By on September 17, 2018

2000 Mercedes-Benz C230 in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

During my junkyard travels, I see plenty of highzoot European luxury sedans, as once the owner of one of these complex masterpieces of technology stops getting every problem fixed, they depreciate down to hooptie-Sentra price levels in a hurry.

Today’s Junkyard Find is a fairly clean 21st-century C-Class with some rough edges, discarded because it’s not worth spending $2,500 for some minor mechanical repair on a car that’s worth $1,800.

2000 Mercedes-Benz C230 in Colorado wrecking yard, engine - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThese “Kompressor” supercharged engines aren’t all that easy to find in wrecking yards, so I didn’t include this blower type in my guide to junkyard superchargers last year. If you want a cheap blower that’s easy to replace when it ingests a peck of road gravel, the GM 3800’s Eaton, the Mazda Millenia’s IHI-built Lysholm, and the Toyota Previa’s Aisin units are much easier to obtain. This engine was rated at 185 horsepower, which was decent for a 3,250-pound car in 2000 (the current C-Class weighs 500-1,000 pounds more).

2000 Mercedes-Benz C230 in Colorado wrecking yard, interior - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThis car was such a recent yard arrival that it hadn’t been put up on stands yet, which is why this nice interior is still there. Mercedes-Benz seats like this get grabbed right away.

2000 Mercedes-Benz C230 in Colorado wrecking yard, hood ornament - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThese hood ornaments get pocketed within days of arriving in a wrecking yard, too. There’s probably some guy in Denver with 500 of these in his garage.

2000 Mercedes-Benz C230 in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe paint is good, indicating that the car spent most of its life garaged, but tape residue indicates that its final owner performed some Field Expedient Repairs on a single-digit-dollars sort of a budget. You can get away with that sort of thing on, say, a Chevy Malibu, but not on a modern Mercedes-Benz.

2000 Mercedes-Benz C230 in Colorado wrecking yard, decklid badge - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThis car listed new at $31,750, or about $47,400 in 2018 dollars; it was the final year of the W202 C-Class, so perhaps prices dropped as buyers awaited the ’01 W203. A new Daewoo Leganza was just $14,399 that year… and is worth about the same as a 2000 C-Class today.


Let’s imagine this car in happier times, with Mika Häkkingen at the wheel.


The W202 wasn’t designed to compete with other cars. It was designed to replace them.

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24 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2000 Mercedes-Benz C230...”


  • avatar
    gtem

    Sad to see a car with a straight body like this go to the yard. My cousin has owned a number of Mercedes, several of this body style c class, a w210 and w211 e class. All much higher mile and much more worn than this (Siberian operating conditions have got to be some of the worst in the world). His last w210 had 500k KM on it. He’d kill to get his hands on an old c class like that with a rot free body, everything else is easy enough to rebuild or replace.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    I started junkyarding/pik-a-parting a few years ago when I was in grad school in early middle age and trying to keep my y2k compact looking spiffy and neat. The most surprising thing (but not surprising now) was the number of cosmetically nice Audis and VW’s. To a lesser extent MB, BMW. They obviously had mechanical issues that were just too pricey to deal with. On the other hand the typical US and Japanese stuff was 10-15 years old and heavily worn out.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I had one of these as a lease back in the day. Nice car, fun to drive with a stick

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    Probably ended life as a ghetto-cruiser for L’emonG’ello and his boyz.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    One of my neighbors is quite fond of rotting German steel. They have two Mercedes. Both of which are in the 10-20 year old vintage range, an E-class and an S-Class. Both have serious rust issues, trim falling off. The S-class has a serious suspension problem at one corner. But they keep running somehow. I am not very friendly with those neighbors, somehow they have the most expensive house in my sub and the $hittiest cars. Not sure if it is a conscious choice or budgetary constraints, but I would love to see them in the next installment of junkyard finds.

    • 0 avatar
      gasser

      Good for them!!
      Economics 102: keep your $ in appreciating assets, not depreciating assets.

      • 0 avatar
        chrishs2000

        I’m quite sure I’d think the opposite way-that it would be a sign of overleveraging unless they just sit in the driveway all day. If it was a pair of Lexus’ sure, but $/mile cost of a 10-20 year old high end German car is not pretty unless they’re extremely lucky or the guy has the time and expertise to work on them. Even ‘just keeping them running’ can get you something in the range of an economy car lease to a off demo C or E Class lease.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    What’s the $2500 repair here?

  • avatar
    millmech

    What repair would be that cheap?
    Got it! – Lots of Little Trees!

