A week ago, I recovered my stolen Mercedes ML55 — but I couldn’t take it home. The crazy crook ditched my car in a tree row, using my 342-horsepower all-wheel-drive luxury SUV as a bulldozer — and it plowed through about 30 yards of trees and brush before getting stuck. Unfortunately, I had to wait until morning for a friend to help me carve it out with a chainsaw.
Simply reversing out from the direction it came wasn’t possible. Not only was the ML55 wedged on a tree and unable to move– but even if I could break it free, I would have doubled the amount of damage while reversing out. Many of the smaller trees the ML55 bowled over had popped back up — or they were sitting at slight angle resembling a wooden spike. I needed help making an exit.
A friend of mine in the landscaping business was happy to lend his time and his chainsaw — though his enthusiasm waned when he saw the massive amounts of poison ivy surrounding the car. With the chainsaw, he steadily carved a path to my Mercedes, while I tossed the debris aside with another helper. Once we reached the Mercedes, we created a small clearing for the AMG to reverse into — but the big obstacle was removing the huge amount of timber underneath it.
Thankfully, the ML55 seemed to be running fine after its week of hell. After carving away the tree wedged between the tire and the wheel well, I was able to move the Mercedes forward enough to clear the branches stuck under the rear end. With as much debris removed as possible, my Mercedes was finally ready to make its escape.
Before making the run, I engaged the low range and turned off the traction control. I decided to use the Jeremy Clarkson method and power my way through. The crunching noises as the wood shattered on my undercarriage were terrifying — but with only a bit of wheel spin, the ML55 removed itself with very little drama. I continued reversing down the path we created until the Mercedes was finally free of its woodland tomb.
For the first time, I could take it all in — and I was shocked at what I saw. I figured the bumper was destroyed, but it only had minor scratches. There were also scratches down the right side– but the rest of the Mercedes looked fine. Amazingly, the undercarriage was totally free of damage as well. Other than my mysteriously missing rearview mirror, I didn’t have any problems driving it home. It was just as smooth and quiet on the highway as it was before it was taken.
Admittedly, there was a new odor in the cabin smelling of a certain illegal substance — but it wasn’t trashed. It needed cleaning up, and I was hopeful a good buff would remove some of the scratches — so I took it back to the very detail shop where it was stolen. Some of you might think this is crazy, considering it’s the same place that left my vehicle running and unattended, practically begging for someone to steal it — but I knew the owner was especially motivated to make this right. He labored for hours with the buffer — and the results were pretty impressive.
I only had a few faint marks remaining on the passenger side, and some scratches low on the front bumper. With some touching up, nobody would notice — but repainting the bumper would be best. I also spent $140 on a new rearview mirror.
I’ll be curious to see how all of this information turns up on the Carfax report — but there’s no doubt my ML55 is worth less after this adventure. For that reason, many have suggested I sue the detailer for damages — but I’m not going to. He was very remorseful and apologetic, immediately taking responsibility for what happened. Before this, he always took excellent care of my hoopty fleet. He also has a family to feed, and he’s already going to the expense of installing extra security.
Much to my delight, my ML55 was specifically invited to Cars and Coffee that weekend — and allowed to park on the feature row with the event sponsors and exotics. Local car enthusiasts were thrilled to see it, and my cheap AMG is probably better-known than anything else in my garage after this. I had planned on selling it — but considering all it’s been through, I can’t do it. This old horse certainly has a few more video adventures left in it. Find a Mercedes-Benz ML 55 AMG 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.
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