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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
If one does an autotrader or cars.com search one finds about 60-70 '05-'08 SLK55s throughout the whole US at any given time and very few of them seem to be near me 8( . So having a bird in the hand, so to speak, is helpful.

There's one up locally from a private seller that I looked at yesterday. It's got modest mileage, but is a bit rough. Driver's door has several small dimples, passenger's door has taken quite a few knocks along the ridge line - probably 10-15 dimples. None of these seem to have broken the paint but I wonder how much it would be to get fixed.
Front bumper is cracked and chipped on left side an banged up in the middle. I saw OEM refurb'd bumpers online for $350, so add paint and fitting and we're looking at how much? Rear spoiler has a few chips, but otherwise the rear end seems ok.

I tested the seat heaters but am not sure the bottom ones worked although the seller said they did.

There's only one key, so $180-$300 to remedy that.

It's got Hankook Ventus tires and the wheels show little/modest rash.

Front brakes looked good although the current owner of 2 years didn't replace the rotors, but thought the owner before that did.

Says it's been serviced at the dealer.

Perhaps the biggest question is that the title supposedly notes it was a lemon'd buyback.

The seller is pretty motivated so I'm wondering if a lowball offer might be worthwhile ie under $20k. It's black which isn't my favorite color and the paint work could certainly do with a shine.

I'll certainly pull an autocheck and have my mechanic give it the once over before I move further.

But I'm wondering if I'll end up spending as much as buying one in better shape than getting this one up to scratch. I know that's the adage in the Fcar world - buy the best one you can, 'cos there's no such thing as a cheap one, but Fcars are a world unto themselves - I saw a thread about $900 for a replacement hazard light switch for a 328!

However, I'm a cheap b**** at heart, I'd like to be in the low 20's so if I can get into an SLK for a low entry price...

Your thoughts ladies and gentlemen.

SunnyGL

Edited hanKook for Kumho
 

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I would pass. From your description, it doesn't seem well cared for. It's also not your first color choice anyway.

Actually, it also depends on whether you mean it has Hankook Ventus tires or Kumho Ecsta. The Ventus is made by Hankook.

Hankook Ventus (if they are V12 Evo or RS3 or similar,) are very good, grippy tires which could mean the owner had some knowledge. The Kumhos can also be good depending on which Ecsta, but can also just be cheap replacements. Tires are one way to tell an enthusiast owner over someone who just buys tires to keep the car on the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I would pass. From your description, it doesn't seem well cared for. It's also not your first color choice anyway.
Probably 50% or more SLK55's are black from my watching of autotrader et al listings. I've asked the owner for copies of the service records.

Actually, it also depends on whether you mean it has Hankook Ventus tires or Kumho Ecsta. The Ventus is made by Hankook.
You're correct, they're Hankook, getting my Koreans confused. I looked them up on tire rack to see if they were a summer tire.

Hankook Ventus (if they are V12 Evo or RS3 or similar,) are very good, grippy tires which could mean the owner had some knowledge. The Kumhos can also be good depending on which Ecsta, but can also just be cheap replacements. Tires are one way to tell an enthusiast owner over someone who just buys tires to keep the car on the road.
I'd actually prefer to switch to a more all season since I would plan to drive the car most of the year - just avoiding our NE snow.
SunnyGL
 

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I would punt on this one....way too many questions and seems that you would be comprimising on too many things.

I would travel to a nearby state to take a look at other SLKs....with the weather improving soon, make it a mini-weekend getaway!

Come out to CA, lots of SLKs for sale here....even mine in a few months!
 

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Agree with everyone else, I would pass. Mine is an 06' and it doesn't have a scratch, just rock chips but can't avoid those. Try to find the best one you can even if it's out of state, make sure to pay for a PPI, you can't be a cheap [email protected] when it comes to that. And if you are trying to get an AMG for low 20's, I suggest you wait another year. At that price, you are getting a very high mileage one or a beat up one. Good luck with search
 

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Good things happen to those who wait...

I've looked into this car before finding out that it was a "lemon buyback" on the car-fax. I pointed that out to her seeing if it would drive down the price into the sub 20's but she didn't even reply back. I even asked her if she would be ok taking it to a local Benz dealer or an inspection and that seemed to scare her off.

