Home » Tops Of The Heaps: Olds Cutlass vs Lincoln MkVII vs Nissan 300ZX vs Mercedes 500SEL

Tops Of The Heaps: Olds Cutlass vs Lincoln MkVII vs Nissan 300ZX vs Mercedes 500SEL

Sbsd 8 25 2023

Happy Friday, Autopians! We’ve reached the end of another one. Today, I’m taking the easy way out and making this a straight four-way shootout of the week’s winners. Sometimes the old ways are the best ways. You already know, from the photo collage above, which car won yesterday’s Benz battle, but just for the sake of completeness, here are the results:

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Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Ol’ Blue wins it by a narrow margin. That would be my choice, too; in fact, if I were looking for an old Mercedes, the W126 is where I’d start. Not the coupes, though; they give off too much of a Miami Vice bad guy vibe. But a nice V8 SEL like that? Oh yeah.

So now that we have our foursome, let’s recap:

1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme convertible

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Pros: Rare and cool version of the W-body, clean exterior, easy to work on

Cons: Lazy seller who lost the keys, unknown mechanical condition

Monday was a long time ago, so to refresh your memory: This Cutlass is for sale from an estate in Texas. It’s described in the ad as being in “like new” condition, but the best I’d give it is “pretty damn good” outside, and “acceptable” inside. We have no idea about its mechanical condition, because they couldn’t find the keys, and couldn’t be bothered to have new ones cut. And with all that, they’re still asking four grand.

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But what that means is that buyers aren’t exactly lining up for this thing. Talk to the seller, see if they’ll call a locksmith, bring a couple gallons of fresh gas and a new battery, see if it will fire up. Then make a reasonable offer. It could be a nice runabout, for the right price.


1988 Lincoln Mark VII LSC

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Pros: Great runner, lots of stuff replaced recently, really nice car

Cons: That top, and those windows

I still can’t get past the hideous fake convertible top on this thing, but apparently a lot of you aren’t as bothered by it as I am. The red window tint is horrible too, and I don’t know what possesses anyone to put the name or logo of the car across the back window in giant vinyl letters. I mean, mechanically it sounds fine, and I know the tint and the vinyl can be removed without much trouble, but it still has that dumbass roof.

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Or maybe I’m making too much of it. As one commenter pointed out, you can’t see the top from the driver’s seat anyway. And underneath it all, it’s a Fox-body Ford with a 302 V8 – basically a blank canvas for those with an inclination towards hot-rodding. Or leave it stock, and just enjoy having a comfy car that makes V8 noises.

1984 Nissan 300ZX 2+2

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Pros: Massive amount of work done, excellent shape mechanically, signed by a rock star

Cons: Salvage title, cosmetically only so-so

This doorstop-shaped Nissan has had quite a history, all recounted in first-person in a very clever Craigslist ad. It was wrecked early on, badly enough to be totaled out, and rebuilt with T-tops and a salvage title. It then sat in a warehouse for a decade, before being bought by a young mechanic who showered it with love and new parts. To top it all off, it has had a celebrity encounter with rock star Les Claypool.


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The only thing that worries me is that this car’s stereo is going to make everything sound like Primus, full of two-handed tapping bass lines, wailing guitars, and weird time signatures. Could be worse, I suppose – it could have been signed by a member of Nickelback.

1985 Mercedes-Benz 500SEL

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Pros: Bona-fide classic Benz, low miles, solid runner

Cons: Needs brakes, dirty, looks uncared-for


Here it is, the one, the only, possibly the pinnacle of Mercedes-Benz luxury sedans: the W126-chassis 500SEL. Once beloved of entertainment lawyers and third-world despots alike, this triumph of engineering is now available to the rest of us, through the magic of depreciation. This one has seen better days, but there’s a good chance that in the right hands, it could rise again, like a big blue phoenix.

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It already runs fine, and it’s in better shape than it looks – it’s just dirty. Sure, it needs brakes, but brakes are easy. You can probably double the miles on the odometer after you take care of that.

So that’s our week of unusual roofs; I hope you enjoyed it. Next week, we’ll be looking at… well, I don’t know yet, but it’ll be something great. And crappy. Because that’s what we do here. Vote for your favorite, and I’ll see you all on Monday!


(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

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Ariel E Jones
Ariel E Jones
27 days ago

I’m not embarrassed to admit that I’ve always had a soft spot for that generation Old Cutlass Supreme, especially the coupe, not as much the convertible. I’ve thought that they were really sharp looking. If memory serves there was even a manual coupe with the hotter engine sold in “holy grail” quantities, even if it wouldn’t qualify as one. Back to the story, that said, I’m going with the Z. It just seems like more fun with those T tops. The Lincoln… I just can’t. The Benz, not on your life.

Last edited 27 days ago by Ariel E Jones
29 days ago

Honestly, I could be pretty happy with any of the four. However, something about t-tops just gets me. Gimme the Z.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
30 days ago

The Lincoln is the correct answer here.

30 days ago

I think all y’all started happy hour too early this Friday. The soon to be hot rod Lincoln is the only logical choice here. The Benz will bankrupt you, the Z will bore you, and the Cutlass will confuse you. As for the carriage roof, it stays until it causes problems. Trick will be catching the problems beforehand, given you can’t see under it.

30 days ago

Primus still sucks.

Z it is.

29 days ago
Reply to  Ricki

Primus is still awesome

Ronald Pottol
Ronald Pottol
29 days ago
Reply to  Freelivin1327

Kids these days.
Kill The Pixies.

30 days ago

The Mercedes is maybe the better choice, but I’d actually keep the Nissan. Actually, the Z has brakes, and besides the messy title and a ding in the back, it’s probably the better deal after all. Nobody actually wants that Lincoln or the Olds.

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