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Every corner of the car has low speed damage – wondering if grandma/grandpa died or got sent to a home, and the car had too many issues to sell, or the folks doing the estate sale said, “this is worthless, just have a scrap yard take it.”

    That is one interesting get her done repair on the passenger rear corner.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Cosmetically at least, this looks like it could have been a WHEELER DEALERS candidate as of six or so months ago. I’ll defer to MBella and others, however, that something expensive or inherently flawed could’ve knocked this off the road.

      Did the relative nadir for Mercedes coincide with this car, or did it happen a few years later? A boss of mine has owned, if I recall, a W202, a W203, and a W204. At least within her garage, the W203 was the problem child; its successor was improved, and its predecessor was a far better car.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    We owned a 2000 SLK SE with this powerplant, good but not great power, but it was a really comfortable touring type car but not a true sports car. It had an amazingly comfortable ,quiet interior for how small and short wheelbased it actually was.The motor is a bit gruff, compared to the audi 90q/e36 6 cyl powerplants I had prior.
    It was trouble free except it liked turn signal bulbs annually.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    Maybe i’m crazy, but I can see value in SOME old German stuff for CERTAIN buyers.

    Personally, I’d rather drive on old Benz or bimmer than a ragged out Sentra for the same money.

    My logic…
    Provided it’s a bread and butter model like a basic C class or 3 Series, and not a complex, high-end S or 7 series, you can get yourself a pretty reliable car for dirt. Also, everything that made them more appealing to drive than a sentra when new still holds true today: better driving dynamics, safety, comfort, etc.
    As long as you can find one that’s been maintained and in decent shape and can stomach doing minor repairs yourself, why not?

    I’d rather buy a good-running e46 for $2500, keep it on the road doing the bare minimum with cheap parts, then sell it for a few hundred bucks or junk it in 2-3 years when something expensive finally breaks. At least I’d have gotten to enjoy driving a BMW than living with a penalty box.

    If you do your homework and aren’t afraid to get dirty once in awhile, they can be good buys.

    Case in point: I bought a nice Volvo 850 years ago with only 68k miles off the original owner for $3k. I drove it for 50k miles, fixing surprisingly few things in that time, and sold it for $2k 3 years later. I’m working on doing the same thing with my BMW Z3, bought for $3k. 3 years of ownership and less than $1k in repairs. And it’s waaaay more fun than an Altima on my weekend errands. Of course, I have a newish Highlander sitting by just in case, but still…

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      This is sort of what I’d like to think I’m getting with the ’01 A4 (30V V6/Quattro/stick) I’m picking up this weekend. Still the era of basic electrics and solid fundamentals (no fast wearing timing chains, coking up DI, DSGs, etc). I’m likewise decently equipped to diagnose and service it if need-be, and the price of the car is already below market. If it starts costing me a lot, I’ll just cut and run. And like you mention in the end, I’ve got my trusty old Toyota as backup.

      • 0 avatar
        e30gator

        I’d pull the trigger if I could get one cheap enough. Especially with the 5-speed. Nice. Most haters are probably the tinfoil hat types who’ve never owned an old German car.

        Frankly, I’ve never found them to be much of a problem to work on or get affordable parts for if you get a popular model, know where to look for parts, and manage expectations. Of course, I have never been faced with owning one when a transmission or an ECU failed, but if I did I’d just cut and run, as you say. Isn’t that exactly what anyone would do with a ragged out Sentra? YOLO!

  • avatar
    skor

    Murilee is correct, junk yards are full of Euro luxury cars with straight bodies. The is because these cars cost so much to repair when out of warranty, they even cost a lot for a DIYer, if DIY is even possible, which in many cases it is not. I believe it’s by design. By getting these cars off the road before they can become ghetto hoopties, it prevents the brand image from being soiled, which is what happened to Cadillac and Lincoln back in the day.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      From what I’ve seen, in Europe the old luxury cars go to Spain. Or Espain, if you will. “I drive a Mercedes E class,” says the stylish middle-aged lady with the voice cigarette-dragged down an octave lower than her husband’s. It’s as old as her son, who’s making good use of his Spanish engineering degree as a waiter in France, but it’s a Mercedes. Maybe sonny will inherit it one day, if he doesn’t inherit Grandpa’s emerald-green Audi A6 2.7 first.

      The really old luxury cars go to the former Soviet republics. I think a road tour of Vintage Mercedes-Benzistan would be an awesome documentary.

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