It’s been 20 months since I purchased my 2007 Mercedes S600 with a broken V12 biturbo engine for only $4,500. Since I’ve sold the car, I can finally give you a report on the true cost of V12 ownership. This may come as a surprise, but owning this 10-year-old, massively complicated S-Class for nearly two years has been cheaper than it would’ve been to own a new Honda Civic. Allow me to explain.
First, let me give my reasoning for parting with one of the best cars I’ve ever owned. The greatest rationale was to have cash to pay off the debt accumulated from the money-sucking 911 LS-swap project. I’ve also dug a deeper hole with some other purchases that will be the focus of many columns in the near future. I could’ve figured a way around the financial issues — but when the right person came sniffing around my S600, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to send it to someone almost as crazy as me.
This fellow automotive masochist is named Tavarish, and he also has a YouTube channel — along with a hooptie fleet. The name may sound familiar to you, as he also purchased the Aston Martin DougCar. I will very much enjoy seeing more video content of the S600, which is the primary reason I parted with my V12 powered luxury saloon — for the very reasonable price of $12,000.
For those who haven’t been following my journey, I purchased this Mercedes for only $4,500 as a nonrunner with a severely overheated engine. I spent roughly $10,000 sourcing a used motor, having it installed and fixing the litany of other issues from the neglectful previous owner — and then I enjoyed a totally trouble-free year of ownership.
After my first year, I had a few preventative repairs done, such as the engine idler pulleys and driveshaft flex discs. I was concerned, as these were common failure items — and I wanted my car to be in top shape for the engine performance tune. Around the same time, I noticed my transmission would hang up in higher gear after a long highway drive, which prompted the only unscheduled repair: the electronic controller inside the transmission. Including the cost of the tune, I spent $2,811 in total on maintenance, repairs and improvements.
If you include the cost of insurance and registration — both of which are unfairly expensive due to this car having a 6-figure original MSRP — I spent $19,068 on this car up until today. When you deduct the sale price of $12,000, and divide it over 20 months, my V12 ownership only cost me $353 per month. This is way less than the cost of owning a new Civic — or just about any new car for that matter. According to a 2017 study from AAA, my S600 cost half the national average to own compared to a new car, largely due to the massive depreciation of a new model.
Luck certainly paid a part in my low maintenance costs — as did my lower mileage, as I drove the car just 8,000 miles in the 20 months I owned it. If I had driven this car the national average of 20,000 miles during this period, the cost of ownership would have undoubtedly been higher. With that said, if you take away the performance tune and the somewhat paranoid preventative maintenance, this S600 would have been ridiculously cheap to own.
I will probably miss this car from the moment it leaves my garage, but I will enjoy the greater sense of financial security — which should last for about five minutes. Hopefully the car I’ve already purchased to replace my S600 will help fill the void. Find a 2007 Mercedes-Benz S 600 for sale
Tyler Hoover went broke after 10 years in the car business and now sells hamburgers to support his fleet of needy cars. He lives in Wichita, Kansas.