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1985 Mercedes-Benz 300D – REVISIT

The Mercedes-Benz 300D we featured last month via our reader Jimmy is back up for sale. This car strikes a nice balance between concours condition and one that is clapped out. Anyone that is in the market for a usable W123, take note.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 300D on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site September 29, 2014:

It seems to be the never ending question for the used car buyer. “What’s the most reliable car I can buy for “x” amount of dollars?” If age isn’t a concern, one of my favorite go to cars is the W123 Mercedes-Benz. There’s a reason why James May of BBC’s Top Gear chose one of these cars for their drive through Africa. These cars can take a beating and will keep pressing on. This 300D for sale in Illinois is originally a California car and comes to us from our reader Jimmy, whose is assisting a friend in selling it.

Year: 1985
Model: 300D
Engine: 3.0 liter turbocharged inline-5 diesel
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 140,173 mi
Price: Reserve auction

Contact Chris at 773-474-1744,, or through eBay for any questions.

I am selling this car for a friend who has to downsize due to moving to the city. I have a lot of time, effort and money into listing this car on eBay. Please be respectful of that and be certain that you intend to follow through with the sale. Your bid is a contract to buy.

I have the listing set up to accept bids only from US and Canadian bidders in an effort to prevent scammers from ruining the auction. If you are a legitimate bidder outside of the US or Canada and you have a way to have the car picked up in Chicago without it being crated, please e-mail me at Provide me with your ebay ID and confirm that you can arrange international shipping and have the car picked up uncrated in Chicago, and I will gladly add you to the list that allows you to bid.

Following is the description of the car’s history and condition written by my friend, the owner of the car:
I am a new collector of German cars from the ’80s and ’90s. It’s always been a childhood dream of mine to own these cars and circumstances in the last year allowed me to embark on that journey. IMHO these are some of the finest automobiles ever produced in the world. In the last year, I acquired a 1989 Porsche 911 (964 series), a 1992 Mercedes Benz 500E, and the 1985 Mercedes Benz 300D you see here. It took me a year to find the Porsche and six months to find the right 500E. The 300D was a bit of a twist of fate. While conducting a PPI on the 500E, I noticed a remarkably clean 300D sitting in the shop. I inquired about it and to my delight, the car was for sale. Soon the title was in my hand, and the thrill of driving one of the best-built, coolest Mercedes Benz ever made was now my reality.

This car is clean… not perfect by any means but really, really clean to the point that I don’t think it was ever driven in the rain! Originally, the car was a California model. You can tell by the location of the turbo mounting and the location of the air cleaner. I have all the original paper work from the original owner along with all the early service logs. I don’t know the history of how the car ended up in Illinois. I just consider it good luck. I have all the service records since I have owned it and have spared no expense in maintaining the car.

The reason for selling the dream is that I have to leave the ‘burbs and my four-car garage for an apartment in the city. This car is beautiful and I cannot fathom not keeping it in a temperature-controlled garage nor will I be spending $300/mo. for a parking spot. So my German car collection dream was rather short lived but I know it will happen again someday. I’m sorry to lose her but she deserves a good home and care.

The good:

This car is as original as they come. It even has the factory first aid kit that doesn’t look like it’s ever been used.

It is totally solid and incredibly clean.

It goes down the road in a perfectly straight line.

It’s incredibly quiet inside at any speed.

The 3.0 liter Turbo Diesel engine pulls like a freight train.

The transmission shifts smoothly. The shift from first to second gear hits a little hard until the trans warms up but I’m told that is normal.

I have had two Mercedes Benz specialists go through this car with a fine tooth comb to fix anything mechanical.

It just got an oil change, a valve adjustment, and a compression test for which it received an A+. So she is good to go for whatever you throw at her.

I have had the car buffed out and keep a nice coat of wax on her at all times.

She gets a ton of attention wherever she goes, and she puts a smile on my face every time I drive her.

If you are looking for a car to make perfect, this car would be an excellent candidate.

The Bad:

The driver’s door has some shallow dents. One is just behind the front edge of the door and goes from right below the trim to right above the body line. The other is right above the body line at almost the middle of the door if looking at it from front to back.

Wood center console where the window switches are is cracked and needs to be replaced. I found several on eBay for $150 but that’s a project for her next owner.

The rubber door seal on the passenger side is ripped up because someone must have locked their keys in the car and in the process of popping the lock they ripped up the door seal. It doesn’t leak but it doesn’t look good when the door is open.

I only have one key.

There is a small dime size chip in the windshield on the passenger side that was repaired by being filled a while back.

The AC works great but it only works on the coldest setting.

The cruise control doesn’t work.

The windshield washer fluid doesn’t squirt.

There is a small crack in the front turn signal lens.

The driver’s seat springs are worn, so the seat rises and falls a bit over bumps. It’s a relatively easy fix for about $250.

As can be expected of a car this age in original condition, there are small chips and scratches in the paint but it truly looks absolutely gorgeous overall.

There are 291 pictures below detailing the condition of the car. Please look at all them carefully, keeping in mind that my goal in taking so many in such detail was to magnify ANY flaw that I could find so that you don’t have any surprises when your new baby shows up at your door. The car looks much better to the naked eye than it does to the camera. Please ask any questions you have before bidding. You can call Chris at 773-474-1744, e-mail him at, or contact me through eBay.

The car is located in the city of Chicago. If you are local and would like to see it in person, please call 773-474-1744 to set up an appointment.

Shipping a car can be expensive, so be sure to look into it before bidding. The zip code is 60608 to help in figuring shipping.

Winning bidder picks up in Chicago or arranges for/pays for all shipping/crating. $100 deposit via PayPal due within 24 hours of auction close. Remainder via one of the standard payment methods within seven days. No PayPal for remainder unless you contact me first. The car is to be picked up within three weeks of auction close. $25 per week storage fee after that.

This is another good example of how to go about writing a sale advertisement for a car. While the service records only cover the last owner, the review by Mercedes specialists should put minds at ease. Also, a listing of the pros and cons is always nice, to give any prospective buyer an idea of what they might be looking at in terms of potential investment post purchase. With mileage closing in on 150,000, it shouldn’t be a huge concern. We’ve seen plenty of W123s come and go racking up hundreds of thousands of miles in the process. These cars might be the closest thing to an automotive equivalent of a fine timepiece. With regular service, they can be passed on from generation to generation, reminding future generations there was a time when engineering trumped anything the bean counters might have chimed in with.



  1. Ry
    Ry September 29, 2014

    Auction description, photos, and location are all lining up for me! A must for my ebay watchlist! Heck I might even go see it before the auction ends.

  2. Chris E.
    Chris E. September 30, 2014

    Great car and all, but a bid on eBay Motors is NOT binding, i.e. not a contract to buy as the seller states.

    Of course, reasonable enthusiasts like ourselves would not bid on any eBay Motors auction we don’t intend on following through with, but it’s very important to know this if you ever encounter a situation where the car you won in an eBay auction is not actually as described when seen in person.

    This is also the reason, I assume, that so many cars are relisted on eBay. That, and unreasonably high reserves in the case of aircooled 911’s…

  3. Ry
    Ry September 30, 2014

    @Chris – you just taught me something new & helpful, thx! That is a good, and important distinction for those of us that actually sell and bid on stuff there.

  4. Aaron
    Aaron October 2, 2014

    Nice color combo and kudos to the seller for the copious pics but it has an el cheapo rear muffler on it, so I have to question how good the shop was who serviced it, assuming the owner didn’t take it to Midas when it needed an exhaust.

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