Given Mercedes-Benz’s long history of manufacturing superlative vehicles, there are many possible classics in which to invest. In this article, I discuss a few considerations to keep in mind when you are interested in buying a piece of automotive history.
Be aware that buying a classic car is not as simple as buying a new car, and whether you maintain it yourself or pay a mechanic to do so, classic car maintenance will be much more involved than new car maintenance. Classic cars require more attention to detail during the buying process. You may also find the overall ownership experience is more costly.
If you are interested in buying a classic Mercedes-Benz as an investment, you must consider its potential appreciation in value. While the brand has produced its fair share of valuable classics, any future market value is a guessing game. Many collectors thus choose only popular or limited-run models.
Where to Find Classic Mercedes-Benz Models?
When looking for any classic car, you have choices:
- Classic Car Dealers. They are less prevalent than regular car dealers and rarely specialize in a single brand such as Mercedes-Benz. Because of a classic car dealer’s specialized knowledge and experience, however, the cars they put on the floor are likely to be better than average.
- Online Classifieds. Websites like BringATrailer specialize in listing interesting cars for car enthusiasts and can be used to research market values of recently sold cars.
- Car Meetups & Car Clubs. The pandemic interrupted many regularly-scheduled car shows and meetups. Many seem to be reconvening and searching the internet for a “car show near me” is an effective way to find events where you can meet like-minded enthusiasts. Additionally, be on the lookout for local Mercedes-Benz Club of America meetings in order to connect with sellers.
How Much Should You Pay?
Many factors impact the market value of a classic Mercedes Benz. The classic car market regularly fluctuates. Variables such as the year, options installed, mileage, and overall condition all play a role in establishing the price. Once you decide on a model, research it’s value by viewing the most recent “sold” listings on BringATrailer, auctions, eBay, or similar sites.
With decades of wear on the body and engine, parts will inevitably need to be replaced. Make sure to keep these costs in mind when making an offer. Consulting with mechanics or current owners of similar cars can provide great insights.
What To Do Before Buying
There are three actions you must take before buying a classic Mercedes-Benz, but it is arguable as to which should come first:
- Request the maintenance records for the car.
- These records log all work done to the car, providing to you an idea of how meticulous previous owner(s) was (were)
- If you are interested in a model built after 1981, the vehicle’s CarFax Report also contains general records
- Retain a certified mechanic / third party expert to compile a list of deficiencies. If the car was not properly maintained, mechanical issues may arise and can be costly and annoying
- Take the car for a test drive.
- Even a short test drive can bring to light possible problems with the engine/drivetrain or suspension