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Dammit
Dammit Reader
4/19/19 2:08 p.m.

Annual Vehicle Excise Duty here in the UK is based on emissions, the first VED payment is fairly stern for faster cars:

 

Plus, if the vehicle cost over £40,000, you get to pay an additional £320/year for the first five years.

However, the R63 being 12 years old would have the older VED bands;

 

 

The R63 rings the bell at 387 g/km, so it'd be £570/year. My C55 is 293 g/km, so I also get to enjoy paying £570, but with a .9 litre deficit.

 

madpenguin
madpenguin New Reader
4/19/19 2:20 p.m.
1955W196S said:

Merci madpenguin for joining the discussion and for your best wishes.  Finding an R63 that I can afford is not the problem. Finding one that I can afford to buy AND register is a challenge.

Well, when I say "afford", I think in terms of total cost of ownership : purchase, register, insure, and maintain. But that's my way of speaking, not sure it is everyone's.

Speaking of insurance, French insurance companies tends to react pretty badly when faced with not fully mainstream cars. I hope you already checked you were able to get an idea of how much it would cost you, as it could easily be quite a sore point. Actually, as R63s are now 10 years old, you may be able to find cheaper insurance if you have another car : there are insurances specialized in old "leisure" cars that are very competitive, but you need to have another "regular" car for everyday use - I know a few people keeping around a cheap car they almost never use just to be able to use such insurance on their more interesting cars ;)

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
4/20/19 2:16 a.m.
madpenguin said:
1955W196S said:

Merci madpenguin for joining the discussion and for your best wishes.  Finding an R63 that I can afford is not the problem. Finding one that I can afford to buy AND register is a challenge.

Well, when I say "afford", I think in terms of total cost of ownership : purchase, register, insure, and maintain. But that's my way of speaking, not sure it is everyone's.

Speaking of insurance, French insurance companies tends to react pretty badly when faced with not fully mainstream cars. I hope you already checked you were able to get an idea of how much it would cost you, as it could easily be quite a sore point. Actually, as R63s are now 10 years old, you may be able to find cheaper insurance if you have another car : there are insurances specialized in old "leisure" cars that are very competitive, but you need to have another "regular" car for everyday use - I know a few people keeping around a cheap car they almost never use just to be able to use such insurance on their more interesting cars ;)

Sorry if I came across harshly. I knew what you meant, just venting my frustration.  We do have a Toyota Aygo (I don't think this is even available in the States) that we use when we don't need the station wagon.  I've contacted two insurance companies.  One refused to insure the R63 and the other will.  It's more expensive than our E320, but not a lot more than an R500.  If you have any links for companies that specialize in insurance for old "leisure" cars, I would be interested.

NoahWeb
NoahWeb New Reader
4/20/19 3:02 a.m.
1955W196S said:

Sorry if I came across harshly. I knew what you meant, just venting my frustration.  We do have a Toyota Aygo (I don't think this is even available in the States) that we use when we don't need the station wagon.  I've contacted two insurance companies.  One refused to insure the R63 and the other will.  It's more expensive than our E320, but not a lot more than an R500.  If you have any links for companies that specialize in insurance for old "leisure" cars, I would be interested.

 

My insurance company requested (required?) an appraisal of Actual Cash Value before writing our policy.  They were initially very confused at both the purchase price and their perceived value of the R63.  My insurer was looking at all R-Class vehicles to determine value and policy requirements.  The R63 represents roughly .008% of the 2007 years US production (13,031 R-Class built, ~108 R63s built for the US as a subset of that = .00828%).  Once the Actual Cash Value appraisal was completed, placing value at ~$38,050 based on mileage, condition of the vehicle, previous sales (ie BaT, eBay, etc), and existing listings for sale, the insurance was written accordingly.   It’s a double edged weapon for the customer...high power, very limited production, costs of repair, etc, and the requirement that you must have insurance.  

