Whenever I see a 1998 Acura Integra with a cursive decal on the front window saying “Daily Driven,” my reaction is a curt “Yeah, no shit.” However, if you own a heavily depreciated and insanely complex luxury car like I do, the prospect of driving it daily on a shoestring budget becomes exponentially more interesting, if only to outline how many things have gone wrong over the years.
For the last two years, I’ve owned a 2000 Mercedes-Benz S500. When it was new and Y2K was deemed a legitimate threat for people who didn’t understand how computers worked, it cost more than $100,000 in today’s money. It had more than 200 patents filed in its development, had a fiber optic audio system, double-paned windows, massaging seats, and it served as the flagship for the Mercedes-Benz brand, taking over the mantle of the tank-like W140 chassis.
Fourteen short years after its build date, I purchased it for a miserly sum of $3000.