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classic - Durable car ownership

Hi, We supposedly live in a green age with an aversion to the throw away society. I am interested in whether durable car ownership can be a reality. The blurb from some car restoration retailers would have you believe that running an infinitely repairable car is much cheaper in the long run than any new eurobox. The problem is that such refurbished cars start at £7K plus. Is there any web site/ book / review that can give a balanced opinion so that I can judge whether going the sustainable route is an option for me? Thank you. Perrins


madf    on 19 January 2011

If you are not DIY capable, bangeromics does not work.

Edited by madf on 19/01/2011 at 10:54

ForumNeedsModerating    on 19 January 2011

I think the phase 'infinitely repairable' is probably quite correct - you'd be forever planning the next reapir/refurbishment phase. Cars, whether we like it or not are simply 'white goods' & most would soon tire of the hassle home DIY, or blanche at the cost of frequent garage trips.

Sulphur Man    on 19 January 2011

Hello - I bought a 1994 Mercedes E280 Estate back in April 2007. Although not quite a classic (yet), its the epitome of durability, the last of the great over-engineered Mercs.

I needed a big, practical, comfortable car for family duties, and driving holidays into Europe. After doing some careful research, I decided to pay good money for the best one I could find, which cost £5800 with FSH, lots of nice extras, and 130K miles on the clock.

Coming upto 4 yrs of ownership, and 169K miles on the odo, I can honestly say it's the best car I've ever owned, both financially and practically. Annual servicing has taken care of everything, a few unforseens and added expenditure, such as a new exhaust and backbox. On average, the car has cost £450 per annum to maintain, using a local specialist.
It's driven from Surrey across to South West Ireland, on a two week holiday. Its been to the South of France for another fortnight, to Belgium twice, Lake District repeatedly and several day trips to Calais (it can hold alot of wine). Never missed a beat. It's also swallowed two single beds, with the seats folded down, and performed endless load-carrying duties without issue, thanks to brilliant self-levelling suspension.

The only downside is the mpg, which averages 25mpg - not awful but not great with current forecourt prices. Mine has the optional 5-speed auto, which is more economical than the 4-spd. However, its a leisure car, not a commuter, so not a huge dent on the wallet.

If you can still find a good W124, and have some mechanic skills (I don't) then it might fit the bill

madf    on 19 January 2011

BIL has a MB 300d: W124 with 3 litre diesel - from 5 years old and 50k miles... now 18 years old and 170k miles.

Durable? Yes.. IF well maintained. Starting to be expensive now for major repairs: rear suspension rebuild, front balljoints, starter motor , propshaft central bearing...etc..

I consider £450 plus a year maintenance a no-no as for that you could buy a new banger every year.

(We ran a Peugeot 106 for 17 years and annual maintence was oil and filter changes £50 plus occasional brakes and exhaust every 5-7 years).

By now most W124s need new engine mountings and most rubber parts are worn/perished.. Not a cheap car to run as a daily driver..

(I drove a MB 260E - W124- from new and it was nice but not that reliable and cost a fortune to maintain doing 25k miles a year - and that was 20 years ago. Horrible in snow).

Edited by madf on 19/01/2011 at 14:09

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