1998 Mercedes SL 500


This is an interesting auction at BaT. It is a one owner car with around 61,000 miles. Records show consistent service for the first 10 years, and then virtually none for the most recent 10 years. It appears to have been a daily driver ( seems to have had a lot of brake pads replacement ) and has many cosmetic issues — nicks, broken pieces, mars, etc. It is as if the owner just gave up on the car for the last 10 years. Current bid is at $5300. In my opinion, this is a risky bid ----- I would have to see it in person and it would have to be seriously looked at by a Mercedes expert. The car being from PA, and with the neglect of the cosmetics both outside and inside, I wonder what the undercarriage looks like. This car could easily become a money pit.



Agreed. You can bury yourself pretty quickly with repair bills on cars that have sat for a long time. Normally I would only take on something like that if the trade off was a pristine exterior and interior, which this car doesn’t have. So it’s sort of the worst of both worlds.

Most likely the hydraulic cylinders will need to be rebuilt not long after it goes back into regular use, and that is about $2500 if you have someone else do the work. I’d assume at least another $2500 for fluids, tires, bushings, etc. that wear with age and have likely been deferred. At the end of that, you’d have a car that’s worth about $10,000, which is roughly break-even at the current bid.

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BTW, I’ll also be watching this 33k mile Silver Arrow on BaT pretty closely. It will likely go for serious money – possibly even more than the Klipnik R129 guide’s high range (top 1%) of $20k-30k…

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Yes ---- then add a new convertible top, hardtop headliner, hood pad, soft top headliner, front bumper cover replacement, etc.

My car, for example, 1994 sl500 ----- when I went to purchase it, I noticed a leak around the rear differential. The seller said “not a big deal” ---- seal/gasket would only cost about $40.00 bucks. True, but the labor to replace would be around $750.00 in labor ---- rear axle has to be dropped, other rings inside should also be replaced while it is opened up, misc nuts replaced, sealants, etc. Another example, tie rod replacement ----- 2 tie rods replaced, drag/center link replaced, and labor = $400.00.

Lesson to be learned ---- have car checked out thoroughly by an expert ---- it will pay for itself.

My example----dealer originally asking $7900, ran it on sale for $6900, I offered $5700, they accepted. I then took to the top expert in my area, and went back with printout of costs. In the end, I eventually got it for $3750. I have since addressed all issues

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That is a textbook example of buying smart!

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You may be correct ----- the bid is currently at $18,000. The 1998 bid is currently at $7500.

Interestingly, if one were to combine all the r129 for sale on BaT and HEMMINGS, from a low asking of $7500 to a high asking of 38,995, the average asking is around $18,500.

Perhaps Hagerty was correct when they stated that the r129 was a car to watch in 2019!

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Sold for $8250 on 5/27



Pretty well sold, I think, considering the unknowns. For me, it would be “worth it” to pay more for a nicer example with a more complete service history.

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The Silver Arrow on BaT has barely cracked $20,000 with just a few hours left. That would be a very reasonable price for such a desirable R129 example. We’ll see if it holds…

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Finally sold for $28,000



Decent deal, I think, for such a collectable example. I’m guessing that only the minor Carfax incident held it back from topping $30k…

BTW, here’s another Silver Arrow with fewer miles but not quite as nice overall (IMO). Bidding’s at $20,500 with two days left…

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FYI, the second SA sold for $22,500, which seems about right considering that it had a few rough edges (especially compared to the one that sold for $28,000), though the BaT commentariat seems to think it was an insane bargain…

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Yes, I agree. Hagerty just published its newest 25 “hottest” collectibles for the summer — and again, the r129 makes the list — #13.

However, the car that peaks my interest is the 2000-2006 BMW M3. While the r129 always appears on Hagerty, it does not always show up on other sites as hot or collectible or etc.
On the other hand, the 2000-2006 M3 appears on ALL sites as a remarkable car.

Would that car have a particular number attached to it?
Are repairs as expensive as on the r129?
Are there particular issues to look for when purchasing?
And finally, why are these cars so popular.

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Just read the practical guide to the E46 here at Klipnik — answered most of my questions, very helpful article.

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Yes, the E46 M3 is somewhat legendary. Unlike the R129, though, it’s pretty tough to find really nice low-mile examples, and when you do they command quite the premium – usually mid $20k or higher. This dealership usually has some of the best examples out there:


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Thanks ---- what a great site?

My choice ---- !


Nothing like cruising along with no top and no doors ----- something like the CJ’s I own. And how much fun must it be climbing in and out of this car … LOL

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