1987 Mercedes-Benz 300SDL

Almost a month ago I checked one of the best Mercedes-Benz W126s I’ve ever seen in a Concours-level 1987 560SEL. Today, we have another outstanding 1987 W126 that isn’t quite Pebble Beach-ready, but it is damn close. This car comes to us from South Carolina dressed in Smoke Silver Metallic with the rare burgundy leather interior in a condition that isn’t often seen. And oh yeah, it’s a diesel too.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Mercedes-Benz 300SDL on eBay

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1987 Mercedes-Benz 300SDL

The other day I wrote about how I was getting the itch to swap out my daily driver, an E34 525i, for an older Benz. One contender for the car’s replacement is a W124. But I’m also very tempted by the W126. There’s something irresistible about these timelessly classy and stately cars. A 560SEL would be my first choice, but I have a long commute and a V8 is therefore out of the question. So if I were to take the plunge on an old S-class for daily duties, it would have to be diesel model. From what I’ve read online, the six cylinder diesel engine in the 300SDL gets pretty similar gas mileage to my 525i – around 27-28MPG on the highway – which is pretty remarkable given the size of these things.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Mercedes-Benz 300SDL on eBay

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1991 Mercedes-Benz 350SDL

Halfway through the W126 S-class production run, the diesel engine was upgraded, from the familiar and reliable OM615 inline-5 to the OM603 inline-6. The first W126s to employ the OM603 experienced teething problems, something unthinkable from Mercedes-Benz at the time. Heat from the diesel particulate filter, a part integral to the emissions control system, would cause the aluminum heads to fail. In some cases, debris from these filters would damage the turbocharger. After two years, Mercedes stopped selling the diesel S-class, but it would return once again in 1990 for the final two years of S-class production. Mercedes debuted a larger version of the OM603, displacing 3.5 liters. However, this engine had its own set of problems, as the larger bore led to head gasket failure and passage of oil into the cylinder bores. In addition, failure of motor mounts could cause screws to loosen in the crankcase which would lead to another set of issues. It was reported Mercedes-Benz replaced a number of engines in these cars, but never issued a formal recall.

If this didn’t scare you away from a late-model W126 diesel, then read on. The 350SDL was not the sales leader of the W126 pack, as most opting for a large Mercedes on these shores wanted V8 power. This 350SDL in Florida has seemingly escaped the wear and tear most of these diesel powered Benzes, showing less than 60,000 miles on the odometer.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 350SDL on eBay

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1987 Mercedes-Benz 300SDL

Over the years, the presence of diesel engines in the Mercedes-Benz lineup has waxed and waned. For 2012, a variety of Mercedes-Benz models, mostly SUVs, employ a version of the V6 Bluetec diesel engine. Back in the 1980s, diesel power was well represented throughout the range as well, and in 1986, Mercedes made a leap forward with the new OM603 inline six cylinder diesel engine. While they were more efficient and powerful, this engined suffered teething issues. The diesel particulate filters mounted at the cylinder heads would generate unnecessary heat, leading to cracked cylinder heads.

There were reports of Mercedes covering replacement engines outside of the warranty, but the writing was on the wall. The following year would be the last year for this engine. Engineers went back to the drawing board and came up with the larger displacement OM603, this time a 3.5 liter engine for the 350SD and SDL in 1990 and 1991. But yet again, this engine had its problems, such as head gasket erosion and oil leaking into cylinder #1. This could have been the price paid for a larger bore engine.

You rarely see any diesel Mercedes with low mileage, especially a W126. This 300SDL for sale in Philadelphia certain looks the part in black over gray leather, but could it be a potential ticking time bomb?

1987 Mercedes-Benz 300SDL on eBay

One of a kind serviced low mileage diesel Mercedes in showroom condition. Dealer Serviced. Super low miles, turbo diesel, leather interior. Great for vegetable oil conversion. You are looking at an exceptionally well kept, great looking true luxury automobile, one of the finest series that Mercedes-Benz makes. The vehicle has been made and assembled entirely in Germany, and consists only of Germany made parts. It’s a great color for this model and you just can’t go wrong with a classic dark gray Mercedes-Benz – it really stands out! There are no reported manufacturer’s defects on this vehicle. A never-smoked-in before beauty that looks great and smells clean.

The engine is an exceptionally smooth Turbo Diesel 6 cylinder, a rare and one of the, if not the most coveted diesel out there. This is a rare combination of power, durability and economy. Diesel engines easily many times as much as a gas engines, these engines really last a lifetime, easily go 400k miles. Runs strong and smooth and provides the power you have come to expect from a luxury car such as this. The transmission has the Mercedes mark on it as well and shifts like on a new car, no skips or slips on shifts. The car runs very well!

As you can judge yourself from the pictures, the interior is spotless while the seats show almost no wear and are in excellent condition! This car has a climate control system and the AC blows ice-cold. Extra comfort comes from the excellent power front seats. The power locks, tilt wheel, power windows, power seats and sunroof (and all the other electrical features) all work and are in great condition. This vehicle is equipped with Airbags, for yours, and your passengers’ maximum safety and protection. You and your loved ones will feel safe driving and being in this vehicle. This Mercedes is equipped with premium sound. As seen in the pictures the rims look great while the tires on this auto have been rotated, balanced and as you can see, still have plenty of tread wear left. There were very few of those diesel Mercedes were made for the US, this is your chance to own a truly unique diesel luxury sedan painted in classic MB dark gray.

This is another one of those impossibly mint condition classics that is advertised at a price way over what anyone could realistically expect. At the maximum, we’re looking at a $15,000 car here, but even that is a bit high. In actuality, this car would probably bring somewhere between $11,000 and $14,000. Given the issues with the early OM603 engines, I would carefully inspect all aspects of the powertrain to make sure nothing was lurking beneath. Also, the wheels are looking a bit tired and could benefit from a refinish. In light of that, I still like this car. It’s the best of both worlds. You can tool around town like a boss while getting decent fuel economy.

-Paul