1984 Mercedes-Benz W123 300D 3.0L 5-cylinder diesel


Life is too short and the road too long, to drive anything less than a Mercedes-Benz


Trans was going when I bought it... lasted 2 years (and god knows how many prior to that) before finally losing 1st gear (mostly). If I idled it, it would move 1-2 mph, & reverse still worked, so at least I could move the car.

General Comments:

When I set out to purchase summer and winter vehicles, I did extensive research, which ultimately led me to arguably the most dependable American 4x4 (XJ Jeep Cherokee) and one of the most reliable cars ever built, the Mercedes 300D.

After changing out both fuel filters, cleaning the banjo bolt, and a couple of diesel purges, this baby runs like a champ! People who say these are slow must have been running clogged fuel filters or a tired turbo. While this car is by no means fast, but if I tromp the throttle, it scoots well for a heavy car with not a lot of HP.

Cannot imagine the non-turbo 300Ds (late 70s early 80s), 125 HP isn't great, but 80 HP would be downright scary!!

Excellent build quality. Iron block + iron head = 0 gasket issues & reliability. One of the very short list of vehicles that can withstand the brutal roads in Africa (and Michigan) and not fall apart. That really speaks volumes. Diesel is slow to warm up when it's cold, but it has excellent heat when it finally does. I have a great deal of fun when people ride my ass while driving... I hit the pedal and blow some smoke at them like a James Bond smoke screen! They usually drop WAY back or pass me, but any tailgating issue is quickly resolved :)

Parts are readily available, as over 2 million of these were produced. These were made to be taken apart, fixed, and put back together. Getting familiar with replacing fuel filters and doing the valve adjustment yourself will save you some $$$. No chintzy plastic clips holding door panels on. The doors sound like a bank vault when shut. These definitely have a soul.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th January, 2015

18th Jan 2015, 03:41

Excellent build quality. Major understatement :)

1984 Mercedes-Benz W123 300CD 3.0 turbo diesel


The best car Mercedes ever built, and the best car I've ever owned - and I've had other Mercedes


Nothing, I've done all the periodic maintenance: Changed the oil every 3000 miles, valves adjusted every 12,000 miles, etc.

General Comments:

I've owned the car (Elvira is her name) since she was new, in 1984. I've not replaced her because in my estimation, Mercedes has not built a better car since then.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th October, 2014

12th Oct 2014, 19:06

You're right, they haven't. And from what it appears, it won't happen again. The last of the real Mercedes were those from the W124 and W201 era (260E, 190E).

25th Sep 2015, 14:06

Totally agree with the posting extolling the benefits of the 300D. My Benz (his name is Bert) has been owned consecutively by my friend and me from new. Never even had a passenger in the back seat. A car salesman commented he had never seen a used car look so new.

We are lucky to live in Australia... Because the climate is generally fine and sunny RUST is not an issue, so Bert is 'unmolested', having all original or genuine factory new parts. I just replaced the auto transmission and unpacked the box myself to confirm authenticity.

I believe this W123 model is still having new parts available, because of them being used as taxis in Europe. They are really great for us Aussies, as on a GOOD interstate highway I can leave Sydney.

1984 Mercedes-Benz W123 300D 3.0L turbo diesel


Brilliant in every way imaginable


Minor damage to driver's seat.

Vanity mirror covers are broken.

First aid kit cover is broken.

The passenger window came off the track, and the passenger rear window hasn't worked since I bought it.

General Comments:

It's been a month since I bought my 1984 300D turbo diesel, and I'm still absolutely smitten. I wake up in the morning, look out my window, and see the beautiful, white Mercedes staring back at me, ready to tackle the day.

The paint is starting to crack a little, and some of the vinyl is starting to fade, but for a car that's been in the hot, Southern Californian sun for the better part of 30 years, it looks about as good as any car.

I unlock the driver's door and hear a little creak as the trunk and fuel filler unlock, open the vault-like doors, and put the key in the ignition. Turning it into the second position, I hear the archaic buzz reminding me to fasten my seat belt, as well as the antennae rise from the rear of the car. As soon as the yellow glow plug lamp extinguishes, I turn the key, and the loud, clattery, syncopated purr of the 3.0L inline-five diesel engine greets me.

The seats ride on springs, the suspension (to borrow Jeremy Clarkson's quote) is softer than the journalism in an in-flight magazine, the steering is responsive but relaxed, and there's an air of elegance and class about the whole thing. It truly floats.

Recently, I drove from my home in suburban Southern California to Malibu and back, driving in mixed conditions - ranging from the notorious LA freeway traffic, to cruising comfortably at 50 mph on Pacific Coast Highway, to an 80/85 mph jaunt on the 10 East - and the trusty, reliable Mercedes returned 27 MPG. Coming from a car that got 22 in the best-possible highway conditions, it was a good feeling.

My experiences with Mercedes-Benz dealers have been excellent.

Overall, this car is just that - it is a car. I like to think that when Karl Benz built the first car over 125 years ago, this was the vision he had in mind.

There's a reason Mercedes-Benz's slogan is "The Best or Nothing".

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th April, 2013

22nd Feb 2015, 20:30

I agree, I've had Elvira (my 1984 300CD) since new, and will have it forever.