Piston Slap: The Spare 300E Needs a National Bricklin Museum?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap the spare 300e needs a national bricklin museum

Fabio writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I have been asked by an uncle if I would like to his 91 Mercedes 300E (he has supplied all of his children and is now moving to the extended family). It has 230K km (140K miles) and looks to be in pretty good condition. He’s mentioned that it has been very reliable. The purchase price would be negligible and the insurance is reasonable. One of my concerns is that I would be using the car as my daily driver (it would be replacing my current 99 Grand Am (170K miles) and I wanted to get another take on that – is it reasonable, or is it not a good idea.

I’ve read a bit up on that vehicle and it seems to have a decent reputation for longevity (with the required maintenance). I was hoping if you could provide some insight as to whether this seems like a feasible idea, or would I just be better off sticking with the Grand Am.

Sajeev answers:

Short answer? This is a great car from the good old days of German engineering, but I don’t see you stomaching the occasional $1-3000 repair bill if you use it on a daily basis. Older cars aren’t good daily drivers, especially German ones with somewhat pricey and hard to find replacement parts. Unless you have a lot of faith in the car’s service records and age/brand of replacement parts, you should avoid this vehicle at all costs. That’s my general advice, unless you have something that might sway me otherwise.

Fabio answers back:

Sajeev, I’m fairly certain that the car was well serviced (my uncle was the only owner), however I will have an independent shop take a look to see what the lay of the land is. Now I’ve got to see how I can say, “No, you can keep your free Mercedes.” :-)

Are there any circumstances that you would acquire such a vehicle (see how I’m looking for an answer that I would like to hear, instead of the right one)?


Damn, son! Why didn’t you say that before? I can do this cake-eat-it-too scenario!

So do you have the room to keep a second car? Collector car insurance is cheap, and yours probably applies. So honestly, having a Grand Am and a 300E for occasional use would be quite fun. And quite awesome.


I currently park on the street, but I also have a private spot behind my house (off of the alley). I’d have to see from my insurance about the classic car insurance.


Shop around, there are plenty of providers of classic car insurance. And they all have different rules. I use State Farm and my brother uses the National Corvette Museum for it…seriously! Everyone is in this game!

You are on your way to owning two cars, that’s the smarter move than one old car only!


Yeah. What could possibly go wrong? :-) I’ll see if we have the Canadian equivalent of the Corvette museum up here – perhaps the National Bricklin Museum?

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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2 of 47 comments
  • Alwaysinthecar Alwaysinthecar on Sep 09, 2011

    Reading these comments makes me think maybe I took a wrong turn and ended up in Cuba or something. You people are complaining about 20 year old cars with tons of miles on them. This isn't about collecting vintage cars as future assets, but driving an old used machine that may or may not keep running without upkeep and expense. There's not going to be any free lunch either way. Just a pricier lunch for perhaps some healthier food or a run to McDonalds to at least keep you from starving.

  • Andy D Andy D on Sep 10, 2011

    MY daily drivers are a pair of 88 BMW 528es The maintenance is a fairly constant series of small issues. But I can keep the cars maintained to a level where they dont fail to be reliable. My first 528e , managed 350 kmiles in 12 yrs without a breakdown requiring a tow truck. But to have to pay a "professional" would be a deal breaker.

  • FreedMike Next up should DEFINITELY be the Cadillac Eldorado. On the subject of Caddies, I saw a Lyriq in person for the first time a couple of days ago, and I'm changing my tune on its' styling. In person, it works quite well, and the interior is very nicely executed.
  • Probert Sorry to disappoint: https://robbreport.com/motors/cars/tesla-model-y-worlds-best-selling-vehicle-1234848318/and any list. of articles with a 1 second google search. It's a tough world out there - but you can do it!!!!!!
  • ToolGuy "We're marking the anniversary of the time Robert Farago started the GM death watch and called for the company to die."• No, we aren't. Robert Farago wrote that in April 2005. It was reposted in 2009 on the eve of the actual bankruptcy filing.The byline dates are sometimes strange/off with the site revisions (and the 'this is a repost' note got lost), but the date string in the link is correct (...2005/04...). Posting about GM bankruptcy in 2005 was a slightly more difficult call than doing it in 2009.-- The Truth About Calendars
  • Kat Laneaux Agree with Michael500, we wasted all that money just to bail out GM and they are developing these cars in China and other countries. What the heck. I understand the cheap labor but that is just another foothold the government has on their citizens and they already treat them like crap. That is pretty disgusting to go forward to put other peoples health and mental stability on a crazy crazed, control freak, leader, who is in bed with Russia. Thought about getting a buick but that just shot that one out of the park. All of this for the greed. They get what they lay in bed with. Disgusting.
  • Michael500 Good thing Obama used $50 billion of taxpayer money to bail them out and give unions a big stake. GM is headed to BK again with their Hail Mary hope of EVs. Hopefully a Republican in office will let them go BK the next time, and it's coming. The US economy is not related/dependent on GM and their Chinese made Buicks.