Luck for me, I passed on this one and ended up with a 2005 SLK55 that I picked up in Malibu,CA for $17,500. Yes, high mileage (102K) but, one owner, all service records, transmission service done at 65K and all cosmetic stuff that I can fix (and enjoy doing myself) including cracked/busted out fog light x2, cracked lower bumper and RIMS that are currently being refinished at a local wheel shop. Overall, car is in great shape, and most important to me, rust free.

The owner was willing to have his wife drop his car off at the Benz dealership for an inspection and a report was faxed to me immediately. It made my trek to the west coast to pick up the car that much more comforting.

My point is, be patient, do the necessary research and don't be afraid to branch out, especially when the car spends its life in a road salt free environment.

Good luck in your search!
-Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've looked into this car before finding out that it was a "lemon buyback" on the car-fax. I pointed that out to her seeing if it would drive down the price into the sub 20's but she didn't even reply back. I even asked her if she would be ok taking it to a local Benz dealer or an inspection and that seemed to scare her off.
She said she'd had some interest from outside the MA area and seemed amenable to having a PPI done when I asked. She's also put herself into the difficult position of saying she's leaving the US end of May, so that puts a firm timeline on things and will probably get her an even lower price. When I saw the ad a month ago she was asking $24.6k, now it's down to $22.9.
Clearbook suggests one in fair condition is only worth $18-19k so if I go ahead that's where I'll be looking at. Still waiting to get copies of the service records.


Luck for me, I passed on this one and ended up with a 2005 SLK55 that I picked up in Malibu,CA for $17,500. Yes, high mileage (102K) but, one owner, all service records, transmission service done at 65K and all cosmetic stuff that I can fix (and enjoy doing myself) including cracked/busted out fog light x2, cracked lower bumper and RIMS that are currently being refinished at a local wheel shop. Overall, car is in great shape, and most important to me, rust free.
Good for you. I see one on autotrader that's in Pacoima, CA with 104000 miles @ $18.5k. Assume that's not yours, but seems to come with an interesting option (Not sure how to post links)!

The owner was willing to have his wife drop his car off at the Benz dealership for an inspection and a report was faxed to me immediately. It made my trek to the west coast to pick up the car that much more comforting.
You're in IL? Did you drive it back or ship it.

My point is, be patient, do the necessary research and don't be afraid to branch out, especially when the car spends its life in a road salt free environment.

Good luck in your search!
-Jerry
I started looking at SLKs about 18 months ago. was thinking of a 350 because most AMGs were in the $30k plus range - more than I want to spend. Then they fell out of favor with me (don't punish me!), until I saw a couple on the road recently and thought "darn, they do look good". Now it seems 18 months of further depreciation are seeing a few AMGs falling within my range.

Jerry, perhaps we can share notes on the ones you've investigated?

cheers
SunnyGL

working that post count up!
 

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SLK search

Hi Sunny GL,

Her having to leave the country will help your cause it you decide to go that route...

I believe that the SLK55 for $18.5 is a dealer. I think its in "Diamond Silver." If this is the one I saw, I just didn't want to have to deal with tax, doc, and various fees.

Yes, I flew out to LAX with a buddy of mine, spent the weekend, drove north to San Francisco to visit my family... then drove her back thru Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and into Illinois. The car held up well, and at least I got an opportunity to "test drive" my ride and blow off the carbon deposits.

I was hunting for quite a while and sold my SLK230 6 months prior. I had a budget in mind and realize "you get what you pay for."

I've been seeing a few pop up on ebay motors in the low 20's. Have you been seeing them as well?

Have a good morning,
Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Jerry.
Hi Sunny GL,

Her having to leave the country will help your cause it you decide to go that route...

I believe that the SLK55 for $18.5 is a dealer. I think its in "Diamond Silver." If this is the one I saw, I just didn't want to have to deal with tax, doc, and various fees.
I commented on that one because of the attractive female posed next to it - always think that's a funny way to sell cars to car guys.