As for specific insurers...not sure.  I use USAA and tested our policy after driving my R63 for 2 weeks before an elderly lady ran a red light and created an accident....mandatory drivers testing for elderly and handicapped!!  .....rant over. 

Hope that helps some...

madpenguin
madpenguin New Reader
4/20/19 5:23 a.m.
1955W196S said:

Sorry if I came across harshly. I knew what you meant, just venting my frustration.  We do have a Toyota Aygo (I don't think this is even available in the States) that we use when we don't need the station wagon.  I've contacted two insurance companies.  One refused to insure the R63 and the other will.  It's more expensive than our E320, but not a lot more than an R500.  If you have any links for companies that specialize in insurance for old "leisure" cars, I would be interested.

Don't worry, you didn't came across harshly. It's just I saw too many nice cars ending in derelict due to people being able to purchase them used but who never thought about insurance and maintenance (especially if they are not doing maintenance themselves).

The most known specialized insurance is Clavel. As said, they asks the vehicle to have at least 10 years, you to have at least 2 years of insurance and no prior where you're in fault, and another "regular" car. I went to them for my motorcycles and more than halved my insurance bill for similar coverage : pretty nice.

Retro is another similar specialized insurance, but I don't have any feedback about them.

Regular insurance companies also often offer specific contracts for those kind of cars, but conditions are variables (sometimes the car needs to be 15 years old), and usually the websites only says "we can do it, please reach to us to know the conditions and get an offer".

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
5/21/19 4:01 p.m.

Hello to all.  Sorry for the extended absence.  The day after my last post I got word of an unexpected death in the family.  I flew back to the U.S. and was there for about two weeks.  Since my return to France, I have been trying to catch up on work and a number of projects, one of which is the search for the elusive R63.

I had intended to make this thread something of a suspense novel, but at this point, it is best to bring everyone up to the present state of the search.

As there were (and still are) several R63s for sale here in Europe for between $16,000 and $26,000 (and some more expensive which I didn't even look at), the biggest obstacle for me was the French "powerful car" tax and the regional tax, which together were going to add 6000 euros to the price of any R63.  So in early February I sent a letter to the Prime Minister's office explaining why I felt that this tax was unfair when applied to cars that had lost most of their original value (most of the cars that pay this tax are two seater super cars that never loose much of their value).  I asked if there was any possibility of someone in my position getting a reduction in the tax, or simply having the tax waved.  You never know unless you ask.

In the meantime, I continued to search.  I found an R63 in France advertised for 25,000 euros, but it had been on the market for almost a year.  It was several hours away, but I contacted the dealer and went by to see the car and take it for a test drive.  How do I describe what I saw and what I experienced when I took it for a spin?  Wow!!!!!  I had driven an R500 a few weeks earlier, and there was no comparison.  I was in town and so couldn't really get it up to speed, but the few times that I put my foot down on the accelerator to get it from 0 up to the in town speed limit, it pushed me back into the seat like an astronaut during lift-off (well just a slight exaggeration for effect).  Those moments didn't last long, but it was long enough for me to know that I would never be satisfied with an R500.

After the test drive, I sat down with the dealer and started talking price.  He was prepared to come down to 22,000 euros (to help cover part of the 6000 euro registration fee).  But that made for a total of 28,000 euros, and even taking out a loan, that was more than I could go.  I was still hoping that I might get all or part of the tax removed, but since I hadn't heard back from the Prime Minister's office, I wasn't yet in a position to make a firm offer.  If I could get part of the tax waved, I might be able to make an offer.

About 3 weeks later, I received a reply from the government.  My request had been bounced from one office to another and finally arrived on the desk of someone who sent me a response.  The message of this two page letter can be reduced to this:  "Yes, in certain situations, it is possible for the government to wave all or part of a tax that is due, but your situation is not one of those."  The letter added, "Since you stated in your letter that you bought this car in 2018, you owe us 5000 euros."  But that is not what I had said in my letter and I have not yet bought an R63.

The response was not unexpected, but if left me scratching my head and wondering if I could find a way to come up with some additional funds so that I could still make an offer on the R63 that I had seen.  A week later, I got word of the death in the family and was off to the States.

