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One of my favorite Mercedes-Benz nerd “fun facts” has to do with the 1993 Mercedes-Benz 300E. This chassis is quite possibly the most basic model you can find, but it is still loved by many due to the fact it will go for nearly forever as long as you take care of it. So what is the trivia about it? Well, in 1993 you could buy the 300E with an M104 2.8-liter inline-6 or an M104 3.2-liter inline-6. Back when numbers on badges meant something, this was a big deal. Not to mention a little bit of a horsepower difference as well.
Today, we have one of those 1993 model years with not the 3.2, but rather the smaller 2.8. M104 is M104, right?
I think it’s becoming pretty clear to everyone that the reality of owning a “new” car that was recently produced for a really long time is slim. Unless you own some factory diagnostic software and tools, or get really cozy with an independent shop that does, the weekend warrior at home in the garage will be a thing of the past. Even with something like an oil change requires software to reset the service intervals, and changing a battery? That literally needs to be coded to the car. No more slapping a new one in and calling it a day. Because of all this, I think the demand for relatively simple cars will grow greater and greater. A perfect example of that? Of course its a W124 Mercedes-Benz E-Class. This example up for sale in Maine is no low-mileage garage queen, but nice enough to make you think is. The thing, the price certainly reflects that.
Last week I went back-to-back with Mercedes-Benz V8 W124s with a high-mileage 500E and a 400E that ended up selling to one of our readers. I thought the 400E was a hell of a buy for the price it went for and probably one of the better deals I’ve seen in a while. Today, I figured I would round out the W124 sedan lineup with a 1992 300E. As you might have noticed by the title, this isn’t a standard 300E but rather the 300E Sportline. I’ve gone over what makes the Sportline special about a year ago, but the short of it is a bunch of suspension and steering changes along with a few interior bits to make this car feel, well, sporty. Sadly, no engine changes from the standard 3.0 liter M103, but you take what you can get when it comes to special editions and Mercedes-Benz. This example up for bid in Phoenix isn’t the most pristine Sportline I’ve come across, but it is rare enough to re-visit. As for the price, I think this one can be had for very little money.
Every now and then I present pieces of information that relate to Mercedes-Benz history that is somewhat significant, but mostly just stuff that might be useful for one specific moment in what might be years worth of time. One of those pieces of information has to do with the 1993 300E. Conventional thinking would lead you to believe that this car came with the 3.0 inline-6 that Mercedes has been putting in these cars and other models for years. Not the case for the 1993 300E. This car, badged the 300E, could be bought with either a M104 2.8 liter inline-6 or a M104 3.2 liter inline-6. Why they offered two different engines just for this year, I don’t know. In 1994, the model changed to the E320 and all of those cars got the 3.2 liter while the 2.8 liter moved to the then-new W202 C280. How can you tell if a car is a 2.8 or 3.2? Well, if memorizing VINs isn’t your thing, the trunk should have a 2.8 badge on the opposite side of 300E badge. Of course, some people removed those badges for a cleaner look or just didn’t want people to know you didn’t spring the extra cash for the 3.2. Another tell is that that all 3.2 liter cars have headlight wipers but only some 2.8 liter cars had them too. You can conclude that if a car is missing the headlight wipers it is a 2.8 liter so at least that is one sure fire way. Today, I actually have a 1993 300E with the 2.8 liter and immediately you wouldn’t you know as it doesn’t have the 2.8 badge. Luckily, this car’s tell is missing those headlight wipers so we can conclude it is in fact a 2.8 liter example. Isn’t all this useless information wonderful?
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.