1980 Mercedes-Benz 300TD

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.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Mercedes-Benz 300TD on eBay

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1977 Mercedes-Benz 300D ‘Coupe’

Just when I thought I’ve seen it all! What we are looking at is a 1977 Mercedes-Benz 300D that somehow was transformed into a strangely proportioned coupe. According to the seller, the body was modified by removing the rear doors, moving fuel tank and fuel door two feet forward, and extended the trunk lid two feet. Try to wrap your head around that. On top of that, this car already exists and Mercedes made of ton of them! Unless this car was modified right in 1977 when it came out, it made no sense why someone would do this. But here it is, in all its mis-proportioned glory. Just to make it even stranger, it is powered by a 1983 OM617 Turbodiesel engine. Let’s take a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 300D ‘Coupe’ on eBay

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1983 Mercedes-Benz 240D

I recently said goodbye to one of the cars in my fleet, a 1983 Mercedes-Benz 240D, that I maintained and cared for since 2016. It was a charming and very satisfyingly car that I’m glad I got to experience, but a prime example it was not. While it was finished in the lovely shade of Labrador Blue with a navy MB-Tex interior, it did have nearly 300,000 miles on the odometer. That meant various dings on every panel, rust scabs in all the wrong places, some suspiciously different-colored body panels, and a non-working air conditioning system. If all that was working, it would be a car to keep nearly forever and enjoy, but it just required too much effort considering the list. If I could buy a perfect example, sure, but at what cost? It still only had 68 horsepower when new and was right on the limit of being dangerously slow while trying to merge on the highways and climb long hills. Well, today we do have a nearly perfect example. But it comes at a very steep cost, as you might have guessed.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 240D at Mercedes Motoring

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1979 Mercedes-Benz 300TD

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?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300TD on eBay

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1977 Mercedes-Benz 200D

What if I told you that Mercedes-Benz made a W123 slower and less powerful than the 240D? Thankfully it was never sold in the US, but the 200D does exist. It came in at 54 horsepower and 83 lb-ft of torque, which is impressive that the engineers thought this was adequate for the year 1977. My whole thing is that I don’t care if cars are slow, I care if cars are dangerously slow. When you get stuck on hills, that’s not fun. When the car doesn’t have enough power to merge into oncoming traffic, that is a problem for everyone. So a Sunday evening drive out in the country, sure. Any kind of commuting or highway? Not a chance.

This example up for sale Oklahoma City now only checks in with the impressive 54 horsepower and 83 lb-ft of torque, but also has the steering wheel on the right side. An odd ball to say the least.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 200D on eBay

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1981 Mercedes-Benz 240D

Long live the W123, may it ride forever. It probably will too, if not for one eternal enemy that we’ll get into in a moment. There seems to be no mechanical limit to these machines as long as a reasonable amount of effort is put into regular maintenance and repairs. A few weeks ago we saw a 1979 300TD with over 782,000 miles sell for nearly $10,000, and that probably wasn’t even nearing the end of it’s life.

Today, we have the trust 240D with the OM616 paired with the basic 4-speed manual gearbox. There is no much to go wrong with this, except maybe the clock turns fast than you are able to accelerate. This example is finished in English Red, which is more like bring orange, but none the less a great color. The catch? Well, I wish it was easier to fix.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Mercedes-Benz 240D on eBay

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1982 Mercedes-Benz 300CD

When I really sit and the think about it, the W123 Mercedes-Benz chassis is not the most beautiful thing ever to roll out of Stuttgart. Especially considering they were producing some of the most beautifully styled coupes only a few years prior and basically every year since the start of the company up until this point. The W123 was total functionality, and did its best to look good as an afterthought. See one randomly parked among today’s blobs of cars? Sure, you can call it handsome. It’s making the best of what cards were dealt. The big bumpers are there to take a 5-mph impact. The squared-off taillights with a wavy design? Mercedes-Benz consulted a team of optometrists to study which taillight design is easier to be seen by the eyes in the dark and wet. Those taillights are what went on the car. The list goes on and on. Mercedes built a car with the intention to last forever and it sure is doing a good job so far.

This 1982 300CD up for sale in Los Angeles can be one of those “forever” cars. Enough miles to not think one second about not driving it in fear of devaluing the car, but not so many that its ready for taxi duty in the Middle East. The condition is bordering on outstanding, and the price? Well, its not cheap, but thankfully not too crazy.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Mercedes-Benz 300CD on eBay

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1979 Mercedes-Benz 300CE

As I get older and my head gains an alarming amount of grey hairs, my patience and desire for “projects” is growing thin. I have no problem working on cars, but my time seems to be sucked up by other things that aren’t getting covered in diesel fuel when changing a pre-filter. This is leads me away from saying things like “Oh, this car on Craigslist only needs $2,900 in parts and 10 hours of labor. I can swing that”. Instead, I’m finding myself just clicking the back button and not even considering cars that aren’t nearly turn-key.

Thankfully there are a handful of older cars out there that are still turn-key and need very little. This 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300CD up for sale in Oregon might just be one of those. It certainly looks like a time capsule both inside and out, as well as the most important area, under the hood. I wish this one wasn’t 3,000 miles away.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300CD on eBay

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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.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 240D on eBay

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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 lb⋅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.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300D on eBay

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