Today’s Nice Price or No Dice 500E has two parents — Mercedes-Benz and Porsche — who jointly engineered and built this special model. Let’s see if this rare German hot rod’s price makes you seriously consider an adoption.
I noticed a prevalent theme while perusing the comments on yesterday’s 1995 Callaway Camaro. That was begrudging respect for the car and its creator, coated in a caveat posited by many of you that it “wasn’t your cup of tea.” That got me puzzling over the question of whether Camaro owners are, by nature, tea drinkers. I’m going to go with a hard no, which not surprisingly, was also the response received by the Callaway’s $9,900 price tag. That earned a decisive 64 percent No Dice loss.
When you think “German hot rod,” those thoughts most likely swirl around Mercedes-Benz and the executive saloons into which the company has shoehorned some pretty burly engines. Of course, it wasn’t always the case that Mercedes could go it alone in such endeavors. Take, for instance, this 1992 Mercedes-Benz 500E. This model is the spiritual successor to the AMG Hammer, an aftermarket tuner car that, while not Mercedes’ first hot rod, is probably its best known.
When Mercedes decided to squeeze a brawny V8 engine under the hood of the W124 themselves, they enlisted Porsche to help them make it fit. The placement of the 5-liter M119 V8 required a unique forward structure to carry the pony-rich engine. That, and wider front fender flares that couldn’t fit through the standard W124 assembly line, demanded multiple trips between the Mercedes Sindelfingen plant and Porsche’s Rössle Bau factory to complete the model’s construction. Along the way, the cars gained the 322-horsepower V8, along with a four-speed automatic transmission along with upgraded brakes and suspension, all derived from the R129 SL roadster.
This one, in Silver over Dove Gray, is presented not on a street corner nor in front of a stack of industrial park dumpsters as is common in Craigslist ads. Instead, it’s set against a neutral background in what appears to be the belly of an alien spacecraft. The roll-up door is a dead giveaway.
This is how you present a car if you want to ask more than mere chicken feed for its purchase, as it literally shows the car in the best light. Here that reveals a decent body exhibiting only minor issues in its paint and plastic. It’s not perfect, but it looks damn good nonetheless. There are 150,000 miles on the car, and those are evident in some peppering on the nose and a few chips here and there. There doesn’t seem to be anything that a good detailer couldn’t rectify, but keep that it in mind when contemplating the price.
The interior is dramatic and exceedingly clean. Mercedes’ interior styling and ergonomics of this era were among the best, and the W124 as a whole has aged wonderfully. This car comes with a weird square-sided aftermarket steering wheel seen in a few of the pics. The original round factory version comes with the car as well, just in case you’re too weirded out by the flat top and bottom of the add-on one. The leather looks great here, as does the wood trim and surrounding plastics. I’ll bet those seats are comfy too.
The car not only has the looks, but it also has the history. The seller claims to have all the books and records from day one, including the dealer-stamped service booklet. Along with that documented maintenance, this 500E has enjoyed a refreshed suspension and brakes as well as a replacement of the engine electrical harness. The latter is a well-known problem on these cars due to insulation issues.
The aftermarket wheels shown in the photos are likely an acquired taste, but like the steering wheel, you’d get the originals along with the purchase. A clean title comes along for the ride as well.
To make that purchase you’ll need to come up with a cool $39,500. That’s a lot of schnitzels, but then this is a lot of car and has a great history to boot. Is it worth that much to boast ownership, though?
What do you think, is this 500E hot rod a hot deal at that $39,900 price? Or, does that make you think this offspring of Mercedes and Porsche needs to lop off a few dollars before someone will adopt it?
Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.