Once called der wolf in der kleidung eines schafes, the Mercedes 500E was as subtle in its appearance as it was brutal in its performance. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe custom 500E is like a wolf on amyl poppers, but will its price pull the wool over your eyes?
When reviewing yesterday’s Ford 5.0-powered ’95 E36, which was claimed 75% complete, did you see it as a glass three-quarters full or one a quarter empty? Perhaps that’s immaterial as 67% of you thought the car’s price was full of it.
Speaking of full, when Mercedes Benz wanted to stuff their 5.0 into the W124 sedan’s engine bay, they had to enlist Porsche to get it to fit. It’s often the case when an auto manufacturer sees an aftermarketer’s ride get more press than their own that they’ll try to replicate that magic in-house.
Prior to Mercedes’ outright purchase of AMG, the German tuner created what is today credited with being the first Mercedes Hot Rod- colloquially known as the AMG Hammer. That W124-based car smacked down with a hand-built 5.6-litre V8, that, depending on tune, would put out between 350 and 400 horses. That made it, according to contemporary tests, faster than a Ferrari Testarossa.
Oh yeah, and the Hammer also rocked that center console sad trombone, a four-speed automatic.
Mercedes, knowing a good thing when they see it, decided to get in on the act with the in-house creation of the 500E, a flare-fendered 5.0 uber sedan that took the mantle of executive Autobahnstormer from the Hammer, and ran with it.
These models were built in partnership with Porsche, the cars requiring a unique forward structure to carry the pony-rich eight, and required multiple trips between Sindelfingen and Zuffenhausen to complete. Out the door they rocked 322-horses and a 5,5-second zero to sixty cred.
Today’s 1992 500E however, is not your ordinary hot mess of a hot Benz. Claimed to have been the recipient of a $240K infusion of awesome, this car now rocks a RENNTech-engineered M119, which is supposedly good for a healthy 465-bhp and 500 ft-lbs of twist.
The seller also claims this car is the only 500E in the world to sport a six-speed stick.
Visually, the car is noteworthy for its purposeful restraint. Metallic sky blue paint tops darker azure bumpers and side cladding, set off against a set of polished alloy BBS wheels. There are additional air inlets up front and a duck’s ass spoiler out back which imply a commitment to speed, and the whole thing is hunkered down in an ominous stance, without looking, you know, stanced.
On the inside, well, it’s got some blue going on. Dark blue leather on the door inserts, steering wheel and center console over a field of grey may an acquired taste, but the same can’t be said for the highly bolstered sport seats up front, nor the four-point harnesses that wrap them. Like its exterior, this 500E’s custom insides looks pristine. Of course with only 35,147 miles on its uber clock, it hasn’t had much experience gettin’ dirty.
Even though today considered a classic, the 1500 or so American 500Es are presently all over the board when it comes to condition and pricing. Excluding salvage titles because they are like gypsy curses, you can find them anywhere from this rough and ready, and dirt cheap one, all the way up to today’s wild custom, which at $54,900 (the lower price is reflected on the dealer's site, but not the Autotrader ad) is about the most I’ve ever seen for a 500E.
It’s now the point in the show - if you can stop genuflecting to this car’s pictures - where you need to determine if that $54,900 price tag is an uber-good deal for this uber-cool car. What do you think, is that a good price for this 500E? Or, does that price for this Mercedes Hot Rod make your blood run cold?
H/T to Hardibro for the hookup on the cheap car.
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