Should I Save My "Fast" Mercedes Diesel

In the not-too-distant past I snagged this old Merc’ off Craigslist for a meager $900 (no extra charge for the patina). Paying sub-$1k for a running, driving vehicle might seem like a fair deal, but did I just take a hit of the proverbial crack pipe?

What sold me on the deal was the standard 4-speed transmission paired with a turbo-charged diesel from a later model station wagon. With a measly 230,000 miles it runs like a top and loses less oil than any benz I’ve ever owned. And the boosted engine gains 40 horses over the original naturally aspirated five-cylinder. The interior is fairly well sorted too and the B-pillar delete on this coupe and the Euro headlights add a little styling flair to an otherwise dull albeit classic design.


In the few months she’s been in my stable I’ve only ponied up approximately $100 in fixes. Cheapest brake pads I could find on rock auto (front and rear), glow plugs, new window switches, blower motor, one window motor, and a dome light. The exhaust is a little loud and the suspension is a little soft but overall the driving experience is excellent.

If you haven’t already gathered, her fatal flaw is an excessive amount of body rust. Multiple holes in all four fenders and the bottom door sills are so far gone I can reach my hand up and grab the window regulator. Just about every piece of rubber is cracked and rotted, all four tires need replacing and there is no stereo.


I’m certain both doors and probably the front fenders will need to be replaced. That means sourcing a donor car. Maybe an expert body shop could work some magic. Either way the dollar signs are racking up. I love the color, but a new coat will be in order. Is this car, with a swapped motor and rotting steel, worth dumping several thousand dollars or should I just drive the doors off? Would anyone be interested in a following the continued saga? Or should I cut my losses and see how much I can offload this thing for?


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