RE: Shed of the Week | Mercedes-Benz CLK (W208)

RE: Shed of the Week | Mercedes-Benz CLK (W208)

Friday 28th June 2019

Shed of the Week | Mercedes-Benz CLK (W208)

A rust-free CLK has caught Shed's attention this week. Mostly as an excuse to talk about the GTR...

The gen-one CLK, or W208 to give it its proper name, was a 'lugzhury' coupe or convertible on sale between 1997 and 2002/3. It was a hybrid of sorts: E-Class looks on a cheaper C-Class platform. That's why they called it a CLK rather than an ELK. Oh. Well, looking at that maybe there was another reason.

Topping the CLK range was the GTR. This had the same instruments, grille, headlamps and (Alcantara apart) steering wheel as the regular CLK, but in every other respect it was a Frankensteinian FIA GT car with a monster 6.9-litre mid-mounted V12 and bodywork developed with the help of a secretly-bought McLaren F1 GTR.

The idea of the GTR was to rub a bit of desirability into the standard CLK. One look at the steering wheel and instrument array (in either car) tells you that it wasn't the most subtle plan ever devised. Most CLK owners wouldn't have known an FIA GT car if it ran over them and, looking at it from the perspective of one of the 25 mugs who stumped up $1.5 million each for the privilege of homologated GTR ownership - a world record for a 'production' car at the time - the horribly blatant associations with a mass-produced coupΓ© didn't work so well for them either.

Those first buyers took a massive hit through the Noughties, when you could hardly give GTRs away. Even the prototypes were making a 60-70% loss at auction, but something weird has happened to GTR values in recent times. Maybe the memory of the standard CLK has faded sufficiently to rehabilitate it. Whatever, if you weren't that much of a mug and could afford to hold on to your GTR, you'd be quids in by now. Last year number 9 GTR made over $4.5 million at Sothebys.

Luckily, prices of non-racy CLKs certainly haven't gone up. Most, like today's Shed, have gone very much down, mainly because the first thought that springs to mind at the sight of a turn of the century Mercedes (that wasn't hand-built by white-coated AMG boffins and then stored in a heated underground garage) is bodywork rust.

But there's a pleasant surprise here. Nowhere on this 1999 car's MOT history is body rot mentioned. Actually, last September's MOT painted a picture of a car with no major issues, but with a possibility of money needing to be spent this September. It had slightly worn front ARB and upper arm bushes, a slightly corroded rear coil spring, slightly deteriorated brake hoses, slightly poor rear brake discs, a slightly deteriorated and corroded exhaust system, and an MOT tester slightly obsessed with the word slightly.

Having said all that, many of these advisories are long-runners that have never dragged themselves up the MOT cert into the Reasons for Failure section, so it's not necessarily the case that the next owner will have to stump up for anything. Plus, they won't have to worry about it for another 12 months because according to the ad it's got, or is getting, a BRAND NEW MOT.

So, what would you get for your Β£1,495? The pillarless gen-two CLK of 2002-09 was a lot more elegant than the gen-one, but these first CLKs do have a certain snubby hunchback appeal if you don't mind appalling over-the-shoulder visibility. Our one scores points by not being powered by a four-pot, instead having a 215bhp 3.2-litre V6 of passable smoothness.

This one is an Avantgarde. The Elegance was the most luxurious, the SE was pov spec and the Avantgarde was somewhere in between, M-B's effort at being cool/sporty/trendy. Avantgarde originally referred to trim and suspension, but over time it started to take in spec too. Shed thinks this car has sports seats, which if true is a good thing as they are a lot better than the standard perches, but doubtless someone will be along to set the record straight.

What's to go wrong then, apart from structural corrosion? This car's build date means it shouldn't be vulnerable to the leaking of coolant into the transmission oil cooler thing that saddled many 2000-2003 Benz automatic owners with nasty bills, but you do need to watch out for oil getting into the auto's electronics. Blocked bulkhead drain holes lead to the usual damp interior and potential ECU troubles. Add steamed up headlamps and a seized up Monowipe to that list.

Point being, you may sneer at it now, but you have to remember that these were quite sought after when new, with big premiums being paid to get into CLK Cabrios in particular. If you can set aside your prejudices and boil it right down to 'solid Merc with biggish six-cylinder engine', then you might even be able to forgive an interior colour scheme that looks well suited to a spot of freelance GBH or some light murdering.

The big question though, surely, is how much would it cost to convert our SOTW into a GTR replica?

Here's the full ad

Inspired? Search for a Mercedes CLK here



Original Poster:

338 posts

71 months

Friday 28th June 2019
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Another fine looking shed, even with that colour interior.


8,353 posts

146 months

Friday 28th June 2019
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See now I love that interior. I had an RX8 with similar colouring and loved that too ... horses for courses

These always struck me as barge-territory and willowy though - never driven one. Just looks it to me.

