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The Mercedes-Benz W114/115 walked so the W123 could run. Maybe not, but you know what I mean. The chassis marked a way forward into real mass production with almost 2,000,000 units built compared to just 620,000 of the previous W110. You had both automatic and manual transmissions paired with handfuls of engine choices over the nine-year production run and that laid the groundwork for one of the most legendary cars in history, the W123.
Today, these are often overlooked as the W123 is a far more livable car in almost every way, but that doesn’t mean they should be totally written off in terms of owning one. Yes, they are slow and you probably aren’t going to be regularly using one in today’s traffic. Still, these are immensely satisfying in a simple way a 1960s Mercedes-Benz product can offer.
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.
Every time the Mercedes-Benz W114 and W115 come up, basically the same thing is said over and over again: oft overlooked and somewhat forgotten. Not because these were bad cars or anything, but mostly because they predated one of the most legendary cars of all time in the W123. To me, these cars felt like sort of a dry-run for Mercedes when engineering the W123. Some things worked and were carried over to the W123, while other things were left in the past. One of the biggest things to make the jump to the new generation was the OM616 and OM617 diesel engines. Slight tweaks were needed, but the core of the engine was basically the same. They brought unparalleled reliability and toughness, but that came as a cost of being dreadfully slow. Still, it’s tough to complain about that when even now, some 40 years later, these engines are still kicking as well as the day they left the factory. This 1975 240D up for sale in Ohio painted in the lovely Cayenne Orange looks to be a real winner at first glance. But for as much as I wanted to love this car, some red flags have me thinking again about this one.
The W114 and W115Â is looked at as the generation that came before the legendary W123 came along and cemented itself as one of the best…
Some days it seems that no stone has been left unturned when it comes to the world of collector cars, but if you dig deep enough, there are still gems to be found. The W114/W115 Mercedes-Benzes, also known as the Strich Acht (or Stroke Eight) was not a particularly flashy or eye-catching vehicle, but this was the first post war Mercedes-Benz to use an all-new chassis. This car would last through 1976, when the W123 would carry the baton into the 1980s, making a name for itself around unmatched durability. In 1974, the OM617 inline-5 diesel would appear in the form of the 300D, an engine that would carry over to the W123 and even live on through 1991 in the G-Class. This 1975 300D for sale outside of Philadelphia has under 70,000 miles on the clock and certainly looks the part, ready to log another 70,000 miles in very short order.