1985 Mercedes-Benz 240TD

I’ve been using my 1983 Mercedes-Benz 240D with a 4-speed manual as my primary driver for over year now and really enjoy almost every aspect of it except for one big thing: It is ungodly slow. The North American spec 240Ds were blessed with a conservative 67 horsepower and 97 lb⋅ft of torque when new and after 35 years I’m going to guess it lost a few precious ponies. This results in me using the accelerator pedal as an on-off switch the majority of the time. Don’t get me wrong, around town the car is totally fine. On the highway? I’m traffic’s worst nightmare. If I am at the front of the line at a stoplight and the speed limit on the road is 55 mph, I might as well be hauling a car full of puppies to the pound because that is how people look at me. It takes somewhere in the 15-20 second range to accelerate to 60 mph depending on the grade of the road and Peggy in her minivan on her way to soccer practice has no patience for me.  Other than that, everyone loves the car. But what if the 240D was even slower? Say hello to the 240TD.

This German-import 1985 240TD up for bid in Arizona is equipped with everything my 240D has, including the same 4-speed manual gearbox, but with the extra weight of the wagon. You can see where I am going with this. Thankfully, this W123 estate is actually nice enough where you can pick and choose your 0-60 mph battles and not feel bad if you hold someone up for an extra second. Although at the current price, is it worth it?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 240TD on eBay

Year: 1985
Model: 240TD
Engine: 2.4 liter inline-4
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 96,833 mi
Price: Reserve Auction

Ultra-Rare Euro model. ID# WDB1231831F049846 – Light Ivory/Palomino MB Tex.

AC – Sunroof – 3rd seat – 4 spd manual gearbox – Roof rack with original cross bars.

Imported to the US almost new. Cargo shade – Cargo net – Power antenna – Central locking – Front armrest.

Tinted glass – Factory sliding sunroof – All 6 headrests – Data Card – Clean carfax.

Manual windows – Euro emergency triangle – Tool rool – Original safety kit.

Perhaps one of just a handful of 240TD wagons imported to the US – Records essentially from new.

Imported to Arizona with approx 10k kilometers on the clock in1987.

Full handbooks – Service booklet with first two services before leaving Europe.

Enormous reconditioning over the last 30k miles – Service file on hand.

Recent (90k miles and forward) work includes: Brake pads/rotors, ball joints, drag link, steering damper, rear axles, AC compressor (Nippon Denso type), ac hoses, belts, water pump, engine mounts, PS pump, glow plugs, injectors, radiator, battery, calipers/rotors front.

New tires/alignment, correct aluminum wheels, 7 new side moldings, restored correct radio from Becker, new rear suspension accumulators, new sway bar links, new transmission mount, C-service, new PS hose, AC serviced.

Runs and drives beautifully. Nice street quality paint – Excellent exterior chrome – Spotless undercarriage

Restored cargo area in palomino velour – Nice original MB tex interior – Excellent headliner.

Nice door panels – Crisp and clean engine bay – – Very nice wood – Good glove box fit – Some minor dash cracks.

Excellent original carpet – Rt rearmost post inner trim damaged (we’re still looking for a replacement).

We have never seen 240TD wagon in our 27 years of handling unique Mercedes-Benz!

The ultimate ‘240D’

Not for sale to a retail California buyer.

This condition of this 240TD is really odd. It is nice enough that you’d swear this car hasn’t seen much use at all judging by how nice everything is, but a few things leave me scratching my head. I think the heavy reconditioning this car went through covered up a lot of the normal wear these cars see but they still left some loose ends out there. The main thing being the science experiment currently happening on the positive battery terminal. The cracked dash isn’t a huge deal because it is a small miracle if you come across a W123 dash that isn’t cracked by now. The carpeting in the rear hatch area must have been worn enough that it required complete replacement but don’t get me wrong, it looks really good. I think ultimately this 240TD was used normally without much thought to its future value until it came time to sell and a bunch of money was dumped into it —which seems to be paying off.

Right now, bidding for this car is over $10,000 and probably won’t stop there. One thing to remember here is that like imported diesels in California I’ve featured before, it can’t be registered there thanks to emissions standards. So that entire pool of possible buyers are out of the picture. Where will this end up? I’m interested to find out. The 4-speed and OM616 in a wagon sure is tempting, but like I said before, as long as you don’t mind holding up traffic, I have no complaints with it.

– Andrew

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7 Comments

  1. My Dad had an ”82 (IIRC) 240D manual with 390k miles. It had a cushy ride and a very nice interior. I got to drive it a lot and like you I loved everything about it except the huge lack of power On the freeway I was relegated to the far right lane and was actually relieved if could follow a slow 18 wheeler to use it as an excuse to the traffic behind me. Going uphill required strategical thinking and God forbid some one would cut me off as I was ramping up because that would drop me to 35 mph with accelerator being pushed through the floor until I created the hill. Never left him or me stranded though.

  2. I love the look of these old wagons but god that is slow. I have a 1985 524td (277k miles and climbing) which is slow by today’s standards but was much better than that while new, 0-60 in 10.8 according to google. The small gas-engined 528e of the time was only 9.1 seconds for comparison.

  3. I love the look of these. Now if it was a 4 speed gas engine……whoa Nellie….bar the door……..I’ve been on a wagon jag for a while. Just bought an ’01 5 speed E 46 wagon.I feel more Parnelli Jones than Griswold when I drive around 🙂

  4. A good look. What always surprises me, when I see one of these in person is how much anodized aluminum trim there is on the outside, all fading and looking different from the next piece.
    Makes me nervous when I see that much work done in such a short piece of time, someone was content to let it get pretty worn out.

  5. I had this car in 1985 with an automatic. It was slow, but so were half of the other vehicles, so it was not much of a problem. Today I have an X3, manual. And I hold up everyone due to low gearing and low power.

    I can’t imagine a 240 again.

    And yes, the battery terminal is more than odd. Something is not right.

  6. While the battery cable is of concern and curiosity given all the “renovation work” (that’s at least a year worth of corrosion there…) I’m looking at the fact that there was never a 150 mph speedo installed in a 240D! Depending on the year model in the US, it was either a 100 mph unit or an 85. For metric countries it would have been a 160 KPH unit. This is clearly not the original speedo so any stated mileage goes out the window without backup documentation. The exterior looks reasonably clean and rust free, though I’d like to see the bottoms of each door panel looking for rust where they all do eventually. Finally, the carpets look very dirty and the MB Tex on the seats looks very weathered for a stated low mileage vehicle…

  7. Nice catch Tony. Look at the gap between the dash and the edge of the cluster too. That should be tight and flush. Looks like someone had that cluster out before. I’m still convinced that someone used this as a workhorse then realized it was worth something so they ordered a bunch of new parts to make it look nice.

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