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Thread: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

  1. #1
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    WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Hello,

    Looking to acquire one of these hot rods. Budget is sub $20K for a nice car. Some miles are ok(not much over 100k would be preferred), some deferred maintenance is ok as well.

    Would love to buy one from an owner that knows the car, not a flipper. I see several have sold in the $15K range only to be now advertised for over $20K in the same condition by flippers. I will consider any and all cars though, as these can be hard to come by. Any color is fine, except for green. Also, the car needs to be rust free.

    Looking for 1994 cars only at this time (prefer the look). Not in a hurry to buy but could buy today if the right car comes along. Cash in hand. Willing to travel nationwide.

    PM or email me at bmwe36@gmail.com if you know of someone or have one for sale.

    Thanks again and I look forward to joining the club.

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    What you are describing is a $35-45K car in today's market.

    I think you're about 2-3 years too late to find a good one for sub $20K.

    $0.02


    EDIT: Further, limiting your search to facelifted cars is going to be another significant handicap.

    Check here for production numbers:
    https://www.500eboard.com/forums/wik...on-Data&page=5
    Last edited by ace10; 4 Weeks Ago at 08:50 AM.
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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Cant get there too picky lol
    1993 500E
    1994 E320 cabriolet

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    At that price point, for a good car you should look at cars that are well over 100k miles. Interiors on these cars hold up really well so a higher miler can still look good.

    Exterior is all about how it was stored, washed etc. If it's a lower mile car that was parked outside and not washed, it will look worse than a high miler that was taken care of.

    Mechanically, these cars don't "wear out" with use. Actually, it's sort of the opposite to that. This is a big generalization, but driven cars will often be better than cars that sit. The engines don't need to be rebuilt after 100kmi or so like those on other high performance German cars of the day.

    Also consider cars with salvage or rebuilt title. That doesn't necessarily mean the frame is bent etc. These cars had low book value for a while so relatively minor incidents could have caused the car to be written off by the insurance company. But, for these cars, a good inspection is key.

    Good luck!

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Almost anything rust-free under $20k is going to have other issues, either cosmetic or mechanical, and/or a salvage/rebuilt title. And almost all will have far above 100k on the odometer. Ace is correct, your criteria isn't well aligned with your budget. Don't forget the standard ±$5k in deferred maintenance on almost any 036 purchase that doesn't come from Jono or Klink.

    I think this is about the only current one I can think of, that might work for ya... recent price drop under $20k, apparently the seller is motivated to move it:

    https://www.500eboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11615

    There's also a pair of smoke silver E500's from the same seller in NJ, also at $19k, but with higher miles. If none of these float your boat, the right car may come along, but killer deals usually sell within hours... meaning, you need to check for new listings daily.


    Good luck with your search!

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Well there were several sold in the mid teens just this past year alone, and a few for sale now that are in that price range, so they are out there. I'd hate to buy from a flipper though. May not be easy to find one, and that's ok. 100k+ miles is fine as well. Deferred maintenance is fine, i can fix stuff as i go along.

    I figured I'd post here to see if anyone knows of any that are out there, aside from ebay and craigslist today.

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    The Maine car is probably the closest one I can think of...

    120K miles
    $24K Ask
    1992

    Full records. And a PPI showing some needs.
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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    your flippers tend to sell at huge premiums, sometimes flipper to flipper lol. And the $5k is now more like $7,500, even higher if you do not do your own work (most of it is logical wrenching) Most expensive car you will ever own is a cheap Mercedes (especially the limited production special 036)
    1994 E500
    249/275 - 8F19 or 8F32 or 8320

    1991 560 SEC
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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Quote Originally Posted by lawrence1 View Post
    Well there were several sold in the mid teens just this past year alone, and a few for sale now that are in that price range, so they are out there. I'd hate to buy from a flipper though. May not be easy to find one, and that's ok. 100k+ miles is fine as well. Deferred maintenance is fine, i can fix stuff as i go along.

    I figured I'd post here to see if anyone knows of any that are out there, aside from ebay and craigslist today.

    The market exploded over the past twelve months. And that's not being hyperbolic. I can point to plenty of cars from 2017 which would be viewed as screaming deals today. Go back to 2016 and it would be even more dramatic.

