Junkyard Gem: 2006 Mercedes-Benz R500

Generally a automobile producer builds one thing that is thus far forward of its time that no person fairly is aware of to make of it, resembling the American Motors Eagle. Different occasions, there shall be a new automobile that fills a necessity in admirable vogue however appears so bizarre that potential patrons draw back in horror (see: Pontiac Aztek). And, in fact, there’s the case of the well-built machine that does its job nicely sufficient however simply confuses automotive buyers, lastly disappearing with little fanfare just a few years later. The Mercedes-Benz R-Class was such a automobile, and I’ve discovered a first-year instance in good situation in a Colorado boneyard.

As our reviewer put it, 17 years in the past: The brand new Mercedes-Benz R-Class is a bit just like the platypus, the fur-covered, duck-billed, egg-laying mammal. It combines features of different automobiles with out changing into one in every of them.

Sure, the platypus of early-Twenty first-century motor automobiles. Form of a minivan, however with out the helpful sliding doorways of a minivan. Form of a wagon, however with out the car-like appears (and trip) of a wagon. And, most necessary, form of an SUV however with out the tall trip peak and look of outdoors-themed aggression that moved SUVs off showroom flooring within the center 2000s.

By all accounts, it was a well-screwed-together machine that drove properly, held numerous stuff and was competent in snow and dirt. The one drawback was that few Individuals wished to purchase it. The R500 model was terminated in North America after 2007, whereas the R350 lingered on by way of 2012 earlier than getting axed. Gross sales have been so poor that, in 2016, we referred to as it one of many dumbest vehicles of all time. Generally what makes a automotive a Junkyard Gem is its historic significance!

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This 5.0-liter V8 made 302 horsepower and 339 pound-feet. The one transmission accessible was a seven-speed automated.

The bottom worth for the 2006 R500 was $55,000, which involves about $83,440 in 2023 {dollars}. This one is full of dear choices, together with the twin sunroofs, so its out-the-door worth would have been a lot larger.

This clock format takes inspiration from the W126 S-Courses of the Eighties and their VDO clock-within-a-tachometer design. VDO additionally offered that rig to Saab for the 900. I thought of yanking this clock and shopping for it for my assortment, however Mercedes-Benz gauge clusters take too lengthy to disassemble (and I will wager this clock is only a stepper-motor design managed by the ECU, anyway).

Why is it right here? The El Paso County Sheriffs towed it away for being parked illegally, and its proprietor could not or would not get it out of hock.

The third row looks like a entrance row.

Irrespective of how unhealthy it will get out right here, it’s regularly good in there.

Karl Benz would have been impressed.

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