Author Topic: Looking for "first car" similar to 70s Mercedes S Class (but cheaper!)  (Read 4881 times)

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Offline Olumin

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Im not a car geek, and therefore, do not know tremendously much about them on a technical level (or any). I always loved the old 70s Mercedes S Class (w116) range of cars, but they are 10-15 grand in decent condition. Too much for a first car.





Im looking for something that is:
- similar in design
- NO (station) WAGON or Coupé (that means it should have 4 doors, not 5 or 2)
- from a European or Japanese brand (preferably German)
- with a V6 oder V8 engine
- Petrol not diesel
- not TOO thirsty (as much as you can a V6/8 expect to be)
- power steering
- air conditioning
- automatic is nice but no must
- another "nice" is availability in bright (beige) interior, not just black.
- is should of cause not come with a reputation of low reliability and breaking down. It should be reliable and repairs should be kept within a limit.
- and of cause, cheaper!

I would be willing to spend up to 4-5 grand, but then its needs to be top condition. Of cause the less the better.

Something I have come across was the Volvo 900 line of cars, more specifically the 960 ii and S90, but its still 7-10 Grand in good condition.




I am aware that cars with similar styling and a V6/8 were always Upper or Upper middle class vehicles at the time and are therefore hard to get "cheap", but perhaps there are some less popular ones that can be gotten in my price range.
I hope someone more into cars then me can help me out!

Thanks in advance!
« Last Edit: Tue, 19 June 2018, 13:11:05 by Olumin »

Offline tp4tissue

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Here's the thing..

Most of those oldies are tough to steer..Parking is a PITA

A newer Jap car has much better handling..

IMHO, while it's not classy,  civics/accord/corolla/camry


They run forever, parts easily available,  Every mechanic knows how to fix every problem on these cars.


Just a heads up on HASSLE..

Offline Olumin

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Here's the thing..

Most of those oldies are tough to steer..Parking is a PITA

A newer Jap car has much better handling..

IMHO, while it's not classy,  civics/accord/corolla/camry


They run forever, parts easily available,  Every mechanic knows how to fix every problem on these cars.


Just a heads up on HASSLE..


Not really what I asked for. My father owns an old E class so I have a rough idea of what Im getting into. I dont have a problem with how old cars handle. I dont drive a race with it. At lease these "oldies" still look and feel like real cars, and I prefer that to all the high tech features in modern cars any day.

Offline Kavik

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I'm not a car guy either, but I share your sentiment of wanting an older car that feel like a true car. My brother recently gifted me a 2008 BMW; otherwise, I would be engaging in a similar search to yours. I'm curious what you will find.
Maybe they're waiting for gasmasks and latex to get sexy again.

The world has become a weird place.

Offline noisyturtle

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Here's the thing..

Most of those oldies are tough to steer..Parking is a PITA

A newer Jap car has much better handling..

IMHO, while it's not classy,  civics/accord/corolla/camry


They run forever, parts easily available,  Every mechanic knows how to fix every problem on these cars.


Just a heads up on HASSLE..


just completely disregards the entire point of the post and makes it about turning radius lmao

Offline sncbraxsc2

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Tp not wrong though...

In a similar vein, I'd recommend the late 90s Lexus ls400. It has that classic full size look with all the benefits of modern engineering..

Older 535i and Volvo 850 shouldn't be so hard to find either!
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Offline Olumin

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Tp not wrong though...

In a similar vein, I'd recommend the late 90s Lexus ls400. It has that classic full size look with all the benefits of modern engineering..

Older 535i and Volvo 850 shouldn't be so hard to find either!

I‘ve thought about a Volvo 760...





Pretty far away from a w116 but i like it somehow... and they arent that expensive..
« Last Edit: Tue, 19 June 2018, 15:56:32 by Olumin »

Offline Leslieann

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Im not a car geek, and therefore, do not know tremendously much about them on a technical level (or any). I always loved the old 70s Mercedes S Class (w116) range of cars, but they are 10-15 grand in decent condition. Too much for a first car.

Couple hard truths...
There is a really high chance you will wreck this car, being your first. If you don;t odds are it will get wrecked anyway. Buy something MUCH newer, it may save your life. Don't get something too new. You don't need the distractions. Get a manual if yo can, it will keep you engaged in actually driving.

As for your choice in cars themselves...
If you think $15k is expensive, wait until you see the repair bills. A high end car from the past, particularly a luxury car, still requires upkeep and parts that cost what they would for a car of that caliber today. If an alternator on a new $100k Mercedes costs $3000 today, the alternator for a 1970's Mercedes is probably going to cost $3000. Age doesn't reduce wear and tear or the price of parts.

