When Disneyland first opened, the attractions required purchased books of tickets for admission, the most popular of which demanded an ‘E' ticket to ride. Similarly, today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Mercedes 500 is an E-ticket to ride, but is it worth the price of admission?
I probably should have mentioned yesterday that I freakin' love Cortinas, having once had the opportunity to slip my skinny ass behind the wheel of a MKI Lotus-powered edition for a quick burn around town. They're just fun little cars with lots of performance potential out of either the Hethel Twin-cam or even the factory Kent four. It seemed a lot of you shared my affection for the little Fords as yesterday's 1968 Cortina GT four door drove away with a laudable 75% Nice Price win - third this week! - and some cockle-warming commentary platitudes.
You know what else I like? German V8s, that's what, especially when they are wedged into smallish cars like Sofia Vergara's curves in an Emmy dress. Go look that up, you can thank me later. And today we have one of the most famous meldings of compensatory V8 and mid-sizer from der Vaterland which is a 1992 Merceds Benz 500E a flare-fendered wolf in W124 sheep's clothing.
The whole idea of a muscle car - putting a big motor in a small car goes way back, but it took until 1990 for Mercedes get on the bandwagon. Actually what it took was the Swabians' observation of AMG's success - making their Deutsch mark on the performance sedan market - that caused benz to say vee gotta' get zum of dat - or something to that effect.
Mercedes went ahead and bought AMG, making the tri-breviated tuner the company's house heavy metal band. But before doing that, Benz turned to another German maker of performance product - Porsche - in cramming their M119 5-litre V8 into the tight confines of the W124's engine bay. In factuality that bay was too tight for the wide OHC V8 requiring Porsche to basically rebuild the front end to accommodate the motor. So extensive were the changes that it was impossible to build the 500E on the standard W124 assembly line, and so for all intents and purposes they were hand built, being shuttled between Porsche and Mercedes factories over the course of an 18-freaking day each build cycle.
You should be duly impressed.
Now let's see if this champagne colored 500E impresses at its $8,000 price. Said to sport only 97,000 miles and appearing free of major blemishes both inside and out, this ‘92 is, according to the KBB link provided in the ad, priced a good 25% below perceived market value. That should of course be taken with a Bonneville run's worth of salt, but it's at least a good base line.
The car does exhibit a few dings and dents in its flanks, but unlike many a W124 still on the road, it doesn't seem to have dropped any of its plastic rocker moldings or door bottom caps. It also sports a nose - hood, grille and lights - off of a later model, and therein lies the rub as this 500E also comes with a salvage title due to some shenanigans involving the hood and grille. Man, I could hear the collective Oh-the-Hell-no! from you all upon that revelation. It's like meeting the girl/guy of your dreams and then learning they're (insert political persuasion counter to your own).
But other than the title, this 322-bhp, sub six second zero to sixty sedan looks to be in good shape. The Recaro seats - front and rear - are dandy, and the dash and the interior styling has held up remarkably well. See if you can say that in 20 years about a current Benz.
So what do you think, is this 500E's price tag a big enough discount to make up for its salvage title consigning it to the open box bargain table? Or, is that too big a hurdle for even the most muscular of muscle cars to overcome?
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