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Thread: Future owner (?)... Looking for owner feedback

  1. #1
    Junior Member Dziner82's Avatar
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    Dec 2014

    Future owner (?)... Looking for owner feedback

    Hi All,
    I have been watching 500E/E500 prices online for about a year now and am really thinking about pulling the trigger on one in the next 6-8 months assuming a good one is on the market at that time.

    **disclaimer: i have read a lot about the maintenance and other potential with these cars, so im not coming in to ask about things that i could have just searched for (im experienced in automotive forums ) i truly want owners opinions and experiences relating to the posts i have below, this is more of a "life discussion" for me

    I currently own 3 cars:
    - 2007 Saturn Aura XR : 108k miles, paid off for over a year, in good shape, probably has 2-3 good years left in it at least, daily driver, insurance is cheap, i could part with this car if i had to but its saving me money now on insurance and no payment!
    - 2013 Chevy Cruze: leased vehicle, shared between me and my fiance, we needed something short term reliable and good on gas while she finished her college, which she now has, at the end of the lease (18 more months) what we do with this car is totally up to her)
    - 1999 Mercedes C43 AMG: bought it just over 2 years ago, 70k miles, VERY good shape, i owe $4k still on the loan i took for this car, will be paid off within a year at most. i use the car 90% of the time for autocross events and track days, most of the miles are DRIVING to those events, i would like to keep this car until i die or give to a future child

    I absolutely love the 500E, i wont wax poetic about that since im among like minded individuals here

    my issue is im not sure if it makes sense to buy that as my next car or not...
    my current position is that my next car needs to be 1 of the 2 following things (NOT both)
    1. a car that is better than the C43 at the track and autocross, lighter, more suspension options, more wheel tire options, more aftermarket and parts availability in general. then the C43 would become a fairweather DD for me to supplement the saturn.
    2. a car that i use basically as my daily driver and #1 car that i absolutely love. in which case i would just keep the C43 as my racing car but probably would need to sell or trade the saturn if i get a new DD.

    the 500E does not qualify for #1

    the 500E DOES qualify for #2,
    but if i got a 500E i would have to get rid of the saturn, it just does not make economical sense for me to have 3 sedans for myself, not to mention i only have a single car garage! also i cannot force the saturn on my fiance, and dont want to give her the C43
    the 500E is terrible on fuel i know, but as of right now i have a really short commute to my office, probably only about 300-400 miles a month including other social trips.

    the question is is daily driving the 500E something that you all would recommend? i have done the research about proper maintenance on this car, but i DO live in michigan (maybe not forever, who knows), unless i move to a new house with a bigger garage (not likely) i would have to drive the 500E in the winter. Im ok with winter driving, i have done it before with RWD in Michgan, ive lived here all my life, i would get snow wheels and tires. DO you guys feel that its a fair idea to do that or not?
    I know some poeple baby cars and keep them pristine, and some people say cars are meant to be driven so why 'garage' a great car... i would try to keep the car as nice as possible like my other cars, but just dont want to do it if other owners have tried and just dont like it or cant make it work or feel its bad for the eventual value of the car, etc.... again, im not in this for resale value.

    i would have the money to be able to do the scheduled maintenance and would plan on buying one that is in good shape with the necessary parts already replaced (delphi wiring harness, transmission maintenance performance regularly, good AC condenser, etc) if i bought a higher mileage one i could definitely make the economics of it work. if i bought one in the 150,000 mile ballpark i would need to make it last me at least to 220,000 miles without dumping money into it to have it make any economical sense.
    I dont have any kids currently, probably will in 2-3 years though.

    Just looking for honest opinions from other owners who know what this car is all about. I love cars and am willing to spend money for one i love, but at the same time i like to get value for my hard earned money and not just throw it away (used audi maintenence for example...)

    thanks for the time and opinions ,

  2. #2
    Site Admin
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    Glen's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
    Carlsbad, CA USA

    Re: Future owner (?)... Looking for owner feedback

    Welcome to the board, Alan. Daily driving a 500E is perfectly fine although I have no experience with it in a cold climate. I assume with proper tires and working ASR, it should be fine. Aside from that though, I don't think a 500E is the right car for you at this time. The newest of them is 20 years old and like any old car, it's hard to plan for the next repair item when you need it as a daily driver. In general they are reliable but my gut feeling is that you may get tired of the little things that need repair or replacement.

    If I were in your position, I would keep the C43 as the daily driver but leave it mostly stock. Sell the Saturn and get a dedicated race car, something like a Miata or S2000. JMO.
    '94 E500 (744) | '94 E500 (199)         Misc. snapshots

  3. #3
    E500E Guru maw1124's Avatar
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    May 2011
    FL & MI, USA

    Re: Future owner (?)... Looking for owner feedback

    I agree with Glen. The 500E does not fit the bill you are describing. I too grew up in Michigan. I own a 500E. It will never see Michigan. I know people in Michigan (and IL, OH, IN, PA) who own 500E's. They rarely drive them, especially not in winter. It's frankly too nice a car for winter duty in Northern states. Add to this that old cars are like old people and don't like cold weather, and the fact that a hand build car on bad roads doesn't sound like a winning proposition, and I think you have your answer.

    But you already answered it in your question. You want a car that's going to get you 70k trouble free miles (150k to 220k without dumping money into it). No 20 year old automobile fits that bill as far as I can tell. Finally, you don't have the garage space. I don't think you want either the C43 or (aghast!!) the 500E sitting outside in Michigan winters. From what you've described, I wouldn't submit either car to the treatment you have in mind.

    I would go and get a W211 E500 4Matic Estate for my daily, and keep the AMG toasty in the garage for summer track duty.

    Good luck,


  4. #4
    Junior Member Dziner82's Avatar
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    Dec 2014

    Re: Future owner (?)... Looking for owner feedback

    Thanks for the info glen. Appreciate the honesty.

    I have a list of more dedicated 'racing' cars I'm looking at if i don't go with a 500E, but I'm the kind of guy that has to have a car that ISNT what everyone else has... Which means no miata, no C5 corvette etc. But that's a different discussion for a different forum...

    Which is what makes my current situation a fun place to be in terms of options but also a tough place because im basically ruling out the supposed "perfect" cars for these purposes.

    The 500E essentially is just an older larger version of my C43, which is why I love it so much but at the same time makes having both hard to justify. As I said it would be different if 5 years from now I have a bigger garage and can afford 2 "collectors" cars.

    Hopefully I can get a few other opinions. I'm also taking into consideration that now is a good time to buy a 500E?? Assuming values on good ones will keep rising, and higher mileage ones risk being neglected.

  5. #5
    Junior Member Dziner82's Avatar
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    Dec 2014

    Re: Future owner (?)... Looking for owner feedback

    Thanks for more honest feedback.

    I was perhaps reading too much into people boasting about the build quality of these cars. I was hoping if you had the "problem issues" fixed on these cars then they would be able to survive Michigan roads and winters. But yea if you think the 500E would start to have multiple issues outside of normal maintenance then I would also maybe not go down that road.

    Was hoping to hear more owners chime in and say that they were built so well that with proper maintenance they could still log 6-8k miles a year in Michigan without being a money pit.... Anyone??


  6. #6
    Junior Member Dziner82's Avatar
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    Dec 2014

    Re: Future owner (?)... Looking for owner feedback

    I could solve the garage issue by paying to store the AMG somewhere else during the winter but I don't think that's the crux of the feedback thus far.

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