Hi, new member with a quick question. I've been lurking here for a couple weeks non stop and haven't seen a car with close to the mileage as the one I'm looking at. It is a 2004 SLK320SE, Red with black interior, automatic and wood interior trim. The kicker to this deal is that the car has only 8,500 original miles on the clock and is literally like brand new. Only problem is the radio antenna is loose from removing and replacing to cover when not being driven. No scratches, not even dust. Never sees anything but sunshine on an occasional Sunday. My question is: What is a car like this worth? I need to make an offer and don't want to low ball and offend anyone. Does the mileage and condition affect the value a lot? Thank you for your time.
If you want an SLK, buy that one. As you say, you won't find a nicer one, and you know the owner. A while back, I saw a very similar SLK230 Blue, special edition with the blue/white seats, blue dash, and special carpets, etc on eBay. The dealer was asking about $12K, and I think he got it.
As someone who worked his way through college as a freelance mechanic, let me tell you that there is no substitute for a lack of wear. Sure, stuff can be rebuilt, but it will NEVER be rebuilt to factory tolerances, with factory quality-control, and factory parts. It will always be used.
Also, cars deteriorate in so many ways that restoring them, even if you could somehow manage to meet factory tolerances, simply ends up costing MUCH more than a new vehicle. I just replaced my steering damper, which is a fairly innocuous part, and I've got a relatively low-mileage (75K) 2001 R170.
If you buy that car, you can probably expect that you'll see some oil leaks from things like the engine crankshaft seal, etc. Such parts actually benefit from use, so sitting around isn't good.
I'd recommend you flush all the fluids and replace the belts at a minimum. Tires are also probably old, and thus dangerous. Do what you can to verify the tires' age, and if they're more than ~4-5 years old, replace them too.
But if you do all that, you'll have a $45K car for what? $11 - $14K? That's a bargain any day. Heck, I'd buy it in a minute for that amount of money.
Good luck, and please let us know if you get it and what you plan to do post-purchase.
Where we are really quite envious of your find.