Junkyard Find: 2000 Mercedes-Benz CLK 430 Coupe

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 2000 mercedes benz clk 430 coupe

Luxury coupes were falling out of favor among well-heeled American car shoppers around the turn of the century, with luxury trucks gaining sales ground by the minute, but that didn’t stop Mercedes-Benz from releasing a sporty new C-Class-based two-door with a big V8 and big price tag, starting in the 1999 model year: The CLK 430. As so often happens with costly European luxury machinery, this one took a hard depreciation hit during its time on the road, and now it resides in a Northern California self-service yard.

List price on this car started at $49,100 (about $81,100 today), with the V6-powered CLK 320 coupe priced at $41,600. The convertible version of the CLK430 cost an impressive $55,600.

AMG versions of the CLK became available starting in the 2002 model year (yes, they show up in junkyards now), which must have motivated this car’s owner to drop $15.99 on a badge.

Even without the AMG hardware, the CLK 430 was plenty powerful; this 4.3-liter V8 made 275 horsepower. That’s 15 fewer than the ’00 Lexus SC 400 got, but the Lexus weighed 300 pounds more than the Mercedes-Benz.

At some point, probably not long before this car ended up here, the original Black Opal Metallic hood was replaced by this Brilliant Silver one. Perhaps that hood was purchased from this very yard.

How long did the final owner drive the car in this condition? We cannot say.

In its younger days, this CLK was sold used under the factory Starmark program.

I’d need to power up the ECU and the gauge cluster to get the final odometer reading on this car. I’ve done so with an 8xAAA battery pack and test leads on a Subaru Forester, but I suspect that a Mercedes-Benz would resist my crude attempts to wake up the odometer.

Pretty much the same thing as a jetpack.

For links to nearly 2,300 additional Junkyard Finds, check out the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.

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3 of 48 comments
  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Jan 18, 2022

    I can't recall if there was a non-AMG 430 but I so wanted one of these in V8 for years. Given what I know now, probably never going to happen and an R129 would be the better choice of headache.

    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Jan 18, 2022

      Additional: I read on an MB site the expected lifespan of the auto trans in this period was only 125K. Not sure if that could be extended by changing the "lifetime" fluid or not.

  • Brad Brad on Jan 17, 2023

    This brings back some fond memories for me. I sold a 1995 Acura Legend Coupe (which I loved but was really getting up in miles) for an AMG CLK Mercedes just before making a a move to Austin, Texas in the early 2000s from the NYC area.

    Fortunately, I got out of the Mercedes before the warranty expired & there was a pretty high demand for the AMG model in Austin & actually got pretty good money out of it considering the typical total nightmare depreciation of German Cars - And it was a really great solid relativity quick car that in it's early interations didn't seem as commonplace as they are now.

  • Cprescott I remember when Fords were affordable.
  • Cprescott As a once very LOYAL FORD buyer, I had to replace my 22 year old Ford (bought new in 1997) once it finally started to have problems at 180k miles. I would have gladly purchased something like this from Ford but they abandoned me as a car buyer. Oddly, Hyundai still builds cars in a variety of flavors so I became a customer of theirs and am very happy. Likely will consider another once this one gets up in mileage.
  • SCE to AUX A friend once struck a mounted tire that was laying flat in the middle of her lane on the PA Turnpike. She was in a low late-90s Grand Prix, and the impact destroyed the facia, core support, radiators, oil pan, transmission, subframe, and suspension. They fixed it all.
  • Dukeisduke Lol, it's not exactly a Chevrolet SS with Holden badging.
  • Dukeisduke Years ago, I was driving southbound along North Central Expressway (south of Mockingbird Lane, for locals), and watched a tire and wheel fall out of the bed of a pickup (no tailgate), bounce along, then centerpunch the front end of a Honda Accord. It wasn't pretty.