You could call today’s Nice Price or No Dice E300 diesel the FRYBRID owing to it having that company’s waste vegetable oil fuel conversion. Let’s see if the price tag is just as clever.
I see Jay Leno around a lot of the same car events I attend. It’s pretty much expected since we both live in the LA area and, well, we both like cars. Jay can never spend much time at these events since he inevitably gets mobbed by people. These status-seekers glom on, in the hope that some of Jay’s celebrity might just rub off on them. That’s to be expected, but being at the center of a crowd of fame-sucking strangers can be fatiguing. I don’t actually feel sorry for Jay having to live with this annoyance — he chose this life, after all — but I don’t envy him the existence. What I do envy is his bank account.
The 1999 BMW 540i we looked at yesterday sought to capture a bit of the celebrity of its M5 brother by wearing that car’s bumper caps and wheels. At $6,000, the 540i wasn’t anywhere near an M5 in price, though, a factor that a lot of you celebrated in the comments and which was reflected in the car’s 87 percent Nice Price win. Maybe this whole celebrity-proximity thing has its benefits?
BMW has long positioned its products as being “the ultimate driving machine.” The company’s Stuttgart rivals, Mercedes-Benz took a different tack, offering cars with build quality that took preference over performance. It’s not quite that way today (thanks, Lexus) but when Mercedes was crafting cars like this 1995 E300 diesel, that certainly was the case.
This OM606-powered sedan extends that expected longevity with a Frybrid waste vegetable oil (WVO) system. What that means is that well after the last fossil fuels have been lapped up by the greedy hordes, the 3 liter six will still be able to putter around on the dregs of fast food establishments and the squeezings from cast-off Stridex pads.
Engines can’t run on WVO cold, so this Benz still has its diesel tank and fuel system intact. The Frybrid add-on is smart enough, however, to know when the big six has warmed up enough and then switches over automatically.
Along with the dual-fuel system, the ad says this W124 comes with a tow bar and a good bit of preventative maintenance under the hood. That includes new filters for the factory fuel system and the four-speed automatic. Along with those updates, the car also has new glow plugs and vacuum hoses — remember, Mercedes used to love vacuum hoses.
The rest of the car looks solid, although not pristine, with the seller saying the car is “not in mint condition, but reasonably ok for its age and mileage. Interior bit worn.” That wear in the interior is most evident in the upholstery on the front bucket seats. That’s likely a leather-covering rather than MB-Tex since the latter is typically indestructible.
A few other cabin issues to note are an aftermarket stereo and some odd buttons and knobs on the console. The latter is likely part of the WVO system so we can cut some slack there. Space in the boot is compromised by the vegi-oil tank, but there’s still room in there for groceries and the spare.
Outside, the bodywork looks decent, although the chrome mirror caps and C-pillar trim does look a bit out of place. On the plus side, the factory alloys look right at home underneath.
As I noted at the outset, Mercedes built the W124 to stand the test of time. That’s especially so of the diesel models, even if the OM606 isn’t quite as bulletproof as its predecessors. This one has done an amazing 255,000 miles, a feat that is not plainly evident by the engine bay, which appears remarkably clean. Yes, there are some additional hoses and wires wending around the big six, but it all looks reasonably tidy and the seller claims the whole thing “runs great.” The title is clean and the price is $3,500.
Now, it should be noted that, when it was available, the Frybird conversion kit alone would have set you back around $1,600, and that’s not including installation. This one is ready to go and seemingly well sorted. Top that off with a pair of seats off of eBay, and it’s probably good for another quarter-million miles or more. And most of those miles can be made with the car smelling like French fries.
What do you think, does that seem like a compelling package for that $3,500 asking? Or, does that price put this dual-fuel Benz in a singularly bad place?
Pensacola, Florida, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.
H/T to Velvet Elvis for the hookup!
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