With used car prices having set up shop in crazytown, it’s hard to find a deal, especially on a car or truck that has collector potential. Today’s Nice Price or No Dice ML320 may have that potential, and we’ll have to decide if its price tag makes it a potent deal.
The good thing about living under a communist government is that you rarely have to worry about buying something only to have the company that produced it go out of business due to the pressures of the “free market,” making repairs neigh-on impossible. The bad thing about living under a communist government is pretty much every other aspect.
We can lay blame for Saab going out of business squarely at the feet of that free-market economy. The small Swedish carmaker long ago sold its operations to the American conglomerate General Motors and when the economy started sinking in 2005, GM started throwing unprofitable divisions overboard. Saab was one of those unlucky divisions, getting the ax in 2011. Its closure has since left a small number of cool cars up in the air. The 2008 Saab 9-3 SportCombi we looked at last Friday is one such cool car. The problem with owning a cool Saab is that parts availability is not so cool, as was pointed out by a number of you in the comments. With a $7,200 asking, that stick-shift-equipped wagon was appealing enough for the majority of you to recommend taking the parts paucity plunge. The result was a solid 69 percent Nice Price win. Take that, communism!
Do you often feel like you’re a day late and a dollar short? Let us know, did you only hear about GameStop stock surge after it had already ebbed back to life support level? Are you just now getting on TicTok with the tweens? If so, get off there, that’s creepy.
It doesn’t have to be that way, and I’m here to share with you a little tip about an opportunity that you can get in on before everyone else. You might even be able to make a little money out of it.
Now, this is just between us, ok? I don’t want this to get out there, so keep it to yourselves. Are you ready? Lean in. The next big collector car could very well be the OG Mercedes-Benz ML320.
That’s right. We may have all missed out on Porsches and Miatas before their prices took off. And, don’t even get me started on Ferraris. Even other cool Mercedes models like the R107 that once were pretty good deals have now spiraled up in perceived value and hence price. Not the ML320, however. They’re still dirt cheap, despite the fact that they are pretty dang cool.
Think about Mercedes’ intentions with the ML. Initially, the company had a two-fold plan for the truck. The first was for it to replace the long in the tooth and agrarian Geländewagen. The second was to tap into the manic demand the American car market had developed for mid-sized SUVs like the Ford Explorer. If you take a look around you’ll note that Mercedes failed on the first count, but by making the ML a capable off-roader while reducing costs by lowering other quality aspects and building it in America, they were wildly successful in the latter. Mercedes sold a lot of ML models over the years despite the original truck looking a bit like an Oompa-Loompa from certain angles.
Because so many have hit the streets, and since newer models are still available, prices on the first-generation trucks have nose-dived to where they are about the cheapest body-on-frame 4X4s money can buy. There are a ton of them on the market right now for around four or five grand. This 1998 ML320 asks almost have that.
This truck looks pretty good for its age too. It sports an eye-popping 250,000 miles but the ad notes that the M112 V6 under the hood is a relief pitcher and carries only 125K on its shoulders. Per the ad’s description, there has been plenty of work undertaken on the truck recently, including motor mounts, pads and rotors, a new battery, and almost all the fluids.
The seller claims to be a Mercedes Tech and says the truck was being prepared for a family member to drive, but it turned out to be unneeded, which put the truck on the market. Both the body and interior appear to be in excellent shape as do the chunky factory alloy wheels. As a cost-cutting measure, Mercedes built the ML’s interiors out of fairly cheap plastic but, again as a nod to the truck’s primary market, America, there are commodious cupholders front and rear.
The title is clean and the truck wears current tags. On the downside, while the seller initially claims there to be no warning lights on the dash, they close the ad by noting that a CEL came up while a prospective buyer was taking the truck for a test drive. According to the seller, that mystery will be Scooby-solved before any sale.
As I said at the outset, I think these are wildly undervalued at the moment. This one asks a mere $2,800. For that, you get a very capable on- and off-road truck with full-time AWD and a low range for when the going gets tough. These are also reasonably roomy and while chintzy in certain ways, you still do see these things doing remarkably high miles. If you don’t believe me about the ML being on the cusp of greatness, just look at what has happened to values on the original Range Rover of late. The hell with that, look at prices on pretty much anything else right now!
Of course, what matters at the moment is your opinion. After all, that’s what we’re here for. What do you think, is this ML worth that $2,800 asking as it sits, even if it’s not as an investment? Or, is even that modest asking out of line?
H/T to J R for the hookup!
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