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The W123 is a classic car you can use on a daily basis. Produced between 1976 and 1985, theseÂ mid-sized executive sedans set industryÂ leadingÂ standards for safety, passenger comfort and reliability during that time. In fact, the W123 was so rugged that Mercedes took it rallying, scoring a surprise win in the notoriously grueling, 30,000 mile, transcontinental London-Sydney Marathon. The W123’s iconicÂ silhouette remains a common sight on today’s roads – no wonder, since they last forever – and when you see one, there’s no mistakingÂ it for anything other than a classic Mercedes. From 1981 onwardsÂ you could only buy the W123 as a dieselÂ in America. These cars would get you where you wanted to go, but not very quickly.Â Which makes this final year, European import gasoline powered car a tempting option.
The enthusiast website Petrolicious posed the question if the venerable Mercedes-Benz W123 would be the last “normal” car you would ever need. I think the word normal sums up this car quite perfectly. But in a good way. That’s in contrast to a car like the Toyota Camry, which is a good example of “normal” in a bad way. The Camry is the perfect car for the non-car enthusiast. It doesn’t do anything exceptionally well, but it will be, for the most part, reliable. Many have asked for my opinion on this Toyota over the years and I always say the same thing: over 400,000 people a year can be wrong.
If it’s reliability we’re talking about, that long-standing trait of the Camry pales in comparison to what the W123 Mercedes-Benz is capable of. This 1981 280E we see here for sale near DÃ¼sseldorf, Germany will indeed last you a lifetime with proper care. Witness the number of examples that are still pressed into service on a daily basis. However, in our quest to find the best and lowest mileage examples of your favorite classics on the market, have a look at this W123 that has just over 14,000 miles on the odometer from new.
Following on to the clean 1982 Mercedes-Benz 300D from last week, here’s that car’s petrol powered cousin, a 1980 280E. While they sold the W123 with the M110 inline-6 in the US market, this 280E was a German market spec vehicle imported to the US in the 1990s. It shows just under 50,000 miles on the odometer and it shows, which makes this car barely a baby in terms of W123 speak. While this might be a target for collectors, this is a Benz that could serve as a practical classic and probably still run until you take your last breath.
Yesterday, we featured a 1987 Mercedes-Benz 300TD, it’s diesel engine being a rarity for US market W124 estates. Today, we have this 1981 Mercedes-Benz 280E, with it’s petrol six-cylinder engine equally as rare for US market W123s. Whether it’s a diesel or petrol lump under the hood, less than 85,000 miles is not much for these cars and the condition certainly appears in line with the mileage. If you’ve always desired a little more speed in your W123, this would be one to scope out.