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Mercedes-Benz: Classic and performance range review

Mercedes-Benz: Classic and performance range review Classic and Performance Car
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Mercedes-Benz is generally acknowledged as being the world’s first automobile company, the three pointed star has its roots dating way back to 1886 with Karl Benz’s invention of the first petrol powered internal combustion automobile. The Daimler Motor Corporation which built their Mercedes brand of automobiles starting in 1901 collaborated on numerous ventures with Benz and through this the Mercedes-Benz automobile company was formed in 1926. 
 
Since these early days Mercedes-Benz has always been a company that thrives on innovation and strives for excellence, it has remained steadfastly at the forefront of automotive design and in the process produced some industry leading automobiles. From the early racers that trialled developmental technologies on the track to a range of peerless luxury passenger cars, Mercedes has lead the way. Introducing dozens of game changing technologies along the way the brand remains one of the leading automotive brands to this day.
 
Buying a classic Mercedes
 
There have been numerous historically significant Mercedes’ over the years, one of the first, the 1928 SSK sports car was designed by none other than Ferdinand Porsche just before he moved on to start his own company. This two door convertible featured a supercharged 300bhp 7.1L inline 6 cylinder engine and became one of the most successful racers of its era. With fewer than 40 built only 5 are thought to have survived, being so influential to so many subsequent Mercedes designs is reflected in the value of one that sold at auction in 2004 for £4 000 000. 
 
With road cars like the 500K which debuted in 1934 and the updated 540K, Mercedes firmly established itself as a manufacturer of some of the finest luxury automobiles in the world. Featuring an optional supercharger, advanced suspension design and bespoke coachwork they set the standards in their day and the remaining cars from the combined production run of around 760 are highly valued with a recent example fetching £9m in 2012.
 
At the other end of the automotive spectrum, 1936 saw the introduction of the world’s first diesel powered passenger car, the 260D. Producing 45bhp from its 2.5L 4-cylinder engine it could manage a heady 59mph, more importantly it consumed far less fuel than its petrol powered stablemates and was the precursor to many more diesel powered passenger vehicles.
 
The Mercedes-Benz W196 Formula One car was another extremely successful race car, winning the 1954-55 world championships and debuting some very advanced technology such as mechanical fuel injection that was to find its way into the 300SL road car a year later. The only W196 in private hands and not owned by the Mercedes-Benz museum was auctioned for the not inconsiderable sum of £ 20M in 2013 indicating how historically significant these models are. 
 
With Mercedes withdrawing globally from all forms of racing due to a tragic accident at Le Mans in 1955, their full focus turned to the luxury passenger car market. This era saw the introduction of the aforementioned 300SL, a 160mph technological tour-de-force with a stunning body and very distinctive gullwing doors. Convertible versions forego those doors but are the better handlers and values for both versions can reach as high as £ 3 500 000. The lower spec 190SL introduced two years later is somewhat more affordable but there is hope for those on a tighter budget as there are still affordable models to be found in subsequent SL ranges. 
 
The luxury saloon fan looking for a Mercedes from the 60s and 70s is also well catered for, from the bullet proof W123 E-class variants that still circle the globe as million mile taxis, to the 6.9L 450 SEL which was arguably the world’s first super saloon, featuring ABS braking for the first time in a passenger car. This was probably a good idea seeing as it weighed 4200 pounds and had over 280bhp at its disposal. Its precursor the 300 SEL was another memorable car, capable of 142mph it is the spiritual forefather to today’s fire breathing AMG creations. The S-Class also made its debut in 1965 and for those looking for the last word in opulence the Mercedes-Benz 600 with a 6.3L V8, hydraulically operated everything and a very limited production run of 2677 units was a favourite amongst celebrities and dictators alike.
 
Buying a modern Mercedes
 
The modern era of Mercedes began in the mid 1980s, with growing competition from rivals both in Germany and abroad as well as an economy reeling from the 70s oil crisis it was decided that a more youthful image and focus on efficient engines would help grow market share. To this end the W124 E-Class featured a polarising modern new body shell and introduced a range of fuel injected power plants including the world’s fastest turbo diesel estate, the 300TD. The 190E meanwhile took the fight to the compact executive class. The 2.3-16 Cosworth, initially with 185bhp was the first in a long line of powerful compact saloon cars, a segment not visited by Mercedes until this point. Values are on the rise with mint examples worth £ 20 000 and more. 
 
The period around the turn of the century saw the Mercedes Benz range grow exponentially from the core C,E and S class to SUVs, shooting brakes and compact MPVs and convertibles all vying for attention. The late 90s also saw the burgeoning range of performance Mercedes vehicles being amalgamated under the AMG brand leading to a myriad of AMG variants which are now represented in most segments from the compact A45 to the evergreen G wagon. The extreme Black Series cars push the performance envelope even further.
 
