It has been some time since I’ve looked at the world’s most favorite wagon, the W123 Mercedes-Benz 300TD. We’ve been at the point with them for a while where unless it is an absolute heap, they are all worth saving or at least maintaining to the point of usable service. Sadly, some of the S123s ended up being used as work horses or straight up beater cars that took them to the point of no return. Today’s car, a 1983 in New Jersey, is one of those cars. Cosmetically, this one is pretty far gone and thanks to an odometer that stopped working who knows how many moons ago, mechanically it is a bit of a question mark as well. Question is, if it is cheap enough, is it worth it?
Last week I took a skeptical look at a 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300D with a claimed 24,000 miles. I say claimed because either that mileage is incorrect or someone had lots of hard love with it. Somehow I ended up on a tangent on the W123 vs W116, cars I both currently own, and how I much prefer the W116 chassis. I showed this in the 300D listing, but one of the coolest things that was included when I bought my 1980 300SD was a little snippet from a car magazine from sometime when these cars were new in 1978-1980. It reads, ”In the final analysis, that’s what makes the 300SD such a special car. It is prestigious as anything but a Rolls, but also frugal as an economy car and faster over the road than almost anything. It also feels so secure. All things considering, including the fuel economy, the 300SD is the best sedan in the world. Period.” High praise for sure, but you’d expect that level of car from something that cost over $30,000 (roughly $100,000 now) when new. It’s tough to say the W116 300SD didn’t stand the test of time either as nearly 39 years later, I’m still driving mine every day. Not a single thing rattles or shakes in the interior and I get a consistent 27 miles per gallon. Now if I could just find some nice Euro bumpers I’d be all set.
All that brings me to today’s car, a 1980 with just 8,197 miles on it. The story with this car is that the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in California got it’s hands on it after first servicing with 1,300 miles and then giving it a full reconditioning in 2009. I believe the Classic Center actually bought this car a few years and put it up for sale with 7,900 miles for a tidy sum of $50,000. Now, this car has the nearly 8,200 and the price has gone up even more. How much?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Mercedes-Benz 300SD on eBay
Update 11/20/18: This 300D sold for $13,700.
On Saturday, I will say goodbye to my 1983 240D that I’ve rehabbed and cared for the past two years. It was a classic Craigslist love story of everything looking great in the photos, but after traveling a long distance to go buy it, the car wasn’t nearly as cherry as the photos showed or the seller described. Funny how that happens. Still, I reluctantly took it home after negotiating a whopping $100 off the asking price. The past two years have been fun as it seems like everyone loves the thing, except my passengers who had to be on time somewhere as 67 horsepower is no match for moms in their 300 horsepower minivans and the concept of time in general. I wouldn’t have bought the car if it wasn’t for the Labrador Blue paint and matching hubcaps, and that is probably why it sold to its new owner. I think the W123 chassis is still brilliant and feels so damn good even after 35 years, but it just can’t keep up with the war that is daily traffic. My W116 300SD is a far better car for that, hence why I chose to keep that one even though it isn’t nearly as handsome. Not a knock of the W123, but the W116 S-Class was made to be the best sedan in the world and at the time it was pretty damn close to being that, even compared to the much more expensive cars from Bentley and Rolls-Royce. I’m not the only one who feels that way.
Today’s car, as you might have noticed, also has a pretty great color. This European-spec Pea Green 1979 300D shows just a hair under 25,000 miles on the odometer and should be a pretty mint example. I was super excited to dig into it to see a time-capsule car, but unfortunately, this falls just a little bit short. Let me explain why.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300D on eBay
A few weeks ago I looked at a nice 1982 Mercedes-Benz 240D that sold for a really fair $7,500. I confessed my admiration for the W123 and all that it can do, as well as what it can’t. Today, I came across a very interesting W115 240D up for bid in Portland, Oregon that deserved a closer look. I think the W115 in general gets overlooked at times because it isn’t the W123 but that doesn’t it isn’t a great car on its own. At first glance on this 1974, everything looked great with major recondition on both the exterior and interior. It wasn’t until I saw the photos under the hood and read the description of this car to see that this really wasn’t a 240D. At least not anymore. Let me explain.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1974 Mercedes-Benz 240D on eBay
I feature famous owner Mercedes-Benz from time to time with the scale of their ”famousness” ranging from Rowan Atkinson, Clark Gable, Bono and even Elvis. Personally, I just don’t believe that these names do a lot, or anything, for the values of the cars outside of it being just a cool side note. Maybe with some of the Elvis cars it might move the needle at little, but his star is fading as the years go by and the people who truly remember him are also fading away. Today, I have a car that you could argue is on the A-list when it comes to celebrity cars. This is John Lennon’s 1979 300TD. You might remember him as the co-founder of the The Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. His fame was tremendous until the day of his murder on December 8, 1980 and judging by how much media attention he and his family still gets just by throwing his name into Google, is still quite relevant. You would guess that maybe this car, a car that he owned until his death, is probably going to bring big money, right?