FYI, Mercedes makes great cars that obviously endure when serviced properly. I should know, as I have a 27 yr. old 300D TurboDiesel with over 300,000 miles and a 15 yr. old 300D with over 400,000 km on them.
FYI, Wiring looms 'biodegrading', and instrument clusters failing isn't because of servicing. I know a taxi driver who had a Vauxhall Carlton with over 300,000 miles on it because he changed the oil at half the recommended miles. And it's not surprising a 3.0 litre diesel engine with such low power is still going, just look at how many very old tractors are still running. 400,000 klm = 250,000. I've had diesel Unos (ave 50mpg, Merc 38mpg?) with over 185,000, and the only reason I sold them was because of corrosion, and how much does an Uno cost! :)
Saying something lasts longer than another means nothing when price is bought into the equation:
I could have bought quite a few Unos and done a lot more miles for the same money as a Merc. Of course there's no 'prestige' (snobbery) attached to an Uno.
I have had my 1986 300E for 2 years now and after a lifetime of owning just about every type of car (I am 61), I can say that it is the best car I have ever owned.
I live in Sydney Australia and use it for horrendous city driving as well as freeway driving and also have done more offroad work in it than most of the idiots in their 4WDs!
It's got 238,000km on it and drives almost like a new car. Of course you have to spend to maintain any car, so it sounds like a bit of a silly galah type of story to me, but then we are not that 'with it' down here yes?
I agree that the car was most likely driven hard and put away wet. It can be very hard to tell how badly abused a car has been without a service record history.
I agree. I got myself burned by a Lincoln (5.0), and while the drive train was solid, all of the other bits (air ride, emissions sensors, cat converter, rear main seal) were not as advertised. Live and learn, and don't beat yourself up over it. Twenty plus year old cars need work, just try not to spend much initially and have a good mechanic, you'll get there.
It's amazing how many want to defend the car and tell the poster his case is abnormal. His car was a lemon, maybe it was abused and maybe it wasn't. My girlfriend had a 300 coupe and sedan, and they were both very costly to keep up with failing parts. If you don't mind the maintenance bills for the 'prestige', then by all means. Many fall into this group. Also many probably do not maintain them fully, and just drive them, and by the time a used buyer gets it, it is a nightmare. They can be very costly to own, but you will not convince the true believer to admit it, since it is part of their identity. Cheers ;)