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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.