A few weeks ago I checked a wonderful Signal Red Mercedes-Benz 560SEC. I explained that on some Mercedes, red looks pretty good and suits the car well. Other cars, like sedans, red is a pretty tough sell for me. Encase you haven’t noticed by now, this 1991 300E that I am looking at today is painted in that same Signal Red. It is a very clean W124 that has under 100,000 miles and I really dislike it. Let me tell you why.
Usually when the Mercedes-Benz W124 is brought up it is all about the 500E, Cabriolet or sometimes the diesel. This is for good reason, of course. Lost in that discussion in the lowly 300E/E320 and “not-quite-500E” 400E/E420. But often forgotten is the 300E Sportline. The Sportline was an option on W124s and W201s for a few years in North America as a way to get your kicks out of a Mercedes-Benz sedan without ponying up over $80,000 (!) for a 500E. In all honesty, the option list wasn’t all that bad for the Sportline package. You got a bunch of different suspension components, wider wheels and tires, a quick ratio steering box, a smaller steering wheel and the same seats out of the 500E. Yes, that means that you did in fact get rear individual back seats with bolstering. That bad part is that you didn’t get any extra power out of the soon to be expired M103, but you take what you can get from the conservative Germans when they give it to you. Now 25 years later and most of the regular 300E cars are trashed, even finding a Sportline is a tough task. But this 1992 for sale on Long Island just might the one to snag up.
Model: 300E Sportline
Engine: 3.0 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 132,500 mi
1992 Mercedes Benz 300E Sportline 132k Black on black leather original paint.
Excellent condition meticulously maintained. Real sweet car with no issues,
Drives nice, handles tight. It’s a Sportline.
Very clean interior and exterior. Needs nothing but a new caring home.
Preferably with a garage.
Up to date on all maintenance, well sorted.
Parts replaced in past 6000 miles from March of 2014
New tires 4 matching Michelins
Oil and filter every 2000 miles Rotella T6
Radiator Belt and Tensioner
Brake Fluid flush
Fuel Pumps Filter Hangers and Fuel Line
Water Pump Upper hose and Bypass Hose with Thermostat
Braided Stainless Brake Hoses
Cap Plugs Rotor Wires
Tranny Fluid and Filter
Motor Mounts and Tranny Mount
Shifter Bushings Front Flex Disk
Ball Joints and Front Struts
Oil and Filter T6
Sway Bar Bushings
Fuel Injectors with seals and holders
Air Flow Boot and Idle Air Hoses
Valve Cover Gasket
Brake Fluid Flush
Tie Rods and Center Link with Damper
Rear Shocks Bilstein Sports
Oil and Filter T6
Oil and Filter T6
Coolant Flush Zerex
All with dates mileage and receipts
Needs a new home.
Someone on the Facebook page recently said I tend to post cars in boring colors like black, silver or gray. They are not wrong. It’s hard to find the models I like in anything else. There are some great exceptions, of course. BMW has some really neat colors available through its Individual program (my favorite is Velvet Blue). But there’s no getting around it; most of my favorite 80s and 90s German cars left the factory with conservative paint jobs. That’s likely no accident. Staid colors are generally well suited to the lines of the cars, especially since the design language of the period was itself quite conservative. Still, I feel under an obligation to find you all some more interesting colors. And this is my opening gambit: a 300E in Crystal Green (256). The W124 can be had for very little money these days, and used as a cheap runaround until it clocks at least half a million miles. Yet it still offers the luxury, solidity and build quality that earned Mercedes its reputation for making some of the best cars in the world.