    I wish you the very best in your search.
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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Quote Originally Posted by lawrence1 View Post
    Well there were several sold in the mid teens just this past year alone, and a few for sale now that are in that price range, so they are out there.
    Do you have links to the ones that sold this year for mid-teens? Usually, as mentioned previously, anything in that ballpark has significant issues.

    eBay, Craigslist, AutoTrader, etc are the usual places to find this stuff. BaT, Mecum, etc will have all the top-dollar stuff.


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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Saw this one. Seller isn't too motivated. Car will probably need a repaint, plus a lot of work and is clear accross the country from me. He says only one side has clear coat issues but it's a FL car and the rest of it is likely not far behind. Impossible to match that side well on a 1994 chanmagne colored car. The mechanical work is not a big deal to me, and given their age, is one of the reasons i won't spend more than $20k to buy one. They all need work, regardless of mileage and how nice they are. Factoring in a quality re spray makes it a non starter though, at least at that price. At $14-16K I would buy it, but he says that's too low. Search goes on.

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Quote Originally Posted by lawrence1 View Post
    Well there were several sold in the mid teens just this past year alone, and a few for sale now that are in that price range, so they are out there. I'd hate to buy from a flipper though. May not be easy to find one, and that's ok. 100k+ miles is fine as well. Deferred maintenance is fine, i can fix stuff as i go along.
    Keep in mind that we have seen cars supposedly sell on eBay for <$20K but then get relisted (and by the same seller who is a flipper). Here is the thread discussing one: https://www.500eboard.com/forums/sho...837#post173837

    Keep in mind, the $5K standard of deferred maintenance is an average you should expect and could well push into $10K quickly.

    Good luck!


    Robert

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    They are all on this forum. The last 3 or 4 '94 cars all sold in the mid teens and are now being flipped for $20k+. Sure they all have needs ... They all do. Thats why I'm not keen on paying $30k for one since that will need work also. I'd rather get in at a lower cost and do the work myself. I'm planning to drive the car so buying a low mileage one doesn't make a lot of sense for me. They are out there, just need to be patient.

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Another thing to take note of is part supply. Sure, for the most part you can find parts for these cars, but it can be quite a search at times on ebay, scrapyards and such. If this is not your idea of fun, then I would steer clear. This is coming from a 6.9 owner so take that as you wish

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Bottom line is that you're not going to find ANYTHING decent for under $30K. If you buy a $20-25K car, it's going to have well over 100K miles on it (likely pushing 200K) and it's going to have $10-15K of deferred maintenance.

    You may as well just spend the $30K up front and get a car that will have fewer ($5K deferred maintenance) needs.

    Finding even a half-way decent car for $20K and under these days is next to impossible. It's going to be a unicorn. Five years ago, sure. Now, fageddaboutit.

    You can't ball on a budget with these cars, particularly if you want a decent one. You pay the money up front.

    Also....your ownership experience is directly proportional to the amount of money you acquire the car for. You pay more up front, you have a MUCH happier experience with a car that runs the way they were designed to run from the factory.

    You spend $15-20K, and you buy a car that has major needs and will take that amount of money to bring right. Save yourself $10K, spend $30K up front on a good car, and be happy.

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Quote Originally Posted by Ntrepid View Post
    Keep in mind, the $5K standard of deferred maintenance is an average you should expect and could well push into $10K quickly.
    If the car has less than 100K miles on it, the deferred maintenance is $5k+

    If the car has more than 100K miles on it, the deferred maintenance is $10K+

    People balk at this, but it's proven true in dozens of cases with owners on this forum.

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    Bottom line is that you're not going to find ANYTHING decent for under $30K. If you buy a $20-25K car, it's going to have well over 100K miles on it (likely pushing 200K) and it's going to have $10-15K of deferred maintenance.

    You may as well just spend the $30K up front and get a car that will have fewer ($5K deferred maintenance) needs.

    Finding even a half-way decent car for $20K and under these days is next to impossible. It's going to be a unicorn. Five years ago, sure. Now, fageddaboutit.

    You can't ball on a budget with these cars, particularly if you want a decent one. You pay the money up front.

    Also....your ownership experience is directly proportional to the amount of money you acquire the car for. You pay more up front, you have a MUCH happier experience with a car that runs the way they were designed to run from the factory.