Yes, I flew out to LAX with a buddy of mine, spent the weekend, drove north to San Francisco to visit my family... then drove her back thru Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and into Illinois. The car held up well, and at least I got an opportunity to "test drive" my ride and blow off the carbon deposits.
Did you note your mileage at all? Some here have said the V8 does remarkably well on road trips - much better than its 22mpg rating. Then again, if you were exploring the cars potential the mileage may have suffered a little...

I was hunting for quite a while and sold my SLK230 6 months prior. I had a budget in mind and realize "you get what you pay for."

I've been seeing a few pop up on ebay motors in the low 20's. Have you been seeing them as well?

Have a good morning,
Jerry
Yes I keep an eye on all the usual sites. There's a black 06 that's popped up on auto trader with only 35000miles for $20k - seems too good to be true. It's in Houston. The photo of it is lousy.

There's a Gold colored one in your neck of the woods Exotic Motors I think - did you ever check it out?

I assume yours was a private sale and not a dealer from what you've said? If so, did you get a temporary tag for driving it home or did you use the previous owners reg for a bit? It's one of the issues I wonder how to deal with if buying privately from far away.

BTW Would you be willing to share the carfax on the Boston car with me?

Thanks
SunnyGL
 

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CarFax

Hi SunnyGL!

I would love to share the CarFax report with you... just let me try to get my posts up to 15 so I can start sending out PMs :biglaugh:

-Jerry
 

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Additionally...

SunnyGL,

Yeah, I remember that one pic of the woman with the SLK55, not sure if the dealer was offering that as an option? ;) Just Kidding! of course. I agree the interesting things these dealers do to catch your attention.

I one was in contact with a dealer in texas that was selling a Black 2005 SLK55 with Lambo doors, 102K (not my cup of tea). I believe he was willing to do 19K, shipping for 850. (not including tax, title, doc fees) I will fwd you his info as well shortly.

In california, the DMV provides them with a Bill of Sale form that they need to fill out and send out when selling a car. So they have on record that a private party sale was completed and if I were to blow by those toll booths or got parking tickets, all fines would go to me. So the seller provided me with that, as well as the registration and plates. He did not require me to send back the plates when the road trip completed.

My mileage was roughly 22-23 mpg. And I was probably going 75-85mph. Safe to say, my carbon deposits are now gone :D

Yes, I just saw that one too on the ebay. Not a big fan of that color though. I will keep an eye out locally for you but I would strongly urge you to look out for the ones that have been in road-salt-free environments... that way you don't have to worry about rust and the body being beat to sh*t.

Slowly approaching my posting quota! LOL

-Jerry
 

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CarFax sent via PM

SunnyGL,

just sent you a PM x2 with the the CarFax info as per your request.

Sorry for the format, I could only cut and paste it to the message

-Jerry
 

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I will also be looking for a "southern" car for the clean body. I will fly in to pick it up, and drive home.

Definitely getting a good inspection before I agree to a price.

I'll be watching this thread so I can see things progress.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Update time

I'm hoping to arrange an inspection for Thursday. The consensus was to run away, but I think I can get the car for a very good price. Well below $20k.

What say you folk for an under 50k mile SLK55 for well below average asking price?

Also it's spent only the last 2 years in Massachusetts. It was a west coast AZ and CA car before that. And MBs don't rust do they!

Regarding the lemon buyback. According to the carfax it was held by a dealer for several months after the buyback and I would have thought that whatever issue caused the buyback would have been resolved. The current owner has had it for 2+ years and said its been problem free.

cheers
SunnyGL
 

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I'm hoping to arrange an inspection for Thursday. The consensus was to run away, but I think I can get the car for a very good price. Well below $20k.

What say you folk for an under 50k mile SLK55 for well below average asking price?

Also it's spent only the last 2 years in Massachusetts. It was a west coast AZ and CA car before that. And MBs don't rust do they!

Regarding the lemon buyback. According to the carfax it was held by a dealer for several months after the buyback and I would have thought that whatever issue caused the buyback would have been resolved. The current owner has had it for 2+ years and said its been problem free.

cheers
SunnyGL

You are one brave soldier....I hope you have about $5k-$6k in your pocket for comfort IF you buy this car that screams RUN AWAY!