You probably know all about the W124 AMG ‘Hammer’ cars by now. A normal 300E that was transformed by then independent company AMG into a four-door monster thanks to the punched-out 6.0 liter M117/9 and various other à la carte options depending on the owners desires. They didn’t call these cars the ‘Hammer’ for nothing with 375-ish horsepower and even more torque. Because of this, the values have held strong at nearly 10 times and sometimes even more than what you’d pay for a normal W124 300E. When one of these cars come up for auction, it’s usually a big deal. This 1988 Hammer heading to the block at the end of the month will probably fetch a pretty penny, despite what Sotheby’s is predicting. So let’s check this monster out:
The 1981 Mercedes-Benz 280S we featured on Wednesday got a fair amount of attention, mainly due to its unusual spec. Part of this boiled down to the fact it was equipped with a 4-speed manual gearbox. There’s no telling how many W126 S-classes they made with a third pedal, but my guess would be less than 3% of the production run. The W124 E-class was initially offered in the US market with a 5-speed manual, but few buyers chose this gearbox which led Mercedes to swiftly remove it from the options list. This 300E for sale in Paderborn, Germany, is equipped with the 3.2 liter, 24 valve inline-6 hooked up to a 5-speed manual gearbox. Unlike the aforementioned 280S, this isn’t a poverty spec model. This example has leather, burlwood trim, heated seats, rear sun blinds and other luxury touches that buyers in the US market came to expect from Mercedes. This 300E is also a 1990 model, making it eligible for importation stateside.
In the past I’ve sung the praises of the W201 as a classy yet affordable daily driver (see here and here). But for some, the compact Baby Benz is just a little too small. The good news is that all the best features of the W201 – the classic styling, bank vault build quality and over-engineered platform that yields surprisingly high levels of crash protection – can all be had in the roomier W124. Produced between 1984 and 1996, this generation of the E-class is in many ways the definitive 80s-era Benz: handsome, practical and built to outlive its owners. Indeed, since these cars are so long-lasting, there’s no shortage of them out there for sale, with a wide variety of examples available to suit all manner of tastes and budgets – sedans, wagons, coupes and convertibles, gas or diesel engines, hoopty or minter. Most of these fall on the affordable side (with the exception of the 500E super sedan), offering a lot of substance for very little money. This particular car is a fairly basic 300E, but it caught my eye because it ticks all the right boxes: a nice color, low miles and a good price.
It’s rare that you see a Mercedes-Benz 300E with the 5-speed manual gearbox (a short-lived option in the US market). We saw this W124 back in July and it’s up for sale again, with a few hundred more miles on the clock. If a 500E is a little to rich for your blood but you prefer to row your own gears, this E-class could sate your appetite.
The below post originally appeared on our site July 23, 2015:
The Mercedes-Benz W124 E-class came in many shapes and styles, from the stately four-seat cabriolet to the muscular Porsche built 500E/E500. After we featured the low mileage 1986 300E last week, I was surprised to see yet another mint example of an early W124 crop up, this time in Florida in the classic combination of Brilliant Silver over blue leather. This car might be 30 years old, but it’s certainly a classic that could be used daily and in the process, provide motoring pleasure hard to match from many modern day machines.
It’s always nice when you come across low mileage classic Mercedes-Benzes, but when I read the sellers description as to why he was selling, all I could do was shake my head in disbelief and think “kids these days.” If I was just learning how to drive, I would be more than pleased to be handed the keys to something so durable and timeless as the first E-class. Having grown up with a W124, I can say without a doubt that a car like this could give a young driver an appreciation for motoring that newer cars simply couldn’t replicate. While some might say that an older car wouldn’t be safe for a new driver, a Mercedes-Benz like this was light years ahead of the competition in terms of safety and would be able to compete favorable with many modern day machines. With just over 50,000 miles on the odometer, this 300E for sale in Florida has a lot of life left in it.
It seems like just yesterday I was handing over the keys to my Audi S4 Avant to a happy buyer, thus setting me off on my journey to find my next vehicle. In reality, yesterday was actually late April. Here we are in the dog days of summer and I’ve yet to pull the trigger on a new ride, but not for lack of trying. I’ve driven a number of cars over the past couple of months, some new, some used, and I still have yet to feel that magic connection that I’m looking for. I’ve crossed cars off my list that I’ve long lusted after, E46 BMW M3/E36 M3, and some that I wasn’t a fan of until recently, 540i/6, E30 325i. Though I was rather dead set on getting my first BMW, I’ve been seriously considering a Mercedes lately. On the upside they’re more affordable in this current market, on the downside it’s really hard to find a desirable model with a manual transmission. So, when I came across this 1986 300E with a 5 speed manual the other day, I was immediately intrigued. When I saw that it was just 45 minutes away from me, I picked up the phone and got in touch with the seller. He told me that he had a buyer coming to check it out but if the sale fell through he would let me know. It was a long shot, but wouldn’t you know it, the car remained available and I went to check it out yesterday.