This goes double for mid 80's and earlier eurpopean cars.
These cars were usually not imported here by the manufacturer, while legal they are known as grey market cars. Limited numbers means limited parts. As soon as they were legally imported they had a MASSIVE luxury tax added to them. So while you may think an entry level Mercedes or BMW is cheap, it wasn't. Go look at late 80's BMW low end 3 series interiors, they were sparse. Yo coudl get similar on almost any other low end car, the difference was yo pad a huge tax to have that badge on the front.

And then we have Eurpopean reliability.
Look I loved my BMWs, and I have been in some really nice Euro cars in general, but their reliability is terrible, especially as they age. You don't need to spend half your time wrenching to keep your first car running.



You are not really going to get anything for $5k from Europe that will be remotely reliable and in good shape. It won't happen.
My advice is the same as TP and sncbraxsc2, go Japanese, you will get FAR more for your money. Specifically, look into a Lexus or Acura, you will get similar to a European car without the cost or hassle. Used parts are a breeze to find, and way cheaper and if you do need to go new, it will not cost as much as you paid for the car to fix it should something major happen.

There is also a method to this madness... Go with the right car now and it will give you experience, and save you money, so you can later afford the one you really want, as a second car. Having two cars was the only way I could really enjoy some of my favorite cars. Buying the wrong car will keep you tied down, eating all your money and keeping you less mobile.

Skip anything German, hell, skip anything European. Double skip anything high end. Run far far away from anything that matches those AND is a luxury brand. For American cars, those are kind of all over the place, and you probably wouldn't like your options (as strange as it sounds... Buick). Korean, believe it or not, is not a terrible choice, for what you could get for $5k, you could do quite well, but I have a suspicion you would turn your nose at that idea (I kind of would too). Which leaves Japanese, right back where we started.
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Offline fohat.digs

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I‘ve thought about a Volvo 760...


I had a "7" series Volvo that was a nice car, but the gas mileage was poor and it needed frequent expensive brake jobs. Replacing the A/C was also very expensive.

Today I am driving my 3rd Toyota Camry 4-cylinder 4-door and it is going strong at 218K miles.
The difference in characterization of crime and who commits it skews what criminality looks like demographically. "What we're seeing so far is very similar to the process that we see with Islamic violent Jihad radicalization," said former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi, "This wanting to belong to a cause greater than yourself, wanting to get affirmation from a group who may not even know who you are or ever met you. And then feeling like you're part of this deployment, this cause. You heard him say on the clip 'It's my job to protect this.'
No, it's not your job. But you think it is. And video last night shows him walking around roaming around with the assault rifle not really doing much of protecting anything." Figliuzzi made it clear that calling these characters "troubled" is a misnomer. "I would assert," Figliuzzi continued. "that it's time we stopped using the word ‘troubled’ with regard to white young people who act out like this and start thinking about the radicalized term that we used when people of color or people of Islamic faith act out like this. This is a radicalization process that's happening. It happened with the El Paso shooter in Texas. We kept hearing he was troubled. No, he was radicalized. And it's happening online."

Offline tp4tissue

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I‘ve thought about a Volvo 760...


I had a "7" series Volvo that was a nice car, but the gas mileage was poor and it needed frequent expensive brake jobs. Replacing the A/C was also very expensive.

Today I am driving my 3rd Toyota Camry 4-cylinder 4-door and it is going strong at 218K miles.


For a camry or accord, get the v6,   it's a pretty heavy chassis,  loaded for a haul, the 4 cylinder is a bit anemic.. Especially if you got phat passengers too

Offline Olumin

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Re: Looking for "first car" similar to 70s Mercedes S Class (but cheaper!)
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 19 June 2018, 23:20:21 »
Im not a car geek, and therefore, do not know tremendously much about them on a technical level (or any). I always loved the old 70s Mercedes S Class (w116) range of cars, but they are 10-15 grand in decent condition. Too much for a first car.

Couple hard truths...
There is a really high chance you will wreck this car, being your first. If you don;t odds are it will get wrecked anyway. Buy something MUCH newer, it may save your life. Don't get something too new. You don't need the distractions. Get a manual if yo can, it will keep you engaged in actually driving.

As for your choice in cars themselves...
If you think $15k is expensive, wait until you see the repair bills. A high end car from the past, particularly a luxury car, still requires upkeep and parts that cost what they would for a car of that caliber today. If an alternator on a new $100k Mercedes costs $3000 today, the alternator for a 1970's Mercedes is probably going to cost $3000. Age doesn't reduce wear and tear or the price of parts.