Once I was back in France, I started looking again for ways to increase my car budget.  Two weeks ago, I called the dealer to see if there was any possibility of him dropping his price, only to discover that the R63 had been sold.  That was a discouraging day.  But I got back on the internet and started going through all the used car sites.  Just over a week ago, an ad came up for an R63 in Switzerland for the unheard of price of 11,800 euros!  Even though the dealer was closed, I immediately sent an e-mail expressing my interest and letting him know that I would call first thing in the morning.  That same evening, I got a one word reply, "SOLD".

But a week later, another R63 came on the market with an asking price of 14,000 euros.  I've been in touch with the dealer, and the car appears to be in good condition, but I found out last night that it doesn't have a trailer hitch.  As we are renovating our house ourselves and heat with wood, our car must have a trailer hitch so that we can haul materials and firewood.  I got the VIN number from the dealer and contacted my local Mercedes dealer, but he informed me that this particular car is not equipped to have a hitch added (something to do with the wiring harness not being compatible with adding a hitch).  So, while the price is great, unless we can find a way to add an OEM Mercedes hitch (I don't want to go with a third party hitch), it looks like we will have to pass on this R63 as well.  And although the price is very low, it's not as great as it appears because the car is in Switzerland.  "So what," someone will say.  Well although Switzerland is in Europe, it is not part of the European Union.  I can buy an R63 in any country that is part of the European Union and there would be no import duty.  But if I buy a car in Switzerland, there will be an import duty of 20% or 32% when I bring it into France.  So when you add the import duty and the registration taxes, the 14,000 euro R63 becomes a 22,600 - 24,300 euro R63!

The thought of paying an additional 70% of the purchase price in taxes just seems like extortion, but when you choose to live here, you have to play by their rules.  So, if I can find an R63 with a trailer hitch that I can get for less than 25,000 euros (and preferably closer to 20,000), I'll probably bite the bullet and do my best to make the deal.

For the moment, the search continues.

If anyone has info on the possibility of installing an OEM hitch on an R63 that Mercedes says is not compatible with a hitch, please let me know.

hvoxi
hvoxi New Reader
5/21/19 4:36 p.m.

Seems like the one in Switzerland meets your needs. Have you searched for standard R series hitches, either oem or aftermarket?

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
5/21/19 5:14 p.m.
hvoxi said:

Seems like the one in Switzerland meets your needs. Have you searched for standard R series hitches, either oem or aftermarket?

I've done some searching.  I haven't found any oem hitches available yet and Mercedes says that their hitches won't work with the installed wiring harness.  I've seen a couple of aftermarket hitches, but most of what I have seen hang much lower than the oem hitches and I don't know if you can get one that remains hidden behind the bumper except when you want to use it.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
5/21/19 5:49 p.m.

The reading I've done suggests that the big deal is you have to cut the undertray in the back to install a hitch. I know the rear bumper is unique to the R63, but I think the undertray is a common R part. It's worth checking before cutting apart things that may not be easily replsceable. 

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
5/21/19 6:07 p.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

The reading I've done suggests that the big deal is you have to cut the undertray in the back to install a hitch. I know the rear bumper is unique to the R63, but I think the undertray is a common R part. It's worth checking before cutting apart things that may not be easily replsceable. 

I think you are right on that.  What I have read indicates that when you remove the rear bumper to do the initial install of the hitch and outlet harness, on the backside of the undertray it is already scored where it needs to be cut.  There is a separate part that clips into the newly made hole in the undertray when the hitch is not in use.  When you want to use the hitch, you remove the plastic cover from the hole in the undertray, attach the ball to the hitch, then attach the trailer and plug in the trailer lights.  But if Mercedes says that the wiring harness on this particular R63 is not compatible with the installation of a hitch, then am I asking for trouble trying to install one anyway?

There are other R63s on the market that come with a factory hitch already installed (though they are slightly more to quite a bit more expensive).