Customers demand for more power and luxury saw Mercedes introduce the SLR supercar in 2003. Jointly developed with McLaren automotive it reintroduced the iconic gullwing doors and featured a luxurious cockpit from which to appreciate its 626bhp 5.4L supercharged V8. Values today can range up to £ 400 000 for the limited edition 722 Stirling Moss editions.
 
The SLS which followed was Mercedes’ own design and perhaps a more direct 300SL successor, the 6.2L V8 which has featured in so many AMG cars was at its most powerful in this iteration producing up to 622bhp. The latest in the range, the AMG GT returns to traditionally hinged doors and a smaller more efficient turbocharged engine but its swooping lines and searing performance are still at the cutting edge amongst contemporary sportscars.
 
In amongst all this horsepower extreme comfort and opulence still remains a core Mercedes value and cars like the new S-Class and SL continue to lead the field.
 
Summary
 
While the majority of Mercedes-Benz products have a deserved reputation for being over engineered and long lasting there was a marked drop in quality from around 1996 to 2005, cars with air suspensions and complex electronics should also be approached with caution as maintenance costs can be prohibitive. In general however, the build quality and longevity of a Mercedes means that even decades old vehicles can be pressed into daily use as long as they have been regularly maintained. 
 
Values of older Mercedes models generally tend to rise as demand for clean, well maintained cars is always strong. SLs have always tended to gain in value once they have reached a certain age and some well used Pagoda SLs are now trading for over £50,000. Of course getting into the market at the right time can make all the difference and there are a number great cars out there from comfy old cruisers to flame spitting sports cars to choose from. 
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Last updated: 24th Jul 2016
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Mercedes-Benz
1495 50995 GBP
  • Mercedes-Benz SLK

    £13,744 £13,744

    Variant name:SLK200 BLUEEFFICIENCY AMG SPORT ED125 ,Derivative:R172 ,Variant: SLK200 BLUEEFFICIENCY AMG SPORT ED125

    • Year: 2011
    • Mileage: 66155 mi
    • Engine size: 1.8
    For sale
    £13,744 £13,744
    Sturgess Motor Group -Sturgess Volvo
    0116 416 1083 View contact number
  • Mercedes Clk 2001

    £1,495 £1,495

    320 clk convertible    Lovely condition Smooth fast ride auto/switch manual gearbox 117 k drives as new... bullet proof v6 engine Recent service / so good for another year or 10 k new disks and pads all round Age related marks but lovely condition Light grey leather interior/  very good condition  Bose sound system/ sounds lovely    All in all a luxury smooth ride for a lovely summer car.... 1st too see will buy   Make me an offer can only say no....

    • Mileage: 118 mi
    • Engine size: 3199
    For sale
    £1,495 £1,495
  • Mercedes-Benz SL

    £16,000 £16,000

    Hellos Nappa Leather, Chesnut Wood Inlay, Facelift Model, Sport Edition Package, AMG Body Syling, Power Hood, Factory Hard Top, Panorama Glass Roof, Luxury Climate Ctrl, Cruise Ctrl With Speed Limiter, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Heated Seats, Electric Memory Seats , Electric steering column, Leather & Wood Steering Wheel, Front Centre Armrest, Auto-dip Rearview, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Xenon Headlamps, Headlamp Jetwash, AMG Sports Exhaust, 18'' AMG 5 Spoke Alloys, ESP, Premium Factory Audio, Factory Alarm, Full service history Excellent Example of This Rare Future Classic.

    • Mileage: 122000 mi
    • Engine size: 4973
    For sale
    £16,000 £16,000
  • Mercedes Slk 2010

    £6,350 £6,350

    THIS CAR MEETS ALL NEW EMISSIONS REGULATIONS, 2010 MERCEDES SLK 200 KOMPRESSOR, CONVERTIBLE, 62K MILES, MANUAL, new mot, service history, hpi report with vosa mileage check, Great looking machine, Vehicle specs: metalic black, leather interior, electric roof, alloy wheels, CD player , Power Assisted Steering Electric windows , adjustable steering column, air con, Anti-lock Brake System, Remote control central locking , looks fantastic, new mot, was cat n due to a dent on the wing and door that has been repaired( have pictures of the dents for reference) car books in at over £8k so this is a absolute bargian price at £6350 if you have any questions phone 07460 824977

    • Mileage: 62001 mi
    • Engine size: 1796
    For sale
    £6,350 £6,350
  • Mercedes-Benz SL63

    £50,995 £50,995

    Mercedes Benz SL63 2014 The Mercedes Benz SL’s have been an iconic part of the motoring scene since the early 1960’s. Desirability goes hand in hand with style, performance and practicality. A variety engine sizes have been available and the car we offer for sale here is from the higher end of the range. The SL63 we offer is finished in Metaillic Black with a full Black leather interior. This is a fully specced UK supplied SL63 and it’s only covered 28000 miles with full MB Service History. It comes with Fully electric Panoramic Roof, Climate control, Cruise Control, a plethora of vehicle control Modes. Climate Control, Cruise Control, Sat Nav, Air Scarf, and its simply stunning. The performance of an SL63 is absolutely breath taking, and this car will do exactly that. It would look fabulous on your drive at only £50995.

