J.G. Francis is smarter than most of us, since he actually listened to all that “follow your passion” advice from his guidance counselor. Now he owns Mercedes Motoring, a successful Los Angeles restoration shop and used car dealership that specializes in 1974 to 1985 Mercedes-Benz diesels. In Francis’ expert opinion, these cars can be made to run almost indefinitely, given the proper care and feeding. He makes a good case for them on his website, advising that clean examples (like the ones he restores and sells) have already been fully depreciated. In other words, unlike new cars, these restored diesels will either appreciate in value (best case scenario) or maintain their current value. The Mercedes-produced video below gives you a glimpse into Francis’ life, but stops short of promoting his Mercedes Motoring business. After all, he’s not an authorized Mercedes-Benz dealer, and I’m sure their corporate lawyers said “nein” to promoting his shop.
Francis comes across as a guy you want to have a beer with, just to trade stories about old cars. I’ve got to admit he’s on to something, since the cars he’s sold look showroom new and roll out the door at year-old-Hyundai prices. Diesels aren’t for everybody, but there is something perversely appealing about rolling in a vintage turbo-diesel Benz to me. I’m not in the market for a new sedan, but if I was, I’d think about a trip to Los Angeles for a beer and a test drive.