Its a 2003...not the best model year, its an early production car assembled on October 2002 with the panorama roof, folding rear seat back. The early E500's at that time had to be ordered with those 2 options.
The intention was never to keep Walter for such a long time.
Through events, circumstances, other priorities, Walter hung around for 8 years. Its almost mind boggling to think that The Colonel would have kept a car for all those years.
Around the end of August Walter was involved in an "encounter" with another car at an intersection. To say that it was an upsetting experience is an understatement. From the photo, its not huge damage, but its an older car.
You can see where this is going, the car was "written off" by the insurance company.
Its an endearing car, its part of the house, its been around for 8 years, and its an inglorious way to go. But its just a car, its "metal" and worse things can certainly happen in life.
Hopefully Walter will become a parts doner for a multitude of other cars.
What did we learn through the years?
Unless you enjoy having an older car, enjoy maintaining an older car, have alternate transportation, its not for everyone to keep such a car around for so many years.
Especially maintaining the car to factory standards...its absolutely not for everyone, and reasonably expensive to do. Some components have prices that defy gravity.
Agreed...there is also this strange fun factor in the process.
Keeping a car for such a long time, it becomes a member of the house, its totally wonderful some days, and on others it can aggravate you to no end.
A friendly mechanic is absolutely essential...
A CAA membership is useful...to have the car flat bedded when it acts up.
If the car has features, qualities that appeal to you its even worse in keeping it longer. In the case of Walter, V8, rear wheel drive, supreme highway cruiser, great sound system, drives like a Benz, were a constant. Often it was "This old car still drives better than a bunch of newer cars".
Consumables...you keep a car long enough, it goes through oil changes, filters, tires both summer and winter, wiper blades, and a bunch of other stuff. Any vehicle will wear out consumables...not a big deal.
Project 200K...Walter did not make it to 200K it had 170K but we tried, and perhaps we were a little obstinate in reaching 200K...not a ton of kilometers, but on a 13 year old car the combination of age, kilometers, electronics, M-B cost savings, SBC brakes, Airmatic suspension, its a witches brew.
How much money was spent keeping Walter maintained to factory standards? Never kept an exact count, suffice it to say that it was an appreciable amount of money through the years. Scroll down Project 200K to see the details.
Some quick rounded numbers to provide an overview:
In 2007 we paid (+-) 32,000 (wholesale) for Walter, today its worth approximately 5,000 wholesale for a difference of 27,000 divided by 8 = 3,375 per year in depreciation = 281 per month
Average approximately 1,500 per year in maintenance and consumables, obvious the maintenance was less in the earlier year and more in the later years divided by 12 = 125 per month.
It amounts to 406 per month not factoring in the fun, having our own alternate transportation, and enduring aggravations. Its absolutely not for everyone.
Do we miss Walter, its just a car but after all those years there is a void. Its the first time we have done an ongoing story on a car (Project 200K)...although Walter is gone the story endures.
What is next? The Colonel has been driving Benzes for decades, what do you think will be next?