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gilf

Car Advice Thread No.1026, Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen

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OK I know there are tons of these but if you really want a decent amount of advice it has to be a new thread. I'm sure it will morph in to something else we can all enjoy once I have my answers.

I have the opportunity to own a Mercedes G-Wagen, it's a 300GD and a very early model as it was registered in 1980 from what I know.

It's a car I have always wanted, along with an original Land Rover however given the age I want to make sure I know what I'm getting myself in to. It will be via a family member of my girlfriend who I don't know that well and so I don't have a great history of the car other than to know he is an old school type and it would have been well and regularly maintained from a mechanical standpoint at least. He used to work for the forestry commission so it would have always been a working vehicle.

It's a car I would never buy myself as they are seriously expensive new and even ones of this age are getting on for £8K, however this will be free and so I can swallow the increased insurance and fuel costs given there would be no initial out lay other than maybe a nice meal out somewhere as a thank you. The difficult part here however is that if I don't like it then getting rid of it would be a major issue as it will obviously be asked about whenever I see this person in the future.

My driving habits are the odd short journey to the shops maybe once a week and then reasonably longer journeys out of London at the weekends 2 or 3 times a month, other than that it would get minimal to no use. Obviously this is a serious 4x4 and I would be taking it based on that capability, I'm a field archer so while most of the time it would be traveling on motorways there would be a short period where the 4x4 capability would be extremely useful to essential in some cases.

I have had various 4x4 vehicles in the past, but they have always been on the casual side, i.e. Land Rover Freelander and Shogun Sport.

So the questions are, assuming it's in decent mechanical condition is it worth it or will it cause me no end of problems in the long run. It would need to travel a hundred miles or so regularly and be comfortable enough to do this. I'm assuming it will be rather industrial, which in actual fact rather appeals to me. The alternative is get another Freelander, which of course would be £1,500 - £2,000 (I know a very good and trustworthy mechanic and I know the issues with the old Freelander engines so would be well aware of the issues on that front).

Ultimately I'm asking is the money I save by taking this free one going to be eaten up quickly in repairs and maintenance and higher fuel costs (I'm less concerned about the fuel element).

The reason it's a problem is that in all likelihood I wouldn't see it until it was time to take ownership, the current owner lives in Torquay but the vehicle is currently in Wales, so even pictures are a bit out of the question. He would need to make special arrangements to collect it and so I can hardly turn up and say thanks but no thanks.

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Just a minute whilst I get the old crystal ball out....

Yeah, I see. It's telling me it hasn't got a ******ing clue how much you're going to spend repairing a 35 year old car. Best I can do.

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Do you have welding equipment, and the space?

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You are intersted in it, so it sounds like an itch you want to scratch.

You have a good mechanic - what does he say? A good mechanic is certainly what you need when thinking about owning much older cars.

You could have an agreement with your benefactor - if you take it to your mechanic and decide not to keep it you could split the proceeds of sale minus any money directly spent to enable a sale.

Ony real problem what if it breaks down on the long trip when picking it up.

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I would take it without a second thought.

Run it for a year and see what happens.

If it has a disaster at the MoT and you can't afford to fix everything then you can sell it and give the money to the nice person who's letting you have it for free now; letting them know that's what you're doing in advance to ensure that they approve.

If there's only minor work then run it again for another year, if then a disaster sell and give the money to the nice person who's letting you have it for free now; letting them know that's what you're doing in advance to ensure that they approve.

etc.

I don't really see how you can go wrong tbh. Reputationally they're solid old cars but cars of that age can go bang.

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I would take it without a second thought.

Run it for a year and see what happens.

If it has a disaster at the MoT and you can't afford to fix everything then you can sell it and give the money to the nice person who's letting you have it for free now; letting them know that's what you're doing in advance to ensure that they approve.

If there's only minor work then run it again for another year, if then a disaster sell and give the money to the nice person who's letting you have it for free now; letting them know that's what you're doing in advance to ensure that they approve.

etc.

I don't really see how you can go wrong tbh. Reputationally they're solid old cars but cars of that age can go bang.

They can also march through Poland! I have a strange liking for these military "sheds"!

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No such thing as a free lunch, the fact you are asking this question means your gut is telling you something about this deal could be a bad idea. I would be asking myself WHY does this guy who hardly knows you want to give away a free car?

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Very cool car in my opinion. Especially in vintage nick. I would snap it up, if you have to sell it then tough, if he is giving you the car he can't then keep some sort of control over what you do with it. If you really feel bad bung him a few hundred quid to ease your conscience.

mercedes-benz-g-wagon-g-class-gelandewag

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If you haven't got both the skills and equipment to maintain it yourself leave it well alone would be my view. I've no doubt someone on here will have a mk 1 Ford Escort as a daily driver that's 'never missed a beat' but, it's easy to forget that old cars aren't reliable.

Originally a good Land Rover alternative but not as good as is made out, in a similar way to Landcruisers. How the new ones became a thing is mystifying.

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So the car is free, but retains some (moral) obligation to the original owner. I'm not sure why you are asking the question. Have it. The distance you are doing will not exactly break the bank in fuel costs, and if the beast has been well looked after, it will probably not have a lot wrong with it - good old simple technology.

That said, don't kid yourself that this will be a relaxing car to drive, or that you will come close to needing its capabilities. However, a free car is a free car, fill your boots.