    You spend $15-20K, and you buy a car that has major needs and will take that amount of money to bring right. Save yourself $10K, spend $30K up front on a good car, and be happy.
    I hope I can prove you wrong appreciate the input.

    Let me know if anyone sees one come up for sale within range of my budget.

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Quote Originally Posted by lawrence1 View Post
    I figured I'd post here to see if anyone knows of any that are out there, aside from ebay and craigslist today.
    All cars in the US that are known for sale, are listed by members who spot them on this forum. Check the CARS FOR SALE sub-forum daily for new cars, and new commentary from our expert band of nit-pickers.

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    That's fine, 100-150k miles is acceptable. The car will get what it needs, just looking for an entry price that is on the lower range of the spectrum.

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    All cars in the US that are known for sale, are listed by members who spot them on this forum. Check the CARS FOR SALE sub-forum daily for new cars, and new commentary from our expert band of nit-pickers.
    Yes, sir. I'll definitely be checking here daily.

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Quote Originally Posted by lawrence1 View Post
    I hope I can prove you wrong appreciate the input.
    Well, 16+ years as an owner of my E500, 9.9 years as owner/operator of this forum, and 20+ years as an owner of limited-production esoteric V-8 Benz sedans .... I won't be proven wrong.

    Patience is the name of the game, and having cash in hand to instantly jump on the right car when it comes up. Unicorn deals do turn up once a year or so, but they are rare. Most all cars by now have been listed and vetted on this forum, so it's easy to follow their history and collective nit-picker history from members here.

    $20K used to be all the money for an E500E, but those days are long gone. $30K is the new starting point, and $40K is where the real sweet spot is for cars that used to be in the $20K range. IMHO anything much below $15K is a rolling parts donator to help keep the rest of our cars on the road. $8-10K and below in today's market is a wrecked/salvage car that is only good for parts.

    By the way, this thread was posted in the "CARS FOR SALE" sub-forum.

    We have a "WANTED TO BUY" sub-forum for just that purpose.

    I have moved this thread to the correct sub-forum.

    We seem to have, of late, a spate of people posting threads in wrong sub-forum and/or random sub-forums.

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K


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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    You're not wrong, but I'll hold out and try to look for a deal. I'll keep you all posted on how this turns out. In the mean time, I'll be checking here frequently.

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    I bought my 1994 E500 with 143k miles for $19k, but in December of 2015! And do all the work myself except for the engine out service to fix timing belt guide rails and other while you are in there items, and definitely hit the $10k mark to get the car right. I am approaching 175k miles and still collecting parts. Next up is front suspension drag link. Original bits on the car are failing here and there but at 175k miles that is expected. Just hoping some NLA item doesn't crap out on me. Blower motor is clearly on its end of life zone and hope it makes it to 200k. Good luck in your search and keep us posted.
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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Quote Originally Posted by RicardoD View Post
    I bought my 1994 E500 with 143k miles for $19k, but in December of 2015! And do all the work myself except for the engine out service to fix timing belt guide rails and other while you are in there items, and definitely hit the $10k mark to get the car right. I am approaching 175k miles and still collecting parts. Next up is front suspension drag link. Original bits on the car are failing here and there but at 175k miles that is expected. Just hoping some NLA item doesn't crap out on me. Blower motor is clearly on its end of life zone and hope it makes it to 200k. Good luck in your search and keep us posted.
    Great input! thank you.

    I am in Sacramento so not too far from you. Keep an eye and ear out for me in the Bay Area and shoot me an email if you hear of anything or anyone thinking about selling. Looking forward to hopefully joining the ranks!

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Quote Originally Posted by lawrence1 View Post
    Saw this one. Seller isn't too motivated. Car will probably need a repaint, plus a lot of work and is clear accross the country from me. He says only one side has clear coat issues but it's a FL car and the rest of it is likely not far behind. Impossible to match that side well on a 1994 chanmagne colored car. The mechanical work is not a big deal to me, and given their age, is one of the reasons i won't spend more than $20k to buy one. They all need work, regardless of mileage and how nice they are. Factoring in a quality re spray makes it a non starter though, at least at that price. At $14-16K I would buy it, but he says that's too low. Search goes on.

    Aww Lawrence... I feel for you buddy. I'm in the same boat... realizing the value of these things at just about the same time everyone else did.

