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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've just bought a 51,000 mile 320 after a long and, obviously, mostly fruitless search. I used to have a 171 350 but the balance shaft gear went, costing me a fair few bob. As I went to replace it, I suddenly had the need for a four-seater and opted for a very nice CLK. It was very rewarding to drive, quite impressively so, and I liked it a lot.

Now I'm back to just the needs of my wife and me, I've bought a 320. Picking it up Monday.

I don't want to be combative, but I much prefer the looks of the 170 and although I examined a couple of 171s (not 350s of course) I went for looks. I think the original design was one of Merc's recent best.

My experiences gave rise to two conclusions:

1/ There's an awful lot of tat out there. Real rubbish. Whilst I was glad that the repairs to rust had been done badly in the main, I felt a bit insulted that they expected me not to notice overspray on tyres. And if I had to remove dead leaves from header rails, I'm going to doubt that it was indeed 'carefully looked after'.

Noisy superchargers are not unknown at 70,000, even with full M-B service history. Generators are also suspect. I took a proper mechanical stethoscope and it proved invaluable.

2/ If you look long enough you will eventually find the car you are looking for.

I used to think that I could tell a good 'un from a bad 'un by the advertising blurb, but long drives to cars described as 'pristine' soon put an end to that. I ended up being a little rude on the 'phone, asking not 'is there any rust' but 'how much rust is there'. Again with the interior 'what marks are there' often elicited the phrase 'not bad for the year'. Avoid that one.

A car with a recent, 8 days, MoT had defective front tyres. When I pointed this out to the seller he replied that there were no referrals from the test. It should have been a failure.

Many private sales, the way I have bought most of my cars, proved to be incredibly deceitful. One, who replied 'none' to the question 'what accident damage is there' reckoned that scratches to the front bumper are unavoidable. I pointed out that that was as maybe, but they were there. 'Parking dings' were obviously suffered in a car park where there was no speed limits.

Today I saw one on a forecourt where the salesman pointed out a number of defects to me on the phone. The 'rust around the bootlid' proved to be from people trying to unlock the boot with a key without, as M-B apparently intended, lying on their backs on the floor so that they could see the lock. Also condensation in the headlights and the driver's interior door handle. And that was it.

Don't give up looking.

I've been to the website on and off in the time I've been without an SLK and now I reckon I'll be asking a few questions soon.

Despite the CLK being a class act, and very underrated, it is indeed good to be back in the fold.

Derek
 

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Derek, welcome back!

don't forget your free datacard for your new 320
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Here it is

The main fault, hardly insuperable, is the n/s (UK) headlamp, not condensation but from a wash. I assume a seal has gone.

Front tyres were legal but low. In a moderately powerful car, I change at 2mm.

I drove a 17" wheeled car about 90 mins before I drove this, 16" shod car. On poorly maintained English roads, the only type we have, the difference was very noticeable. The ride was much better and the roof less noisy.

Do you know the best way to work out if a road is Roman or not? It has lasted until today.

I don't want to appear shallow, but I'm really glad to have the return of electrically adjustable seats. So much better than having to pull or rotate stuff.
 

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