This is it.
Not black but code 950 "Benitoite Blue Metallic" that seems to change to almost a dark touquoise in the right light. (Benitoite is a rare blue barium titanium silicate mineral, found in hydrothermally altered serpentinite)
No belt but proper timing chains
No rush since the GTP was taking up space & thought I'd have to settle for a Cad XLR (DOHC V8, five or six speed automagic) but the owners stayed proud and few were under 20k. Monitored the forum but owners didn't seem very interested in mechanicals.
Meanwhile have reached an age where the IRS insists you use part of your savings and what better place than the retractable I had been pursueing.
At the same time I found that I was really enjoying the Crossfire except that the six-speed manual was not the best thing when I-4 gets clogged. And was almost a Merc anyway (SKL320 (R170) made in Germany but bodied by Chrysler).
Had really gotten far from my GM roots and have always thought of the Merc as "the world's best taxicab" while a 240D I replaced the vaccuum pump for a friend was the filthiest engine I had ever worked on but both were a long time ago.
And then I saw the nose:
Guess it it something you either love or hate but something appealed to me so began looking. Very quickly I found there was a very active community of SLK owners at SLKWorld, one of the essentials for any car I consider. Then there was the service manual. First place I looked was at eBay, my source in the past for service manuals. Found a large number of offerings on CD but since I prefer electronic and do not always have a web connection. What I received was not expected, 4 DVDs packed with compressed files, that seemed to have everything imaginable, so much that I am still learning how to use it. Well worth the price.
So my two big criteria, an active forum and a factory service manual (and parts book) were in place and I could begin looking. Started out trying to find one with a manual transmission ad was one about ten miles away at a dealer but for some reason it was never there when I arrived and then was suddenly sold.
So even though about 10% had the manual transmission, there seemed to be few in Florida (and to import a car from a different state is an ex$pen$ive process). So having a bad day on I-4 in the Crossie, I began looking at automagics & found that most SLKs received a seven-speed and Merc had been using them for some time. Seven is better than six right ? This opened the floodgates. Apparently the SLK was a very popular car in Florida and most were on dealer lots. Went to look at a 2008 at a Ford dealer but after starting the AC turned out to be thoroughly ex. They said it would be fixed and would call when ready but never did and again was suddenly sold. Guess they don't like cash buyers.
In the meantime I had found some invaluable resouces for buying a used Mercedes:
- Vindecoderz that can show exactly how a car was built.
- VehicleHistory for the history of the car.
plus the Florida VIN checker to show any liens
- Florida DHS
Let's just say that I now have complete histories on over two dozen cars.
But am always mindful of "close every door except the right one". It happens to me a lot.
Was looking at a lot of things, Craigslist, Auto Gurus, Auto Trader, etc. When suddenly two popped up. One in Clermont and one local. Sent eMails to both. Clermont responded. Next evening it was in my garage.
Not perfect, 120k miles but priced accordingly. Very nice 5/5 car that presents very well in a deep blue and gray interior (Not Black) Not many options (did have the CD changer & I'd rather have the glove compartment). No flappy paddles but probaly would not use them anyway. Does have upgraded headlamps which for me is a Good Thing. Interior needs a good cleaning and some sheepskin seatcovers (have on my converticle & are cool in summer)
But there was one picture that grabbed me enough that was sure I needed to see the car
The NOT BLACK interior and the factory windbreaker. This means you can run at 70 with the top down and windows up in an unruffled quiet.
Now in the process of making it suit me. Have added my Phone for handsfree/GPS/tunes. Must admit am surprised how little the COMAND display does. I just leave on AUX/Night/Max Dim and control volume at the steering wheel (both the display and the wheel have a lot of buttons that do little). OTOH my 88 Reatta has a touchscreen that can display engine paramenters and dagnostics, HVAC, MPG, & entertainment. Maybe good since it does not matter if I block it with my phone (of all the cars I looked at exactly one had the 38x phone accomodation package).
So have a new resident in the garage and suspect it will be here for a while. Such a life.
ps this is a work in progress, have only had it for a day (though the search took months).