In many ways there’s nothing more costly than a 21-year-old Mercedes, but the flip side of the risk is the massive depreciation. And while we’re taking risks, why not consider cars with salvage titles? As fans of old European orphan cars know, massive depreciation means even a small shunt will get an otherwise decent car written off. And just like that, you can get a generally decent top-of-the-line sedan for really short money. Check out this 1995 Mercedes C36 AMG for sale for $3500 in San Francisco, CA.
Silver paint works well on these, and certain features like the ridged tail lights mean you could convince yourself that this is one of the last real over-engineered Mercedes, together with the W140 sedan and R129 SL. It’s a smart, if conservatively styled car – typical of Mercedes for sure. In spite of its 166,000 miles, it’s said to run and shift well, and doesn’t show any trouble lights.
The downside (or upside, if you’re trying to get something for nothing) is the salvage title. Even a clean-titled one runs under $10,000, so it’s easy to see how a small scrape might take it out. The seller suggests the extent of the damage that salvaged it is minor scraping on the left rear fender, bumper, and wheel, but you’d want to probe carefully to make sure it wasn’t something serious.
There’s not much detail in the listing, but the seller did put a lot of effort into the photographs – they’re well lit and shot in a nice setting that flatters the car’s color and shape. The engine compartment looks as good or better than you’d expect of a car closing in on 200,000 miles. Performance figures on this engine included 276hp, 284 lb.-ft., 169mph, and about 3500 lb. Unfortunately, it’s paired wit ha 4-speed automatic, which means that in spite of respectable performance, it’ll always be in the shadow of the E36 BMW M3.
Unlike the later C43, for the C36, AMG received fully built C280s to modify as a C36. Engines were hand-assembled, and only 5200 C36s were built. The interior has many of the upgrades you’d expect in a car of this caliber, and this particular car looks to have been well-kept and shouldn’t require any excuses to prospective passengers. Would you take a gamble on a high mileage, salvage titled tuned luxury car?