lot of stress and worry. Whereas in my youth I found much of life to be about accumulation, I find in my middle age that now life's focus is about reduction of worry.

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    Is outsourcing and doing things "as a service" always debt, though? I mean, you don't pay a monthly subscription for Uber ... you consume it as you need it. Other things, yes, like Microsoft Office, you subscribe to monthly or annually rather than having a box of Office DVDs that you actually OWN (but even then are not legally your property).

    More plainly said, what I think a lot of companies have been doing is finding ways to translate what they offer into recurring revenue streams, rather than pay once and you-own-it.
    I think Everything-as-a-service, you are right, is not exactly, debt, but what I was trying to articulate (clumsily) is that by packaging everything as a service, it precludes consumers from having to come up with a big lump sum all at once ---- and by spreading out smaller incremental payments to infinity, it allows people to live beyond their means, if you will.

    The problem is --- what happens when people get sick? What happens when people find that they are no longer able to generate the income that they once were able to generate? They can't live that lifestyle any more, and they don't own the underlying asset. Consuming everything as a service beholdens people to a lifetime of having to generate income to maintain that life they are used to ---- ouch.

    I would much rather pay off that Lexus IS350 and drive it for 10 years, rather that committing to endless lease payments --- but you and I think the same in that regard. Actually you know me, I'd rather forget the IS350 and drive a crap-can 10 year old beat Prius for another 10 years.
    ---
    1993 MB 500E
    1996 Porsche 993 C2

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  104. #60
    Zivil Ingenieur Maui's Avatar
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    Sep 2013
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    Re: The Future of todays NLA parts

    I couldn't agree more that debt is a ball and chain. It can make a person feel trapped. I'm glad to say my only debt is my Oregon home. My cars and my second home are all paid for. I have a ton of equity on my principal residence and it will probably go on the market in the next year or two and then we'll move to our place on Puget Sound. The only issue is that the Puget Sound home does not have a garage or a shop. I either have to build a shop or maybe find a small winter home in AZ with a garage in order to keep the car hobby alive. I'll be 62 in a couple weeks, so the retirement angel keeps whispering in my ear, but I'm having a tough time giving in.

    1992 500E
    1994 E500
    2011 E550 4Matic

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