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The desire for the W123 Mercedes-Benz 300TD never really seems to wean. I honestly think a lot of the desire comes from the car looking so good on paper, and then diving in and hoping for the best. Yes, it is tremendously reliable and sturdy in a world of cars built just to outlive the warranty period, but they are not without many sacrifices. They have just enough power not to be a nuisance on the highway, luxury comforts are almost zero, and safety versus any object bigger than it deploys the “hope and pray” strategy rather than airbags. Still, if you are looking for a stylish cruiser that can haul some stuff a day or two a week, it is tough to argue. However, these cars are getting old – very old. The newest example from 1985 is now old enough to run for president and the earliest 1979s models are ready to go to their kid’s college graduations. That doesn’t seem to bother paying truly crazy prices for them however.
Today, we have a non-turbo 1980 up for sale in Florida in the classic shade of English Red. Yes, it sure looks pretty and would look great in a world of earth tone swarming the land, but I’m maybe not so high on this example. Let me explain why.
Was last week’s 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 too much of a project for you? Yeah, I don’t blame you either. That was a little too far gone for most pallets. However, today we have a much less intensive project.
This is a 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300TD. The legendary wagon that will never fail unless you let it sit for years and the fuel turns to mush. If you thought that was really specific, then you are right. For as good as this car looks in the photos, it supposedly does not run and hasn’t been started in two years. You might be saying how does that happen, but the Bentley Bentayga in the background probably helps to explains it. Still, this car looks really good and is claimed to have just a little over 46,000 miles. Is it worth the gamble?
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?
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?
I’ve been using my 1983 Mercedes-Benz 240D with a 4-speed manual as my primary driver for over year now and really enjoy almost every aspect of it except for one big thing: It is ungodly slow. The North American spec 240Ds were blessed with a conservative 67 horsepower and 97 lb⋅ft of torque when new and after 35 years I’m going to guess it lost a few precious ponies. This results in me using the accelerator pedal as an on-off switch the majority of the time. Don’t get me wrong, around town the car is totally fine. On the highway? I’m traffic’s worst nightmare. If I am at the front of the line at a stoplight and the speed limit on the road is 55 mph, I might as well be hauling a car full of puppies to the pound because that is how people look at me. It takes somewhere in the 15-20 second range to accelerate to 60 mph depending on the grade of the road and Peggy in her minivan on her way to soccer practice has no patience for me. Other than that, everyone loves the car. But what if the 240D was even slower? Say hello to the 240TD.
This German-import 1985 240TD up for bid in Arizona is equipped with everything my 240D has, including the same 4-speed manual gearbox, but with the extra weight of the wagon. You can see where I am going with this. Thankfully, this W123 estate is actually nice enough where you can pick and choose your 0-60 mph battles and not feel bad if you hold someone up for an extra second. Although at the current price, is it worth it?