This goes double for mid 80's and earlier eurpopean cars.
These cars were usually not imported here by the manufacturer, while legal they are known as grey market cars. Limited numbers means limited parts. As soon as they were legally imported they had a MASSIVE luxury tax added to them. So while you may think an entry level Mercedes or BMW is cheap, it wasn't. Go look at late 80's BMW low end 3 series interiors, they were sparse. Yo coudl get similar on almost any other low end car, the difference was yo pad a huge tax to have that badge on the front.

And then we have Eurpopean reliability.
Look I loved my BMWs, and I have been in some really nice Euro cars in general, but their reliability is terrible, especially as they age. You don't need to spend half your time wrenching to keep your first car running.



You are not really going to get anything for $5k from Europe that will be remotely reliable and in good shape. It won't happen.
My advice is the same as TP and sncbraxsc2, go Japanese, you will get FAR more for your money. Specifically, look into a Lexus or Acura, you will get similar to a European car without the cost or hassle. Used parts are a breeze to find, and way cheaper and if you do need to go new, it will not cost as much as you paid for the car to fix it should something major happen.

There is also a method to this madness... Go with the right car now and it will give you experience, and save you money, so you can later afford the one you really want, as a second car. Having two cars was the only way I could really enjoy some of my favorite cars. Buying the wrong car will keep you tied down, eating all your money and keeping you less mobile.

Skip anything German, hell, skip anything European. Double skip anything high end. Run far far away from anything that matches those AND is a luxury brand. For American cars, those are kind of all over the place, and you probably wouldn't like your options (as strange as it sounds... Buick). Korean, believe it or not, is not a terrible choice, for what you could get for $5k, you could do quite well, but I have a suspicion you would turn your nose at that idea (I kind of would too). Which leaves Japanese, right back where we started.

I dont know where you think im located but Im German and located in Germany, I dont have cheap access to old american cars. The reputation for reliability and quality on american cars (especially old ones) is terrible in Europe, specifically Germany. Old European cars are very reliable in my experience, as well as much more available and cheap here (as well as directly imported by the manufacturer). Old american cars tend to get TERRIBLE gas millage compared to anything European, because prices for gas in the US were and are much lower then in Germany. Im not getting a american car. I dont like the styling or how they feel and they are simply not available.

EDIT: Like, it says my location right there; Hamburg, Germany... 
« Last Edit: Tue, 19 June 2018, 23:31:08 by Olumin »

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Looking for "first car" similar to 70s Mercedes S Class (but cheaper!)
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 19 June 2018, 23:34:14 »

I dont know where you think im located but Im German and located in Germany, I dont have cheap access to old american cars. The reputation for reliability and quality on american cars (especially old ones) is terrible in Europe, specifically Germany. Old European cars are very reliable in my experience, as well as much more available and cheap here (as well as directly imported by the manufacturer). Old american cars tend to get TERRIBLE gas millage compared to anything European, because prices for gas in the US were and are much lower then in Germany. Im not getting a american car. I dont like the styling or how they feel and they are simply not available.
Sorry, that is a very good and important point that I missed (I was trying to run out the door), German cars here are like American cars there.
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Offline fohat.digs

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Re: Looking for "first car" similar to 70s Mercedes S Class (but cheaper!)
« Reply #12 on: Wed, 20 June 2018, 06:19:17 »

the 4 cylinder is a bit anemic


My car would happily cruise at 90 mph if I wanted to. The 4-cylinder Toyota has been known for years as one of the most dependable and durable motors ever built. The 6-cylinder is much faster but not nearly as economical or dependable.
The difference in characterization of crime and who commits it skews what criminality looks like demographically. "What we're seeing so far is very similar to the process that we see with Islamic violent Jihad radicalization," said former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi, "This wanting to belong to a cause greater than yourself, wanting to get affirmation from a group who may not even know who you are or ever met you. And then feeling like you're part of this deployment, this cause. You heard him say on the clip 'It's my job to protect this.'
No, it's not your job. But you think it is. And video last night shows him walking around roaming around with the assault rifle not really doing much of protecting anything." Figliuzzi made it clear that calling these characters "troubled" is a misnomer. "I would assert," Figliuzzi continued. "that it's time we stopped using the word ‘troubled’ with regard to white young people who act out like this and start thinking about the radicalized term that we used when people of color or people of Islamic faith act out like this. This is a radicalization process that's happening. It happened with the El Paso shooter in Texas. We kept hearing he was troubled. No, he was radicalized. And it's happening online."

Offline DALExSNAIL

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Re: Looking for "first car" similar to 70s Mercedes S Class (but cheaper!)
« Reply #13 on: Wed, 20 June 2018, 07:48:10 »
I know **** all about cars, but for some reason I love cars that just look like a box.

Love those old volvos.

