By all appearances, the complicated convertible hard top on today’s Nice Price or No Dice SLK seems to work as it should. The same can’t be said for the fuel system, however, making it a tow-away with a bargain price tag. Let’s see if it’s really worth breaking out the wrenches.
Michael Cera has made a career out of playing pretty much the same quirkily-endearing sort of character in all of his movies. Part of the “Michael Cera character” is expressed in the type of car he drives, which is typically a small quirky hatchback of questionable reliability. In Superbad, Cera’s character drove a Geo Metro. In Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist he drove a Yugo. Indeed, is there a more Michael Cera car out there than the Yugo?
Maybe it was Cera who bought yesterday’s 1988 Yugo GVL off of Facebook Marketplace? We’ll perhaps never know, but it’s likely that the actor’s residuals could have funded that Yugo’s $8,000 asking price. It must have sold close to that since the ad was pulled while we were still tallying our votes. Those, by the way, ended up in an 82 percent No Dice loss.
This 1999 Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 is being sold as a mechanic’s special owing to its non-running status, but it still seems to be able to do the origami folding top thing so that mechanic might still get lucky.
According to the very brief explanation in the ad, the issue at hand is a failed fuel pump for the car’s 2.3-liter supercharged four. There are a number of other, aesthetic issues on the car, but the mechanical malady is its most daunting.
If the non-running issue really is just a bum fuel pump then all that’s needed is a new pump, which is about one hundred bucks, plus an hour or so of laying in the blissful shade under the car to install it.
Of course, the problem with that assumption is relying on the seller’s diagnosis of the fault. What if it’s not the fuel pump that has turned the car into lawn art? What if it’s the fuel regulator or the injectors? Or worse, what if the problem is the manifestation of an electrical gremlin that has taken up residence in the little convertible car? The true problem could be time-consuming and hence expensive to diagnose and solve.
For that to make sense, the rest of the car better be worth it. This little Benz looks to be reasonably solid aside from its stationary situation. It comes in Firemist Red, with the paint losing its clear coat despite the protective layer of dust that covers the car. The headlamps are yellowing which contributes in giving the car an overall un-cared-for appearance. Those lenses could be brought back to life with a little effort, though.
An additional sour spot is the rear badging, which is missing the “0” in the SLK 230 nameplate. Again, not a big deal, but a contributing factor in the car’s overall ratchet appearance. The dent just ahead of the fuel filler door might be a problem, though.
Inside, things are just as dusty as the outside. It looks like the car has been stored either with the top down or the windows cracked. We don’t get to see much of the upholstery, although the passenger seat is wearing a cover and that rarely bodes well in a car that shows other evidence of wear. There are 185,000 miles on the clock and, on the plus side, the car comes with a clean Nevada title.
Buying this SLK is a lot like buying an abandoned storage unit, just like they do on that TV show Auction Hunters. You really don’t know what you’re going to get until it’s too late to turn back.
Such a leap of faith demands a commensurately low price of entry. The asking price for this Benz is $1,650, which admittedly is less than half what one might rightfully expect to pay for a runner with similar tidying needs.
What do you think? Is this SLK worth that leap and that $1,650 asking? Or, does it seem like dropping the top will only open up a pit of despair at any price?
H/T to RevUnlimiter for the hookup!
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