    I'll keep up hope for you (and myself ) , but your reply above validates everyone else's response thus far. Your expectations and price point are not in alignment in the current market. Let us know how it goes!

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Quote Originally Posted by lawrence1 View Post
    That's fine, 100-150k miles is acceptable. The car will get what it needs, just looking for an entry price that is on the lower range of the spectrum.
    I think we understand. That 150k mile, well kept car was around $15k when I was looking back in 2010-2011.

    That price has approximately doubled since then, as I've watched and paid keen attention. And those weren't even facelift cars.

    These days, that 150k miler, '94 for under $20k is not well cared for. And that's where the extra $10k-$15k comes in.

    Happy Hunting, but don't hold your breath while you do so.

    Cheers,

    maw

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Quote Originally Posted by daantjie View Post
    Yes, that is a great example of spending 18K in 2016 on a car that is a "Good Deal" and then spending 38K on deferred maintenance.
    Those of us that are smitten with the E500E understand this completely --- that's not unusual.

    In 2016 I spent high 30s on my own car - a 1993 500E with 64K miles, and by now I probably have another $12K+ into it. Maybe more. I don't really want to keep track as it would decrease my enjoyment of my hobby (this is not a business for me!) At my level of commitment, it is good enough to place 3rd place in my class at Legends of the Autobahn in Monterey, but no better. And there are cars out there that are better!

    I know, lawrence1, that you are willing to put in the sweat equity to address deferred maintenance -- may I submit that any car that comes with tons of deferred maintenance will also include lots of imperfections that are not maintenance related that cost $$$$ to make right?

    For example, if you buy a car with cracked / screeched interior wood ---- figure that's at least $1K USD to make right.

    If you buy a car with a falling down headliner ---- figure that at least $700 to make right. Maybe more since you are in NorCal.
    If you buy a car with leather that needs to be replaced - figure at least $1K per seat for a professional to do a professional job with the right steaming / stretching / etc.
    If you buy a car that needs any kind of paint work --- that is of course $$$$$$

    If you buy a car that is from a humid area that has the dreaded dot matrix disease on the instrument cluster, figure a few hundred $$ in time /effort / parts in searching for the right cluster housing at a pick'n'pull to swap the gauges into.

    If you buy any car, figure there is a 50% chance that there is corrosion in the battery well in the trunk *under* the metal battery tray. This would be exceptionally expensive to make right as that sheetmetal is NLA and is unique to the 500E variant of the w124.

    There are lots of examples of stuff like this.
    ---
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  57. #29
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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Believe me, those are all factors i'm considering. This is why i think having this conversation is valuable, even if most people doubt what I'm trying to accomplish is doable. No worries, I'm aware of the challenges.

    I've owned many performance cars, mostly German, over the years and know they all have needs ($$$$$) as they age. That said, I do not need a concourse quality car, so while I need it to be nice, it doesn't have to be perfect. I'm going to drive it so a scratch and ding here and there, or a scratched/cracked wood trim piece are not going to drive me too crazy. As for putting money into the car after purchase, that is fully expected. Obviously, a 1994 vintage car is 24 years old now ... yes it will need work. They all do, whether you pay $15K or $40K. My immediate concern is buying one for less up front, so that if i dump $15K into it over the next couple of years, i don't feel too bad, AND I know the work was done correctly and to my standards.

    What is motivating me to look for a deal even more is that I tried to make a deal on a E500 back in 2011 or 2012 ... can't remember but somewhere around there. I think the guy was asking $13K and I wanted to pay $11K. 110K mile car, very clean but needed a wiring harness and a few other things. It was owned by a 80+ year old Bay area real estate big shot who had it since 9k miles. His assistant was handling the sale. In hindsight, i am kicking myself for not paying the $2K more and just buying it. Those were different times though, and money was a bit tighter. Heck the car sat on the market for several months before it sold, even at that price. We'll see where this goes

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  59. #30
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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    nice discussion....
    I am holding on to My 1995 E320 just to be in the W124 club...and even spending $$$ on it every months seems expensive

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  61. #31
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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Quote Originally Posted by lawrence1 View Post
    ... i am kicking myself for not paying the $2K more and just buying it. Those were different times though, and money was a bit tighter. Heck the car sat on the market for several months before it sold, even at that price. We'll see where this goes
    I think what you are hearing here is that $2K difference in expectation has now grown to ~$10K ..... you may be replaying the same movie, just with a bigger differential.