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise HalfDork
5/21/19 7:27 p.m.

Was hoping to read about a R63. Sorry about your taxes, fact of life wherever you live. I currently have 9 cars, 4 bikes, registered all in SD and Montana to avoid taxes and emissions

 

good luck 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
5/21/19 8:44 p.m.

In reply to 1955W196S :

It's odd that the wiring on this one would be different. I suppose it's possible that they had small changes for certain markets. Here in the US they said the the R63 wasn"t suitable for towing and the official word was that hitches were not to be installed at the dealer level though there is an account of at least one being done. If you had the car then we could do some sleuthing sbout with pictures and wiring diagrams,  but it's difficult to do that with a car you don't own. There is always the chance that the wiring is the same as the ML of that generation as they shared a common architecture. 

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
5/22/19 2:15 a.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

In reply to 1955W196S :

It's odd that the wiring on this one would be different. I suppose it's possible that they had small changes for certain markets. Here in the US they said the the R63 wasn"t suitable for towing and the official word was that hitches were not to be installed at the dealer level though there is an account of at least one being done. If you had the car then we could do some sleuthing sbout with pictures and wiring diagrams,  but it's difficult to do that with a car you don't own. There is always the chance that the wiring is the same as the ML of that generation as they shared a common architecture. 

I appreciate what you are saying.  The R Class (including the R63) was available with a factory installed trailer hitch here in Europe.  I understand that it would be easier to look for a solution if I actually owned the car, but with all the taxes involved, I can't afford to buy it, then discover that I can't install a hitch and have to turn around and sell it to someone who is also going to have to pay 6000 euros to get it registered.  I'm continuing to look for information here in France, but I think it might be easier to just find an R63 that already has a factory hitch.  There is one in another EU country with an asking price that is only 500 euros more than the one in Switzerland would cost after I paid the import duty.  However, it has the black and silver plastic interior trim and I much prefer the wood trim.  It also doesn't seem to have the original factory wheels, which will be important if the R63 does become a collector in the future.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
5/22/19 12:58 p.m.

1955W196S wrote:

 The letter added, "Since you stated in your letter that you bought this car in 2018, you owe us 5000 euros."

I’m interested to hear how you resolve this.  

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
5/22/19 2:36 p.m.
AngryCorvair said:

1955W196S wrote:

 The letter added, "Since you stated in your letter that you bought this car in 2018, you owe us 5000 euros."

I’m interested to hear how you resolve this.  

They didn't actually send me a bill, but yes, I do plan to get back in touch with them and get that point cleared up.

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
5/22/19 2:42 p.m.

 

I called my mechanic this morning to ask him about trailer hitches and he suggested that I call one of the big hitch installers in the area (why hadn’t I thought of that?), which I did.  They did some research and got back to me saying that they cannot install a hitch on an R63.

So I’ve written back to the dealer explaining that without a trailer hitch I can’t buy the car.  I’m already looking at other R63s in Europe, but if the dealer comes back to me and says that he can get a hitch installed, I’ll reconsider.

therealpinto
therealpinto Reader
5/23/19 2:52 a.m.

One thing in EU that is a bit of a problem sometimes, is that the vehicle needs a type approval for a trailer hitch. Each model needs to be approved for a trailer, and in many cases the high end versions like AMG, M-models or similar lack that type approval. That may be why the hitch installer says they can't do it.

Some times the type approval changed during the years, meaning one year R63 might have the correct type approval, and one year might not.

One example is the Ford Mondeo Mk3, where the ST220 models were not type approved for a trailer hitch. A hitch for the standard 3.0 V6 fits just fine onto the car but is formally illegal. 

Then of course you may also run into issues that can be solved, like having to cut an undertray in a different way. When I ordered my lates Focus for example, it has the styling package and that greys out the box to order a fixed trailer hitch from the factory. But my dealer knew the workaround, they order the hitch separately, cut the undertray/diffuser the right way and slightly reposition the electric connector.

Gustaf

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