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1998 Mercedes CL600; Flip, Drive, or Part Out

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  • 1998 Mercedes CL600; Flip, Drive, or Part Out

    Picked up a 1998 Mercedes CL600 today. That's the big V12 powered GT Coupe that my Riviera is honestly kinda patterned on for what I want it to be like in terms of a big, powerful, and luxurious coupe that can eat the miles and handle spirited driving on twisty roads as well. Found it on Craigslist because I've always wanted a V12 car and the C140 chassis coupes are the perfect donors for the interior as they are a bucket front and bucket rear car without all of the crazy body modules to make them all work.
    Back story on the car is it was the personal vehicle of the owner of a storage/salvage yard out in the Delta here in the Bay Area. He passed away and left the property to his son who has started trying to recapitalize on the property. Unfortunately his sister took all of the keys and has been saying NO to anyone who asked for them out of spite it seems. I paid her $500 for the keys since the car is pure scrap without them as this era of Mercedes has an RFID key system that will not work without the right key fob and the whole system is no longer available through MB USA. I'm not going to say how much I paid for the car but it fits well within the $5000 rules.

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    Plan at this point is unsure. I know I can make my money back either by flipping it or parting it out (or at least make enough money that justifies the parts I want from it) however it's such a cool and in such good shape I'm tempted to make it mine... Honestly, I don't want to deal with the $780 in DMV back fees on it so I'm pretty sure I'll drive it to be able to say it does drive and maybe check smog but I'm most likely to pass on the car whole or the pieces I don't need vs. having a new set of wheels.
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    tedly likes this.
    Central TEXAS Sleeper
    USAF Physicist

    ROA# 9790

  • #2
    2 computer motors, if the entire car works - they're a blast, if anything (and I do mean anything) is wrong with it electronically... run away. I have a friend who bought the AMG Black* version of that for about the price of those keys.... looked like your car but had gremlins... he figured he could cheap out and fix it... nope, after spending several thousand, he scrapped it. The car was beautiful and black - but wow what a nightmare

    *while it was black, there are people who doubling the new price isn't enough, for those people there is the Black version... the factory tuner, tuner's version.... I think when new the car was $160,000
    Doing it all wrong since 1966

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    • #3
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      I'm probably wrong

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      • #4
        What are DMV back fees?
        I'm probably wrong

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        • #5
          Originally posted by tedly View Post
          What are DMV back fees?
          Har Har Har.... I really wish I was in TX for a lot of reasons including this. In CA the car owes fees for being even in the state. Move here and they ask you day it entered and you pay a pro-rated amount back to that date. Off the road without registration, either active or "planned non-operation" and it stacks up. Since this is a lien sale title, due to being on the property, it's a max of 3yrs of back fees or $781.

          I really don't think I have the patience or desire to keep up with proper maintenance on what still is a $136K original sticker price car. It'll either become a parts donor for the Riv or head off to someone else. It's coming back to life slowly, tomorrow will be draining the fuel tank and lines at the fuel filter then an oil change before I try firing her up!
          Last edited by CTX-SLPR; February 15, 2020, 08:41 PM.
          silver_bullet likes this.
          Central TEXAS Sleeper
          USAF Physicist

          ROA# 9790

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          • #6
            I'd say get rid of it. It's a beautiful car, but it has the "green" wiring. That is, the sheathing is biodegradable, at some point it will start to crack and turn to dust, and when it does, game over, you'll be chasing electrical gremlins forever. I believe that's from the era where the Daimler-Chrysler merger (really a takeover) was a thing and they were starting to really cheap out on things.

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            • #7
              My vote is for nitrous it till it pukes, then use the interior.

              Wait... what about a home made intake, Webers or dual quads, and a T56?
              Last edited by tedly; February 16, 2020, 09:03 PM.
              I'm probably wrong

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              • #8
                Gut the Mercedes wiring and computers, all of it. Add a $200 Speedway wiring kit, Megasquirt the drivetrain, forget the factory dash display and use an old iPad or such for gauges. Adapt the hvac to manual controls or toss it and add a cheapo heater defrost to it.

                Then drive the tar outta it!
                Last edited by STINEY; February 16, 2020, 11:06 AM. Reason: freaking idiotic auto correct
                silver_bullet and tedly like this.
                Of all the paths you take in life - make sure a few of them are dirt.

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                • #9
                  Won't let me multiquote but the biodegratable wiring stopped in 95/96 so this one is clean of that charge. If I kept this I'd have to sell off the Riviera and I'm far more attached to that car than this one.

                  Originally posted by STINEY View Post
                  Gut the Mercedes wiring and computers, all of it. Add a $200 Speedway wiring kit, Megasquirt the drivetrain, forget the factory dash display and use an old iPad or such for gauges. Adapt the hvac to manual controls or toss it and add a cheapo heater defrost to it.

                  Then drive the tar outta it!
                  If only that was CA legal... If I part it out I'll keep the engine for something and that will be smog exempt in some fashion so yeah, megasquirted V12 with a stand alone box for the trans.
                  Central TEXAS Sleeper
                  USAF Physicist

                  ROA# 9790

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                  • #10
                    Try to flip it to some fool not willing to do the research?
                    Last edited by silver_bullet; February 16, 2020, 06:37 PM.
                    Patrick & Tammy
                    - Long Haulin' 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014...Addicting isn't it...??

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                    • #11
                      Make a trustworthy contact in a rust-belt state and ship all of the non-CA-conforming cars you can get your hands on there. Sell, Rinse, Repeat.

                      Of all the paths you take in life - make sure a few of them are dirt.

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                      • #12
                        Already have someone in ATL interested in it. I'll see what he's offering.
                        Central TEXAS Sleeper
                        USAF Physicist

                        ROA# 9790

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by STINEY View Post
                          Make a trustworthy contact in a rust-belt state and ship all of the non-CA-conforming cars you can get your hands on there. Sell, Rinse, Repeat.
                          That wouldn't last a day up here, I bet. Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago within a 2-3 hour drive? No idea what it would go for, but if it's a running Mercedes with no rust or body damage someone will snag it.
                          I'm probably wrong

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                          • #14
                            They're REALLY plentiful out here.
                            My hobby is needing a hobby.

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                            • #15
                              Got it running today. Also dude in ATL has agreed to a price since I've gotten it running. Part of me still wants to part it out so I have a V12 stashed away and the interior I was looking for in the Riviera but I can make money this way which is better than just spending it.

                              Has at least one noisy lifter, going to see if I can't free that up so it run quiet because it's already smoooooooth!
                              Central TEXAS Sleeper
                              USAF Physicist

                              ROA# 9790

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