    I hope you do find a decent/nice condition '94 E500 with ~100K miles for $20K, but that will be *very difficult*. Good luck and check this forum regularly, you will see most of the decent ones that come up.

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  63. #32
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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Hi Lawrence1,

    I just spoke with my neighbor up the block. His is a 1992 or 93 Black Pearl car. He has been half-heartedly thinking about selling it since July. He recently had a total repaint so that the exterior is quite nice looking. The interior is not pristine but also not trashed. He used to drive it pretty regularly but there is probably some deferred maintenance. He will sell it for a price in the teens. If this interests you, please PM me your email and other info and I will make email introductions. This is in SF.

    PS - note - I do not have any financial interest in this car and I am not vouching for the quality of the car --- I am only informing folks here of what I have observed and I am offering to make a connection.

    Cheers.
    Last edited by Jlaa; 4 Weeks Ago at 07:13 PM.
    ---
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  65. #33
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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    If I didn't love these things so much, I would let go of one of the three. . . they all have different personalities and driving characteristics.

    Each one feels "new to me" because I rotate driving them with the C126s and have a short memory.
    Trae
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  67. #34
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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Jlaa i sent you a PM.

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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    BTW — who here remembers Steven-Cubed? Wasn’t he all set to spend like almost 90K on a car.....buuuuuuuuuuttttt...... just had to delay a little bit to manage the pocket book? I feel like this thread is the total opposite of that!



    Maybe S3 will show up soon with his unicorn!
    ---
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  71. #36
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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Triple-Steven .... ah yes. I called him out as he was always a half-jump from buying that unicorn car. That was amusing. Seen it all before.

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  73. #37
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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Quote Originally Posted by Jlaa View Post
    BTW — who here remembers Steven-Cubed? Wasn’t he all set to spend like almost 90K on a car.....buuuuuuuuuuttttt...... just had to delay a little bit to manage the pocket book? I feel like this thread is the total opposite of that! Maybe S3 will show up soon with his unicorn!
    I was wondering what happened to him! My guess is either he changed his mind and is not shopping for an 036 anymore, OR he bought something and is back in lurk mode.


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  75. #38
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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    I can't recall that- has anyone got a link to the Steven cubed thread(s)?
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    1994 320CE Sportline | 1997 w140 S280 | 2007 w211 E220CDI

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  77. #39
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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Quote Originally Posted by JC220 View Post
    I can't recall that- has anyone got a link to the Steven cubed thread(s)?
    I think it starts around here: https://www.500eboard.com/forums/sho...l=1#post159106 I hope Steven Cubed finds and gets what he's looking for. The want is real.
    ---
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  79. #40
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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    I think we lost him.

    Steven-Cubed ... RIP.


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  81. #41
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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    When I was looking (almost 2years ago) I was also looking in the ‘entry level’ range. I think it was around 10-15k. I quickly found out a decent sorted car was not available at that price point.

    I ended up spending way over twice my budget for a well taken care of and sorted car. I probably put in another $3k in fixing little things (myself so free labor).

    It’s worth the extra investment to find a well sorted car. these are not Fords and parts are not “ford” cheap or availiable. parts are expensive and some are NLA. This site is a great resource for finding those parts when available.

    Good luck in the search!
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  83. #42
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    Re: WTB: 1994 E500 under $20K

    Quote Originally Posted by ZombieBranz View Post
    When I was looking (almost 2years ago) I was also looking in the ‘entry level’ range. I think it was around 10-15k. I quickly found out a decent sorted car was not available at that price point.

    I ended up spending way over twice my budget for a well taken care of and sorted car. I probably put in another $3k in fixing little things (myself so free labor).

    It’s worth the extra investment to find a well sorted car. these are not Fords and parts are not “ford” cheap or availiable. parts are expensive and some are NLA. This site is a great resource for finding those parts when available.

    Good luck in the search!
    Thank you for confirming my previous posts, Zomb! It's just not worth the mental time and anguish to hassle with a sub-par car. You just can not ball on a budget with these cars -- less so today that at any time in the past 10 years !!

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