Is there a chance these will start to increase - many have been reduced to tin worm


Never mind - I thought the interior was brown not a reddy/bergundy colour - looked brown on my phone! Not a fan lol

Edited by alorotom on Friday 28th June 08:07


5,741 posts

141 months

Friday 28th June 2019
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It has a slightly pinky/red interior. With a slightly woody bit.


2,569 posts

143 months

Friday 28th June 2019
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I expect this is just me but when you're a kid and you paint your Airfix kit and you get a bit of the wrong colour paint somewhere you think ' I'll paint that bit that colour too, oops, done it again, I'll paint that bit that colour as well ' and so on, well, that's what that interior looks like.
Still has some remnants of class though.


89 posts

70 months

Friday 28th June 2019
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Nice waft mobile. Dodgy interior would just add to the experience.

can't remember

991 posts

87 months

Friday 28th June 2019
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It's a shame but that interior really is a show stopper. What was the original owner thinking?


1,029 posts

197 months

Friday 28th June 2019
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I was looking for one of these recently and tested an absolutely mint dark blue over light grey and wood CLK230. However despite being easy to drive it felt slow and the auto was a pain and it wasn't as comfy as my 13 Micra nor as fun (Micra was manual). I think they are lovely to look at but I ended up panic buying an MX-5


1,404 posts

126 months

Friday 28th June 2019
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Comfy, wafty, superb interior.


5,399 posts

183 months

Friday 28th June 2019
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Had a CLK 320 in the day and it went back half a dozen times for remedial rust work, thankfully all under warranty. Great opportunity to work my way through the Merc loan fleet driving

s m

19,833 posts

162 months

Friday 28th June 2019
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Looks decent
Shame about the box

Gray S

17 posts

50 months

Friday 28th June 2019
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I had a nearly new V6 CLK in 99. It was the most unreliable car I have every had. Gearbox wouldn't go into reverse for several seconds after stopping - brilliant in Devon lanes! fuel leaks, suspension/steering/uneven tyre wear, wiper blade lasting a few weeks, at a time, etc, etc. Back to the main dealer 15 times in the first 15 months. I've never had a Mercedes since. Even the X Type that replaced it was better, although not good!


103 posts

120 months

Friday 28th June 2019
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I really like that interior!

Would much rather that, than the usual black or grey. I don't get the obsession with black interiors at all. So unwelcoming and characterless in my opinion. confused


148 posts

124 months

Friday 28th June 2019
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MIL had an 02 W208 200. Died due to an uneconomic to repair ECU. Her replacement 2006 W164 gearbox failed. My 1999 W202 C280 was a rust bucket that broke its mono wiper. 2002 R170 was absolute junk. Rust, relay packs, failing indicators, dead gear selector.

Anything post W126/R129 from this company is rubbish. ‘Die beste oder nichts’ - you’ve made the decision easy for me MB. Nichts from you ever again.

M666 EVO

1,120 posts

121 months

Friday 28th June 2019
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Its being sold via a dealer, therefore only worth about a bag of sand.

With that interior, £800.

Bad wheels too.


858 posts

50 months

Friday 28th June 2019
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Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz...

(Just not this one now I've seen the interiour lol)


2,730 posts

114 months

Friday 28th June 2019
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Mate of mine had one nearly new, every dealership service cost £800+, when it went wrong (which it did frequently) every bill was £1000+, he finally sold it when the dealer quoted £3500 to fix the rear suspension (which had some weird camber issue going on, and was costing a fortune in tyres) and some ignition fault that needed diagnostics+repair.

That Scotty KIlmer muppet on Youtube is wrong about a lot of things, but not about how st Mercedes of this era actually are.


4,471 posts

125 months

Friday 28th June 2019
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These are appearing on faceache market place pretty regularly . They start off over priced by hopeful vendors and slowly reduce and then disappear at the 700 mark .
All have brief mentions of rust and I predict that the chances of another MOT pass are very remote .
Such a shame really as I do like a waftey coupe .


31,728 posts

159 months

Friday 28th June 2019
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Initial thought was blearrrgh, but doesnt look too bad, sort of think these are about to emerge from the slightly tragic look they have, a lot are a bit rusty and ropey but a tidy one is still a fine thing. Remember going in one at my brother in laws Stag do, his mate was really wealthy from self storage and he had one and it felt so posh, fast and desirable, that was a 230 Kompressor, funny how your impression changes over time.


1,628 posts

17 months

Friday 28th June 2019
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I had 2 mercs of this era, an A-class & an SLK. I'll never bother with a Mercedes again; obvious cost-cutting in engineering & materials leading to poor reliablity & incredibly bad rust issues.


8,298 posts

167 months

Friday 28th June 2019
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That is possibly the most grotesque interior I've seen in any car ever.