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To W123 or not W123?

Popeye

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Talk me out of it:

We need 1.5 “daily” cars. Most days one car is perfect, but sometimes errands and kids activities means two cars make life easier.

And I found a W123 Mercedes 300D for sale. 200k miles, no rust, clean, and mechanically well maintained by my mechanic since last century.

Should I buy it for a no-snow (ie no salt) daily? The price is on the higher side, but it recently had a bunch of work done to it, and won’t need anything “out of the ordinary” soon - realizing it’s a 40 year old car with a lot of miles.

I’ve always loved the W123 body and ride, ogling after one since a teenager. I’m not too worried about the mileage, given vintage Mercedes and diesel.

Talk me out of it… what could possibly go wrong?? 😀
 

DrEntropy

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Talk me out of it:

We need 1.5 “daily” cars. Most days one car is perfect, but sometimes errands and kids activities means two cars make life easier.

And I found a W123 Mercedes 300D for sale. 200k miles, no rust, clean, and mechanically well maintained by my mechanic since last century.

Should I buy it for a no-snow (ie no salt) daily? The price is on the higher side, but it recently had a bunch of work done to it, and won’t need anything “out of the ordinary” soon - realizing it’s a 40 year old car with a lot of miles.

I’ve always loved the W123 body and ride, ogling after one since a teenager. I’m not too worried about the mileage, given vintage Mercedes and diesel.

Talk me out of it… what could possibly go wrong?? 😀

Ummm... Turbo?

If the car has been well maintained, it has another 200K to go. Only "down-sides" are the less-than lightning acceleration when cold and what one automotive writer said about them: "The Mercedes brakes. Only because the car behind you likely doesn't have them!"

Diesela has well over 200K, it just keeps going in spite of my negligent "maintenance schedule"! I've had to un-bugger things done by the P.O.'s "mechanic" but small consideration when looking at twenty years of reliable service at our ownership.
 

70herald

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A car that was designed to last almost forever? You're in the wrong place to look for someone to talk you out of it. We're enablers. No rust and maintained by someone you know. If I saw one like that near me at a reasonable price I would be very tempted.
 

DrEntropy

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Saw Diesela on a Sunday morning, at a local convenience store. I was in the +2 Elan. The Benz had a "Dealer" tag and nobody around, the lot was empty of any other customers. Went in to get a quart of milk and the Sunday paper. Went back outside to find a guy standing in front of the Lotus, he said "I thought it would be you while in the store but decided to wait out here." I asked if he was selling the car, he said yes, it had belonged to his recently departed father-in-law and no longer needed. "Price?" He gave me a stupid-low number and told me where he and his partner had their pitch. Held out my hand and said "Deal. I'll be there tomorrow morning with the money." That was over twenty years ago now.
 

NutmegCT

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Mike - go for it!

Those were well made, especially before 1980. You didn't give the year, but a turbo would usually have "TURBODIESEL" on the rear of the car.

The W123 diesel would run forever - or at least 500K to 1 million miles - if well cared for.

Obviously, check undercarriage for corrosion. If you know the mechanic, you're a lucky man!


Wish I were closer!

Tom M.
 
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Popeye

Popeye

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Thanks everyone. Appreciate the words of encouragement. And more importantly, the fact that no one pointed out red flags - my real concern with an old car that I don’t know very well.

Again, it will be a while before it gos on the market - and there is always a chance I get “scooped” by someone like Tom, who’s closer than he may think… 😀 (if i miss out to a fellow car nut, honestly, that’s ok!)
 

JPSmit

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Hmmm here we are sitting in the bar and Mike says 'should I have another beer?' 🤣

Seriously of course go for it - and they continue to make strong money so I suspect you can't go wrong financially if you decide it isn't for you.
 

NutmegCT

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I'm certainly not interested ... and would *never* ask for the seller's location ...

But I do frequently test my GPS - so you could give me the geographical coordinates. Just for testing sake, you understand ...

angel.jpg
 

JPSmit

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LarryK

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No guts, no glory. Probably last chance to get one that is in decent shape.
 

2002S2000

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I'm going to be the contrarian......if money is the same or close, buy Honda or Toyota, maybe a bit boring but most likely worry free and will serve purpose with a/c that can handle the climate (if needed).
 

LarryK

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Fun car over boring cars. Buying the w123 will be cheaper in the long run and you have your dream car. I started with Jags, went to Land Rovers and MINIs. Now have 2 of each Jags, MINIs, Land Rovers and a boat, a Triumph GT6, a 64 Valiant, and a small 20' RV. Having fun and memories, not dreams.
 

DrEntropy

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Popeye

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Still waiting! Full disclosure, I’ve been eyeing the car since about September. It’s at my mechanic, and he wants to do some work to it before putting it on the market. He painted the wheels, removed all carpet to shampoo, and needs to go over the engine - although I am not sure what this entails (valve adjustment, etc.) His head mechanic got called in for long-term jury duty - while overhauling a BMW M1.

I’m not in s hurry, I’m looking for a summer car - I don’t want to add rust to a 40 year old survivor.
 

NutmegCT

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Thanks Mike. Keep us in the loop. Would be interesting to know details on what your mechanic is doing on the engine before he offers it for sale.

Did you ever find out if it's a turbo engine?
 

DrEntropy

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Still waiting! Full disclosure, I’ve been eyeing the car since about September. It’s at my mechanic, and he wants to do some work to it before putting it on the market. He painted the wheels, removed all carpet to shampoo, and needs to go over the engine - although I am not sure what this entails (valve adjustment, etc.) His head mechanic got called in for long-term jury duty - while overhauling a BMW M1.

I’m not in s hurry, I’m looking for a summer car - I don’t want to add rust to a 40 year old survivor.
If that Benz has an interior worth shampooing the carpets, NO QUESTION it would be worth having. I'd be ashamed to post the insults and negligence Diesela has suffered. But she keeps on keepin' on. Just replaced the heater/AC control a while back, plan to refurb the A/C system before real "summer" ramps up here. Haven't had a working A/C for about a decade.
 
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