At least you'll have a bunch of guys here that can help if you run aground!
 

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or tell you, we told you so!
 

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Regarding the lemon buyback. According to the carfax it was held by a dealer for several months after the buyback and I would have thought that whatever issue caused the buyback would have been resolved. The current owner has had it for 2+ years and said its been problem free.

cheers
SunnyGL
Assumption #1 you would be incorrect-just because it sat on the lot, doesnt mean they fixed it. Whatever cost the dealer had into that car, he could easily leave it sit thinking time heals all wounds. It does not-nor do they have to repair anything. They are in the business to make money and flip-not repair lemons.

Assumption #2 just because the current owner SAYS it was problem free doesn't mean it was.

Fact - people lie, they just do. Whatever it takes to get the unit off the lot or sold and out the door.

Case in point-I just purchased my 2003 SLK from a local dealer 1 week ago today. It had 99,950 miles on it. I took ALL the precautions-I had a car guy with me, I had the car fax, I had the service records from MB before I even walked in the door [you know you can take that VIN and call any MB dealership and they'll gladly give you the history if it was serviced at any MB dealership they are linked through the master database], so I thought I was in good shape. The ONE thing I was told and assured of-was that my schedule B maintenance [the 100k checkup] was done. I was also promised a copy of the maintenance schedule from the service department. So I bought the car.

Did I ever get a copy of that maintenance schedule? no
Did I call the dealership the very next day and ask them what was done to it? Yes,- an oil change and they CLEANED the filters, they didn't even replace them. But I did look up and price schedule B maintenance costs so I was aware of what to expect when I got the car.

The question is-now that we're heading into drop top season, will you wait and be choosy? OR do you have enough cash in the bank to throw at a lemon? The amount of money you're going to have to spend just to make it right under the hood will blow your mind. Much less all the pretty cosmetics.

I am not a veteren here, im a complete newbie. But I know a little something about big ticket purchases and the cost to make a lemon right. I'll tell you about my 83 bmw another time.

Do not ignore your gut and good luck!
 

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If your gut feeling tells you to fun, you better run.
I am not in your part of the world but the cost of fixing one of those thing is gut-retching. It took me more than 5 months to finally found my SLK but i tell you it is worth the wait. If you are buying a vintage, then go ahead. Not a R171.
I once heard a comment, "When you take your SLK55 to the garage to be fix, the shop knows you have a bit of cash to buy a car like that and they will not hesitate to find it. "
Good luck to your quest, i am sure there is more fish in USA than a banged up one.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Well, everyone is being quite helpful if generally saying don't do it.

The catch for me is that I have a initial negotiated price well below $20k and have an inspection set up for Friday. At this price I have quite a big margin over the cars I see with much higher mileage on autotrader et al, eg one with a flood title at an asking price of $21k.

When I described the car as less than pristine in the opening post it really wasn't that bad. The inspection will sort things out better. Front bumper damage seems common to these vehicles because of its design and lowness and door dings are all too common in cramped city living.

Regarding the car's history, I would have thought a buyback would have been by the manufacturer, i.e. MB, not a dealer and they would get a dealer to remedy the issue as warranty work. Would it not be better to fix it once and for all than have the thing come back again? Especially if you're a high end manufacturer like MB.

I called the local dealer and got some recent service history - tranny fluid at the recommended 40k miles, head gasket, the cause of the dreaded oil leak? in 2009. The service advisor didn't want to try and interpret the service codes further back in the car's history and I have some of that on the car fax (thanks again Jerry!). Does anyone know if a call directly to MB would get some further history?

If you guys think SLK's are pricey to run hop on over to Ferrari-chat and see what those guys pay for parts! Often 5x as much for a generic part when its got the horse on the box. I've had a look at parts on-line and it seems to me they're not a whole lot higher than the Infiniti I currently own (PS G35x up for sale!). Except the front rotor discs - they're really, really expensive on an AMG and will be an important part of the inspection.

I'll keep you posted!
SunnyGL

PS Is there one of those smilies for "I know - you told me so" Maybe this::hb: ?
 
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