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Looking for "first car" similar to 70s Mercedes S Class (but cheaper!)
« Reply #14 on: Wed, 20 June 2018, 17:14:57 »

the 4 cylinder is a bit anemic


My car would happily cruise at 90 mph if I wanted to. The 4-cylinder Toyota has been known for years as one of the most dependable and durable motors ever built. The 6-cylinder is much faster but not nearly as economical or dependable.


That's not why Tp4 is suggesting the v6.

Overall, it's a heavy car,  so what happens is, w/ only passengers and some grocery, the car is very slow to accelerate.

So if you are on a long incline w/ a tailgator, it's hard to get out of his way and this greatly raises the probability of an accident.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Looking for "first car" similar to 70s Mercedes S Class (but cheaper!)
« Reply #15 on: Wed, 20 June 2018, 19:46:41 »
So if you are on a long incline w/ a tailgator, it's hard to get out of his way and this greatly raises the probability of an accident.

Tp4 is a second rate trucker..
Why are you trying to pass on a hill, knowing you are low on power?  GTFO of the left lane.
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Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Looking for "first car" similar to 70s Mercedes S Class (but cheaper!)
« Reply #16 on: Wed, 20 June 2018, 20:16:44 »
So if you are on a long incline w/ a tailgator, it's hard to get out of his way and this greatly raises the probability of an accident.

Tp4 is a second rate trucker..
Why are you trying to pass on a hill, knowing you are low on power?  GTFO of the left lane.


How long have ya'll been drivin'   There are tailgators in EVERY LANE..

Offline fohat.digs

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Re: Looking for "first car" similar to 70s Mercedes S Class (but cheaper!)
« Reply #17 on: Thu, 21 June 2018, 06:40:01 »

How long have ya'll been drivin' 


50 years, mostly in the South where people drive fast but rationally, but only 4 months (April-July 2010) in New Jersey, where drivers are out of their minds.
The difference in characterization of crime and who commits it skews what criminality looks like demographically. "What we're seeing so far is very similar to the process that we see with Islamic violent Jihad radicalization," said former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi, "This wanting to belong to a cause greater than yourself, wanting to get affirmation from a group who may not even know who you are or ever met you. And then feeling like you're part of this deployment, this cause. You heard him say on the clip 'It's my job to protect this.'
No, it's not your job. But you think it is. And video last night shows him walking around roaming around with the assault rifle not really doing much of protecting anything." Figliuzzi made it clear that calling these characters "troubled" is a misnomer. "I would assert," Figliuzzi continued. "that it's time we stopped using the word ‘troubled’ with regard to white young people who act out like this and start thinking about the radicalized term that we used when people of color or people of Islamic faith act out like this. This is a radicalization process that's happening. It happened with the El Paso shooter in Texas. We kept hearing he was troubled. No, he was radicalized. And it's happening online."

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Looking for "first car" similar to 70s Mercedes S Class (but cheaper!)
« Reply #18 on: Thu, 21 June 2018, 17:47:47 »
So if you are on a long incline w/ a tailgator, it's hard to get out of his way and this greatly raises the probability of an accident.

Tp4 is a second rate trucker..
Why are you trying to pass on a hill, knowing you are low on power?  GTFO of the left lane.
How long have ya'll been drivin'   There are tailgators in EVERY LANE..

First off, accelerating is NOT the solution, did you not read your drivers manual?

Second, if you barely have enough power to climb that incline, you SHOULD be in the right lane. If you are down on power on an incline and someone is riding your butt, you are probably not in the right lane where you should be and need to move over. And I don't care if you are doing 10mph over the limit, if someone comes up on your butt, move over.  Slower traffic keep right.

Yes, tailgaters are everywhere, but if your solution is to speed up, you are part of the problem, not the solution. You should move over to the proper lane and if there is no other lane, SLOW DOWN (do not slow down in the left lanes, MOVE). This forces them to either back off, go around you, or slow down which decreases the odds of an accident and amount of damage if there is an accident.


How long?  I have 10 years experience on my Class A CDL license issued by the sheriff who conducted my driving test, on top of my years driving on a normal license traversing the country. I've driven through almost half the U.S.

I stand by what I said, GTFO the left lane.
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Offline typo

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Re: Looking for "first car" similar to 70s Mercedes S Class (but cheaper!)
« Reply #19 on: Fri, 22 June 2018, 20:43:49 »
I remember when Volvo 780 was new. It is a coupe though. I loved that car. I thought the stereo was amazing. Compared to today lol. Not sure why I did not get one. Well, I think I had a Countache then. I do not know in Germany but 5 grand here is a roach bug. You see those 30 year old cares are still 20 grand.

Offline Olumin

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Re: Looking for "first car" similar to 70s Mercedes S Class (but cheaper!)
« Reply #20 on: Sat, 23 June 2018, 16:34:09 »
Man Id love a 780 but they were not imported into Germany. Hard to get.