1978 Mercedes-Benz 240D

Here is a real odd ball. This is a European-spec 1978 Mercedes-Benz 240 for with some really interesting modifications. The early W123 looks to be fitted with some kind of aftermarket bumpers and side skirts, European hubcaps from a W126 S-Class, a bunch of painted black trim, and probably the worst placement for a third brake light I’ve ever seen. It supposedly has just 51,000 miles and is even fitted with Michelin XWX, a tire that if fitted to a W123 can often double the value of the entire car. I have a whole lot of questions, and it looks not like many answers.

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1979 Mercedes-Benz 300D

Update 12/23/18: This 300D sold for $14,600.

The 1977–1981 Mercedes-Benz W123 with the naturally-aspirated OM617 5-cylinder doesn’t get enough appreciation in my eyes. Everyone loves the 1982-1985 OM617A, which is the turbocharged version, and rightfully so. Although, if you told me to pick one of the engine solely based on simplicity, I would probably pick the naturally-aspirated version. Yes, it barely has enough power to keep up with modern traffic with 115 lbâ‹…ft of torque, but no W123 is winning any races in 2018, no matter what the engine. There is a caveat however. In the 1977-1981 W123 with the OM617, you were cursed with the Chrysler automatic climate control system which has the same functionality as a pair of roller skates on a lake. When Mercedes updated the W123 in 1982, they realized their mistake and replaced it with a manual climate control system that, surprise surpise, still works flawlessly some 30 years later. You can’t have it all, I guess.

Today, I have an absolutely pristine 1979 300D up for sale in Poughkeepsie, New York with a hair under 53,000 miles. Painted in Topaz Brown over Parchment MB-Tex, this is one of the finest W123s I’ve come across recently and it has the story to back it up. Judging by the already fast and furious bidding, it is not going to go cheap.

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1983 Mercedes-Benz 300TD

 

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?

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1979 Mercedes-Benz 300D

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.

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1982 Mercedes-Benz 240D

Update 9/26/18: This 240D sold for $7,000.

The W123 Mercedes-Benz 240D is a car that does everything for me. I rotate my 1983 4-speed manual car as one of my daily drivers and despite its many flaws, I appreciate how satisfying it is. When I am driving home from work at night alone on the highway, it is true bliss. Everything is in the right spot, nothing is rattling or shaking, everything fits perfectly, it returns just over 30 mpg and all of that makes you realize why it is considered one of the best cars ever produced. It isn’t all gravy though, because on days when I’m heading to work in traffic and it’s 86 degrees outside, I’m driving it like a maniac just to not get ran over by a tractor tailor because I don’t have enough power to merge on the highway. Then when I do arrive at work, all my coworkers ask me why I look like I just wrestled a bear. Nope, just driving my 240D. I suppose it is not the cars fault because you do need to be a certain kind of crazy to still be daily driving one of these. The newest 240D is now 35 years-old and is well into classic territory and should be treated as such. But no, not me, I’ll suffer for the sake of good ergonomics and forgoing something called a ”car payment.”

This of course leads me to today’s car, a 1982 240D up for bid in Annapolis, Maryland. This car is painted in the rare Mango Green and checks with a just under 62,000 miles which is pretty unheard of when it comes to 240Ds. As you might have guessed, it is extremely clean and shows very little wear at all. What kind of price might it bring? I’m curious to find out.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Mercedes-Benz 240D on eBay

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John Lennon’s 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300TD

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?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: John Lennon’s 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300TD at Worldwide Auctioneers

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1979 Mercedes-Benz 300CD

Last week I checked out a cherry 1985 Mercedes-Benz 300CD that was had a few small issues, but I felt was worth the money. Sadly, it looks like the seller cut the auction short so we didn’t find out what the final selling price was. Today, I ran across another 300CD, but this one is a few years older and a little different. This 1979 up for sale in California uses the non-turbo OM617, which is a fine enough engine in itself, doesn’t have any rust and by some kind of miracle, has a functioning air condition. It also has a nice touch with the European headlights and the best part? It has quite the attractive price tag.

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1985 Mercedes-Benz 300CD

One of the more interesting things about the legendary Mercedes-Benz W123 chassis is the difference between the production numbers for the sedan, estate and coupe bodies. As you might have guessed, the sedan was the most plentiful at just over 75,000 units made from 1981-1985 as the 300D with the OM617 turbo diesel engine. Next up was the 300TD station wagon with a little over 28,000 units. Bringing up the rear is the 300CD with just 7,502 cars. The easy math here says that from every 10 300Ds, there is only one 300CD. That explains why you can go on your local Craigslist and find a handful of 300Ds, but the coupes? No where to be found. As a result, the demand and values for coupes have always been much higher than the sedan not only because of the rarity, but because they are cool cars and a pillar-less coupe is always classic. Today, I managed to find a really nice 1985 300CD up for sale in Florida and luckily, this one is a wonderful example.

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Tuner Tuesday: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500CE AMG

Pre-merger Mercedes-Benz AMG cars always seem to have a bit of mystery to them. Lots of times they pop up and don’t have any kind of documentation other than what you can actually see on the car and an overzealous seller shouting how it is an AMG car. The majority of the time the car just had some à la carte body parts and maybe some wheels, but was missing the big things like the AMG-modified engine and the actual AMG workshop building the car. Today’s car has none of that guessing. This is a car so unique and important to AMG that it had magazine features written about it and was even used in the brochures for AMG at the time. This is the 1983 500CE AMG.

This W123 Coupe started life as a standard 280CE before it was sent to AMG to be totally transformer into the best they had to offer in 1983. Everything was modified from the engine, the suspension, the bodywork and even the entire interior was changed to make this car a true one-of-one example. A M117 5.0 liter V8 was borrowed from the 500SEC and dropped into this car but not before being tweaked by AMG. The power number was raised from 230 horsepower to a little over 280 horsepower that propelled this car to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds. At the time, that was enough to hang with almost every exotic on the market. Inside, nearly everything was changed including installing a crazy Pioneer stereo system and wrapping everything that was normally plastic or vinyl with leather. There is so much more to highlight with this car, but the photos can do all the talking.

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1985 Mercedes-Benz 240TD

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 lbâ‹…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?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 240TD on eBay

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