Trade #5: 2002 Mercedes Benz S430 for 2012 Ford Fusion SE

So long executive excess, hello sensible sedan!

The story behind the Mercedes is a long one, and if this project ever turns into a book, boy, this car will certainly have its own chapter. For now, suffice to say that I’m glad to be rid of it. It’s a good car that needs a little work, but the experience I had with the seller was insane, and wow am I glad that chapter is done.

By contrast, my experience with Jon (not his real name), who offered his Ford Fusion, has been very easy! After a few weeks without hearing any interest in the car — surely because of the pandemic and the general mistrust of being outside these days, at least in part — I got a message from Jon asking if I’d consider this trade. We chatted back and forth a little and decided to meet the next day in the parking lot of a local strip mall, which I expected would be largely deserted. It was, and we kept our distance from each other, masks and gloves, all, and took a simultaneous test drive.

He was ready to trade on the spot, but I was unsure. The Fusion is a smooth ride and felt like it was in excellent driving shape. It wasn’t clear, though, that I’d be able to easily trade or sell the car with the damage done to the body. Clearly Jon or a previous owner had been in some sort of collision. It wasn’t a disaster, but it was noticeable. I don’t want to trade for cars that require me to put any real money into them. I asked for a day to think about it. Jon was reticent — he’d driven over to the East Bay from the city, and didn’t want to have to do it again. I offered to come to him if I decided to go forward with it, and he agreed.

I thought more about it. Given the issues that the Benz had — it needs some brakes and belt work, and the instrument cluster needs to be replaced soon — it wasn’t clear how easily I’d find a buyer or trader for it. Jon told me he was leaving the country soon, and had always wanted to own and drive a Mercedes.

I thought on it and got back to him. I’d take it. I figured, there will be someone with a good-condition motorcycle or truck who’s looking for a reliable family car, and won’t care much about the body damage. Given that the Fusion does seem to drive really reliably, and that it’s a very high-rated model year, it seemed like the right move for me. And, Jon gets his Mercedes. Hopefully this is a true win-win, and I suppose soon we’ll find out if this was a good strategic move on my part. I’m optimistic.

So, onward. Life moves forward, this time in a sensible mid-size sedan.

1999 Ducati Monster 750 Dark trading line:
Original item value: $2,800 / $1,000
Number of trades to date: 2
Latest trade: 2002 Mercedes Benz S430 ($3,200) for 2012 Ford Fusion SE ($4,000)
Total line value dollar increase: $3,000
Total line value percent increase: 300%

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