Our longtime readers know we’re always on the hunt for the perfect W163 (1st Generation ML) and as polarizing as these models can be amongst the community, there’s no denying the “right” one holds a certain allure across the board. You may think we’re talking about another RENNtech ML60 or maybe a low mileage ML55 AMG in a weird color combination but actually we’re stuck obsessing over a ML430 with the best combination of options available. Please excuse the photos as we feel they don’t come close to matching the cool factor on this 2001 ML430 listed here on CarGurus for $13,800 showing only 33k miles on the clock.
Finished in Brilliant Silver (744) over Black Leather (261) this ML430 immediately stands out from the pack with the factory Sport Kit. The bumpers, fender flares, and even exhaust tips are borrowed directly from the ML55 AMG giving the ML430 a much more capable image. The Sport-adorned examples received Evo-style wheels that kept in line with the more aggressive image without encroaching on the looks and prowess of the ML55 AMG. As you’d expect from the mileage, this ML displays nicely and doesn’t seem to bear any blemishes beyond minor marks from 20 years of light use.
A small detail will clue in those in-the-know, a fixed angle wind deflector... The one difference this ML brings to the table could be considered it’s main attraction or party trick. An option not offered on the AMG’s- A Skyview/Lamella Roof (Option 417). For those of you unfamiliar with this option, it’s essentially a 3 foot long sunroof that opens via sliding panels like you may find on some early A Classes in European markets. They were extremely uncommon options in the North American market but commonly failed. Over the years most have been glued shut because of the costly repairs needed when they do let go. We’re happy to report the roof on this ML430 works flawlessly and appears to seal quite nicely. From the cabin, this ML is business-as-usual with the OEM COMAND unit still intact alongside what appears to be a nearly flawless dashboard and center console.
At 33k miles, a 1-owner history, OEM Sport Kit, and a functional SkyView roof we have a hard time imagining a better W163 for general use. Sure there are faster and sexier examples out there but we’ll debate the value in rarity all day long for this specific ML. The asking price isn’t offensive if the seller would be willing to take and send a complete photo album for the listing along with a few videos showing the roof working from both exterior and interior perspectives. If any of you are currently in the market for a nice W163, we’d strongly suggest reaching out.