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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)