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 28000 mi
    For sale
    £50,995 £50,995
  • Mercedes-Benz 350SL

    £9,000 £9,000

    This lovely SL which has been in the same ownership for 28 years is available for a price of around £9,000 which is in the middle of our estimate range. Visit TradeClassics.com to see the full details of the car including videos of it running and over 300 images. EXTERIOR The car looks absolutely fantastic in the red and magnolia colour combination in the spring sunshine. Wheels & Tyres The car is fitted with its original wheels and the tyres all have good tread and even wear. Bodywork The car looks to be good in terms of both rust and rot. On our inspection we noticed a bubbling on the leading edge of the OSF wing that Bill says has been there for most of his ownership and not got any worse. There is also a small dent on the top of the OSF wing. Common areas of rust are the wheel arches, sills and doors; all these areas show no visible signs of any significant rust. Please see the media pack and videos to review the condition and underside. Paint The red paint is very striking and there are no visible signs of any colour differences across the panels, even in direct sunlight. The are a couple of areas that have a little paint blistering that you only notice when looking hard / down the reflective lines. This is just on a few areas, most noticeably the NSF wing. Bill says this has remained the same for many years and not changed over time. The paint could do with a polish and wax to deepen the shine and remove cleaning swirl marks. Glass and Trim Both are in good condition across the car. There is some chrome damage to the strip at the top of the NSR wing, near the door. Also the rubber inserts in the bumpers on both sides have marks on, presumably due to the narrow entrance to Bill’s garage over the years. The chrome could also do with a good polish. We didn’t take the hardtop off during our visit, however, Bill confirms the black mohair hood is in good condition and the plastic window is discoloured but has no cracking. INTERIOR The interior is in good condition and would benefit from a thorough valet. Seats and Carpets The seats are in really lovely original condition with no rips or significant wear. A good clean with leather cleaner is all that is required to get them looking great and keep that all important patina. The arm rest and grab handle on the passenger side door were in need of tightening, but did not look visibly broken. Dashboard The dashboard is in good condition with no splits and could also do with a good clean to bring it up like new. The radio has been changed at some point in the past and would benefit from a period correct replacement. Steering Wheel / Gear Stick Both are in original condition with no issues. MECHANICS Kulraj accompanied Bill on a short drive from his house to a place where we could take the images and videos. Please watch the video to see how the car performed on the drive. Engine and Gearbox The car started first go from cold and settled into a smooth tick-over. However, blue smoke was initially noticed and cleared a little after revving. On the drive out the smoke returned and was visible throughout the journey. We checked the oil level and it was in the middle of min and max. The smoke is likely to be due to either: a) piston rings, b) valve stem seals or c) breather pipes. Unfortunately we can’t diagnose this before sale as Bill and Barbara really just want to sell the car. Instead the reserve price of the car has been amended to take this into account. Gear selection worked fine on the trip and about 45pmh was reached. Suspension and Brakes No issues noticed on the short drive to a maximum of 45mph. The Drive Again, no issues noticed on the short drive to a maximum of 45mph. Electrics and Other Electronics are light on this car, e.g. no electric windows. The car passed an MOT in January and also had a new alternator fitted in 2014.

    • Year: 1972
    • Mileage: 109900 mi
    For sale
    £9,000 £9,000
  • Mercedes-Benz SLK

    £2,495 £2,495

    Electric Seats, Metallic Paintwork, Full Leather, Air Conditioning, Power Steering, Traction Control, CD Player, Electric Windows, Power Hood, Electric Mirrors, ABS, Isofix, Auto Lighting, Remote Central Locking, Immobiliser, Height Adjustable Seat, 16'' Alloys, Full service history Full Service History - Stunning Example - 12 Months MOT - Hpi Clear - Future Classic - Perfect Summer Car - Only 4 Precious Owners. This Car Has Clearly Been Extremely Well Cared Ford Both Mechanically & Cosmetically., Upgrades - Air-Conditioning, Alloy Wheels - 6 Spoke 7Jx16/8Jx16, Leather Seating, Metallic Paint, Wood Trim - Eucalyptus, Standard Features - Alarm, Computer (Driver Information System), Cruise Control, Electric Windows (Front), Immobiliser, Power-Assisted Steering, Airbags, Electronic Stability Programme, Remote central locking, CD Player, Traction control, Electric windows. 2 seats, Silver, It Has Just Been Fully Valeted + Is Ready To Drive Away Today. This Is Going To Make Someone An Excellent Car. ANY INSPECTION WELCOME. Please Call Us Today To Book Your Test Drive. You Won't Be Disapointed.

    • Mileage: 120000 mi
    • Engine size: 1998
    For sale
    £2,495 £2,495