Huge Tax Write Off: Donated Mercedes Coach

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Whenever I go to our local Good Will store, it’s to drop off some old clothes or an out-of-date piece of technology that likely cost more than $100 just last year. Well, for an American Cancer Society donation center in Florida, they got a much bigger delivery than what I normally show up with: this custom 1969 Mercedes-Benz coach here on eBay. Now that’s a tax write-off! 

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What an oddball this is. Take one part Mercedes bus, take another part R/V interior, mix in a Cummins diesel engine with an Allison six-speed transmission and you have your own custom German coach-bus. Frankly, it’s kind of brilliant since it rides on a comfortable air suspension with a modern interior, easy-to-maintain running gear and all the style and panache that comes with driving a vintage Mercedes. There’s no explanation offered on why it was donated, or how it migrated from Nevada, where it was built, to Key Largo, Florida.

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The interior looks quite spacious and is lushly fitted with wall-to-wall carpeting, leather, wood surfaces and even tile. It sports the full menu of comfort features, with cooking space, sleeping areas, captain’s chairs, bathroom and shower and plenty of TV’s. Roof-mounted A/C keeps occupants cool and a propane generator supplies backup power. A plaque on the bus indicates it was originally conceived for an owner who resided in Incline Village, a popular tourist destination in Lake Tahoe.

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There is a reserve price but it hasn’t been met. Vintage Mercedes coaches have fetched good money in the past, but I wonder if the conversion hurts its value here, since the original Mercedes running gear is long gone. It would be fascinating to know more about the name on the aforementioned plaque as far as who the gentleman was that commissioned such an unusual build, as it surely wasn’t cheap to source a Mercedes bus and then gut something of this size to become a personal luxury coach. What do you think its history is and what is it worth?

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Comments

  1. Pat lamb

    Like this….

  2. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    WANT WANT WANT WANT!!!!!!!!!
    Dang you, Jeff. 😀

    • RayT Member

      I’ll bet a lot of people would pay to watch you parallel-park this beast, Jamie!

      But if you have a rock band, this is a sure winner….

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        I would tow the LeMons Austin Marina to races with it!

    • Jeff Staff

      LOL. Sorry, Jamie. “Hi, my name is Jamie, and I covet oddball vehicles that I have no right to own and no place to park.”

      *Said in unison*

      “Hi, Jamie…”

      Donuts and coffee by the door.

  3. MH

    Looks like a money pit to me.

    • Alan (Michigan)

      Well that is for sure, but hardly the point (or a big deterrent) for anyone with a serious hankering for a cool bus like this.

  4. Dave Wright

    I have been watching this on eBay, being both a Maecedes and Bus guy, this would be a natural for me, Mercedes has built some incredible buses. This is more of a city bus, relatively low horsepower and short wheelbase……look at that overhang……it is designed to get people around city streets. One of the most impressive vehicles at the Stutgart factory museum last fall was a similar vintage highway bus. Commercial vehicles in Europe are built more for economy than here in the states. We were behind a large truck coming out of Insbrook Austria going to Garmish Germany when it just couldn’t pull the hill. He did everything, slipped the clutch so much it looked like it was on fire. Eventually, he had to give up and have the Polici help him back down the hill. It really wasn’t that steep, nothing out of the ordinary for our trucks in the West.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Typically that overhang would denote a highway cruiser. In a city setting that overhang would take out the lane beside it on every turn.

  5. macvaugh

    Googling the name on the plaque shows that the owner owned and was an officer in an insurance services company. Not as glitzy nor flashy as you may have hoped :)

  6. JW

    Would make for great party bus to haul groups of stoners to and from concerts or drunken football fans.

  7. boxdin

    I would much rather have the Cummins/Allison drivetrain than the orig Mercedes.

    • Alan Brase

      Agreed on the Cummins. Better than Mercedes.

  8. Art Fink

    Holy Schmoly, that’s a Big Motha…eeerrr…….I mean Mercedes !!! ;o}

  9. That Guy

    This must have been magnificent when it was first completed in 1991. It’s been allowed to deteriorate a lot since then, though. Kudos to the seller for taking lots of detail pictures to show the problem spots. But it still seems basically sound, and reconditioning it would be a lot cheaper than starting from scratch.

    Seriously cool.

  10. Steve

    Buy a piece of land outside Telluride Co. Buy this bus and do a 1 way trip to the land and you have a mini resort of your own.

  11. charlie Member

    A great ride to Burning Man.

  12. Jubjub

    I have one of these but it’s yellow, plastic and 87 times smaller!

    Love it. Not too scary. Fairly tasteful conversion too.

  13. Loco Mikado

    Reminds me of a late 40’s-early 50’s Studebaker, is it coming or going?

  14. Bobsmyuncle

    This doesn’t strike me as something that was lived in as much as a travelling office.

    The seating and lack of a dining area make me think clients were shuffled to getaways in it.

  15. Rotag999

    Bobsmyuncle is correct this is a hiway bus that rear over hang would take out fire plugs and anything within 2-3 feet or more of the safe side of the curb-side walk..

  16. Alan (Michigan)

    Killer ride, but if you want a truly nice vehicle again….
    Expect to pay in the neighborhood of $20 – 25K to have the body problems repaired and the bus repainted. Maybe more, some of the photos are avatar-sized, and hard to view for detail. There is most certainly rust to deal with.
    The photos of the interior indicate rodents (that can mean wiring and upholstery issues) and water leaks have been present in the past few years.
    To make this bus great again will run maybe $50K. Less if you have a warehouse and team of friends willing to help work on it. Parts may be an issue; I wonder if anyone sells glass seals which would work? The existing ones are drier than a Death Valley skeleton.

    Surprised that no one has mentioned the ’72 V12 XKE that was also donated, and on auction here:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Jaguar-Other-E-Type-/262561403337?forcerrptr=true&hash=item3d21e111c9:g:Q-MAAOSwqfNXoguD&item=262561403337

  17. Terry

    I’d park it on a nice piece of property and make my home in it.

  18. Alan (Michigan)

    Failed to make the reserve @ $9200.

    The XKE Series III V-12 Jaguar is at $20,800 with a bit more than half a day to go.
    (Also “reserve not met, at least for now.)

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