As President Trump’s proposed tariffs threaten to increase the cost of importing foreign cars to the U.S., CNN reported that German automakers will be among the hardest hit. With that in mind, there’s no time like the present to buy that new Mercedes-Benz.
Of course, if you want to steer clear of the tariff debate, there are plenty of sweet Mercedes already cruising America’s roads. Hagerty Valuation information analyst Jesse Pilarski stresses that whenever you shop for an older German vehicle, “it is important to do the proper research and know what to look for in terms of common issues.” With that said, here are three almost-classic Mercedes worth buying right now.
Unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show in March 1993, mid-range E-Class W210 cars are currently the hottest Mercedes in the collector car market. With a Hagerty Vehicle Rating of 83 points, they jumped 22 spots, rising from 57th on the list to 29th. They’re also affordable; W210s carry an average #3 value of $5200. Values are increasing, however. They’re up 5 percent since August 2017. Pilarski says Hagerty’s interest/demand metrics are strong, with a 33-percent increase in quotes and a 27-percent increase in the number of cars added to Hagerty policies over the last 12 months.
The first-generation Mercedes-Benz SLK also skipped a few rungs on the HVR ladder. Tied with the W210 at 57th the last time around, it currently sits 44th. “We haven’t moved value in almost seven years, but quotes are up 38 percent over the last year,” Pilarski says. “And the actual number of two-seat SLKs added to Hagerty policies has increased 76 percent in the last 12 months.” With such strong demand metrics and current average #3 values of less than $10,000, these cars could see a decent increase in value during the coming years.
We called out the R129 SL—which debuted at the 1989 Geneva Motor Show—as one of the best buys on our 2018 Hagerty Bull Market list, and values are starting to increase, with Hagerty Price Guide numbers up 6 percent over the last eight months. According to our numbers, quotes are up 6 percent, and the number of 1990–2002 SLs added to Hagerty policies has increased 12 percent over the last year, both solid growth indicators. Enthusiasts are drawn to 1996–98 models because they have both a computer-controlled five-speed transmission (first used in 1996) and a four-cam, four-valve V-8 engine (dropped after 1998). Even the most desirable are valued at just over $10k.
Editor’s note: The Hagerty Vehicle Rating tracks a vehicle’s performance relative to the rest of the market, based on a 0–100 scale. A 50-point rating indicates that a vehicle is keeping pace with the market overall. Ratings above 50 indicate above-average appreciation, while ratings below 50 indicate vehicles that are lagging. The rating takes into account the number of vehicles insured and quoted through Hagerty, along with auction activity and private sales.