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If you haven't got both the skills and equipment to maintain it yourself leave it well alone would be my view. I've no doubt someone on here will have a mk 1 Ford Escort as a daily driver that's 'never missed a beat' but, it's easy to forget that old cars aren't reliable.

Originally a good Land Rover alternative but not as good as is made out, in a similar way to Landcruisers. How the new ones became a thing is mystifying.

Depends which model! A mate of mine has one of the last 80 series Landcruisers with over a quarter of a million miles on it!

People quite often ask to buy it off him! My friend does not skimp on maintenance, so there's nothing "wrong" with it!

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No such thing as a free lunch, the fact you are asking this question means your gut is telling you something about this deal could be a bad idea. I would be asking myself WHY does this guy who hardly knows you want to give away a free car?

That's a reasonable response, however he is my girlfriends step dad, her mother only recently married him and in all honesty we don't know him that well at all. I have met him once, she has met him twice, and without getting in to the details my girlfriend doesn't see her mother that often (geographical reasons over anything else). Between them they have three houses and about 4 cars, it's simply a case of them not needing it and it's not practical for them to keep it.

Although you are totally right in that my gut is telling me not to take the car, it's just that as I said this would never be something I could afford, or more technically not something I'd be desperate enough to spend a lot of money on, even though it's something I would love to own.

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That said, don't kid yourself that this will be a relaxing car to drive, or that you will come close to needing its capabilities. However, a free car is a free car, fill your boots.

I wouldn't be taking it expecting it to be and you are right in that in general the capabilities would be totally wasted.

I would take it without a second thought.

Run it for a year and see what happens.

If it has a disaster at the MoT and you can't afford to fix everything then you can sell it and give the money to the nice person who's letting you have it for free now; letting them know that's what you're doing in advance to ensure that they approve.

If there's only minor work then run it again for another year, if then a disaster sell and give the money to the nice person who's letting you have it for free now; letting them know that's what you're doing in advance to ensure that they approve.

etc.

I don't really see how you can go wrong tbh. Reputationally they're solid old cars but cars of that age can go bang.

To be honest it going bang wouldn't be a major issue, it's if it didn't and it didn't really suit my needs.

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That's a reasonable response, however he is my girlfriends step dad, her mother only recently married him and in all honesty we don't know him that well at all. I have met him once, she has met him twice, and without getting in to the details my girlfriend doesn't see her mother that often (geographical reasons over anything else). Between them they have three houses and about 4 cars, it's simply a case of them not needing it and it's not practical for them to keep it.

Although you are totally right in that my gut is telling me not to take the car, it's just that as I said this would never be something I could afford, or more technically not something I'd be desperate enough to spend a lot of money on, even though it's something I would love to own.

You will feel "obliged". As you say, a "gift" from somebody you hardly know, might not be a good thing!

If you had had a laugh with the bloke for twenty years or so, now that would be a real "gift"!

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Thanks for all the advice, pretty much what I need.

When I first heard about it I was told it was old, but when they eventually gave me the registration I realised just how old it was.

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You will feel "obliged". As you say, a "gift" from somebody you hardly know, might not be a good thing!

If you had had a laugh with the bloke for twenty years or so, now that would be a real "gift"!

You have hit the nail on the head there. It's the obligation I'm worried about rather than any technical aspect, although one feeds in to the other in that if there were repairs and so on needed then I'd feel obligated to carry them out rather than get rid as I would were it my own car.

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You have hit the nail on the head there. It's the obligation I'm worried about rather than any technical aspect, although one feeds in to the other in that if there were repairs and so on needed then I'd feel obligated to carry them out rather than get rid as I would were it my own car.

Let me give you another example! A bloke I've now known for 15 years or so! We used to go for a few beers or so! I always have a lot of radio equipment laying around because I have an amateur radio licence! Now when my friend emailed me telling me he had now got his licence, I sent him one of my older transceivers! It was free! After all he had helped me out a bit over the years! Not like I had only known him for only a few weeks! You could actually buy the truck if you really wanted it, but I suspect you don't actually want it!

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I understand totally what you are saying.

Let me give you another example! A bloke I've now known for 15 years or so! We used to go for a few beers or so! I always have a lot of radio equipment laying around because I have an amateur radio licence! Now when my friend emailed me telling me he had now got his licence, I sent him one of my older transceivers! It was free! After all he had helped me out a bit over the years! Not like I had only known him for only a few weeks! You could actually buy the truck if you really wanted it, but I suspect you don't actually want it!

Well I do want it, but like I said in reasonable condition they are £7/8K not something I'd be willing to pay.

That actually sounds bad, but on the other hand I didn't ask for it, I mentioned I was in the market for a 4x4 and he offered me this one. There is of course more to it than that, but that's the general story.

If it's a case of paying for it there are plenty of other ways I can pay for one without having the obligation, this one I suspect is no better or worse than any other one I might purchase.

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Why don't you just speak to him ? Tell him your misgivings about getting something like that from someone you barely know. He may allay all your fears and tell you to take it and not worry about it.

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Why don't you just speak to him ? Tell him your misgivings about getting something like that from someone you barely know. He may allay all your fears and tell you to take it and not worry about it.

Probably right! I just see lies and conmen everywhere! :blink: There are some fine and generous people out there! I usually don't meet them, and I don't like the feeling of being "obliged" to somebody! "Mr Soprano" is probably not very polite, when wanting a return favour! So I don't get myself in those positions! :mellow:

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