Classic car valuation – needed when driving an old Mercedes?

 #Classic car valuation – needed when driving an old Mercedes?

In this post we talk about classic car valuation in Germany – is it useful, do we need it? Obviously you can drive your old Mercedes till the end of day when you do proper maintenance. As a result you might think nothing can pull the friendship between your car and you apart. But please be aware there a two „little“ risks out there that can get hold of you faster than you think…


Risk No.1: Theft

If you live like us in a big City like Hamburg, Berlin oder arround you you will have heard of many bad stories. Just plain 260E got stolen in broad daylight! Only in Hamburg almost 50 T-Models got stolen in 2015. According to a big old- and youngtimer insurance which is based in Lübeck the theft rate increased by 68% from 2014 to 2015. For those of you driving your W124 for quite a while these news might remeber this feeling from  the late 1990 years. In those days the E250, the first Mercedes ML and the BMW X5 were leading the Top 10 of stolen cars. You will never know if your beloved car is ripped apart for parts or is brought to another country due to the fact that the solving rate of these car thefts is just a binary figure.

Taking the Autobahn A24  and A 10 you get to the Baltic States really quickly. That is the place where stolen cars are mainly distributed from. The whole topic of stolen cars and classic car valuation is hot. Even big Media broadcaster are looking into it and filming documentary reports. Even though the focus is more on newer cars going to Tajikistan you can still get an idea of the machinery running in the Background of those thefts and the later distributon of the cars. You can find the documentary reports either on the ZDF Homepage or on Youtube under this Link .

You can also ask GOOGLE under „Theft + W124“ , but be aware: you might not want to leave your car alone anymore 😉 siehe hier. Moreover you can simple read the daily news, here an example for the „Hamburger Morgenpost“ last year:


Copyright: Morgenpost Hamburg

But how can we make our cars safe and avoid theft? Anyhow, keeping your car safe is not easy. There are specalists around who can crack a new Porsche Cayenne, thus a W124 can be cracked within seconds. Steering wheel and gearbox  blockings are a good idea, but will only slow down the theft by some minutes. If a a towing vehicle is involved, your car has no chance.

What should we do? To have at least a partially comprehensive insurance is a must for every classic car driver. Risks like accidents with wild animals in autumn are normally coverd by them. Old- and Youngtimer insurances are lower in the price like normal car insurances, but you have to fulfil a list of requirements:

  • another car as a daily driver
  • a garage
  • a classic car valuation

Classic car valuation

We will look deeper into classic car valuations.

You can get such classic car valiations by companys like Classic Data or you ask an expert on this topic who is qualified to do so. Be aware that the  valuations should not simple include a rating by Schwacke ( This is a platform to judge your car, but they do not take into account wheter your car is a youngtimer or not. You can easyly end up with just a price below 1.000 Euro simple due to the high mileage. If you invested time and money and foremost passion into your car, you will be very dissapointed with this rating.

Sprawling opinion is that maintenance repairs are not influencing the car value. But we have to take a deeper look which kind of car value we are looking for. The market value of a car is something very different than the recovery value. he recovery value is the value that counts for us W124 drivers. The market value of the car is obviously not rising by 500Euro even though that is the sum you invested in e.g, new brakes. But it will influence the recovery value, alone due to the work perfomance!

The calculation is simple. If your car suffers from a bad accident with total damage or is stolen, you need to be able to prove that you are not able to buy such car again if there is only the judgement by Schwake / residual value calculation taking into account.

Due to own performance on the car and investments you will definetly need a higher amount to buy a equivalent car again or you need to invest time and money to bring the new car to the same level as your old car. Such car evaluations are often not even close to the amount you need to pay to get an equal car again.

Private sellers sometimes try to attract potential seller with their car evaluation and sell the car for a 100 bucks less than the recoverable value. The seller feels like making a major effort – but the truth is a different kind of story. You’ll never know how and if a work performance is valued correctly. Keeping also in mind that the quality of the performance is a also important. An exchange with an expert might help to value the work correctly. As a matter of fact in case of an accident your repair costs are only allowed to be a maximum of 30% of the recoverable value in order to be entitled for a repair ( Source: Gesamtverband der Deutschen Versicherungswirtschaft eV) .

Thus a car with a recovery value of 6.000€ is often seen as a total damage as soon as the repair costs reach 1.800€. This sum is just peanuts. For 1.800€ you will only get the change and coating of the front bumper in an offical Mercedes workshop… Imagine you have a major accident….

Worst case Scenarios are bad as Richard can tell.


Risk No.2: Total Damage

As mentioned above sometimes also good W124 are swept from the street by total damage. That sadly happend to the car of my father. After the first fright is over and you are happy that no person was harmed you realize that 3 years of work and ca. 10.000€ are gone within seconds.

classic car valuation
















These thoughts are spinning through your head:

  • Why don’t I have a car Evaluation already?
  • How much will the insurance of the other Driver will pay?
  • Will I receive enough money to buy an equally good W124?

And of course: My poor car 🙁

First we asked Google for Classic Data and market value analysis: E220T in good shape for 5400€ – 7200€. Getting 5500€ when we are lucky was not what we wished for.  At least the debt issue was clear, the opposing driver was to blame. So we gave the case directly to our lawyer. The surveyor of the accident documented the damage very accuratly,  He didn’t say much concerning the condition of the car before the damage and we feared to get at quite low sum. The surveyor included all invoices we had for car parts we changed over the years. Good on us that we kept them all!

The sum in the end was not showing the amount of work we put into this car, but at least covered all parts and the purchase price. To get a car evuluation in the height of 12.000€ for a E220T your car needs to be in top condition not only concerning the technology, but also the look. In addition to this you need to have a competent surveyor. The residual value was only assumed to be 30€ according to the surveyor. Thus I was not assuming that the insurance company would pay round about 12.000 Euro without hesitation…

But they did!

We very over the moon! It seems that meanwhile also the insurance companies realized that there are very precious W124 driving arround. They paid without batting an eye. We received almost the difference between residual value and replacement value. We were very relieved. To be on the safe side for further accidents we will get a classic car evaluation as soon as possible.

So this is the Situation in Germany. We are curious how this is handeld in different countries. Let us know :)!


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