1981 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 300SD 5 cylinder turbo diesel from North America


Great car - I'm looking for another


AC compressor failed due to AC operation without fan.

Rt. rear window intermittent operation.

Tape player ate tapes regularly until I epoxied the little door shut - didn't eat many after that.

Dark brown paint oxidized from combo of California and Texas sun.

Front seat leather was somewhat raggedy by the time I got it.

Car definitely not watertight.

General Comments:

Best darn car I've ever had; good mileage, low maintenance cost, comfortable.

I would still be driving this car today if it had not become a Mercedes-Benz submarine during the Allison flood in Houston in June of 2001. After 48 hours underwater, it was too far gone to consider salvaging myself.

I miss this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th June, 2005

1981 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 300SD 3.0 TD from North America


It saved me!


Fuel primer.

Water pump.

Air conditioning.




Door opener.


Steering box.

Radiator over flow bottle.

4 window motors.

Window tracks.

Oil cooler fan.


Sun visors.

Fuel gauge.

Window switches.

Driver's arm rest.

Front end.


Rear springs.

Cruise control.

Vent system of all switches.

General Comments:

Even with all the little things that have gone wrong, and after a driver made a left turn and cut me off, and my Benz was the only thing in the intersection with me in it alive. Sadly the car was totalled and only with 203,000 miles.

I was looking forward to taking the car to the 500,000 miles. I will be making my next car a Benz, it saved my life at 40+ MPH.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th August, 2004

1981 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 300 SD Turbo turbo diesel from North America


A head-turner that's economical and reliable


Water pump went while bringing it to Pennsylvania from Florida, when first acquiring the auto in 1998. Made it to PA and had it replaced.

Rear right window motor works, but the window doesn't move.

General Comments:

Car's body and interior are immaculate.

Spent most of its life garaged.

It is a dream to drive on the open road.

Gas mileage is excellent for a car weighing nearly 4,000 lbs.: 25 MPG.

Have spent next to nothing on the car since acquiring it five years ago.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th January, 2004

1981 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 300SD turbo diesel from North America





General Comments:

This is another perfect Mercedes-Benz, we've owned 13. Not a problem yet put just regular where and tare.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd April, 2003

9th Oct 2004, 02:09

Probably the best handling, maintenance worry free, best in mileage (considering it's a Heavy classification car) the best in riding comfort car that Mercedes Benz has ever made. I would like to suggest to Mercedes benz to produce the same model again and I could be the first to buy one.

1981 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 300SD 1.5 turbo diesel from North America


Very reliable and safe at speed


Intermittent speedo.

Intermittent climate control (mostly works :)

Oil cooler leak.

Power steering master cylinder.

Just small stuff.

General Comments:

This car is approaching 450,000 and it is great. The only thing it needs is a tune up due to cold start smoke. This car has been very low cost. It's so good that I don't think I will buy a new car this year, but spend it on getting the engine oil leaks fixed, a new paint job and some minor cosmetic thing fixed and it will be like new. 10,000 to 12,000 dollars on the engine and paint and it will be like new again. Very happy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th May, 2002

1981 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 300 SD turbo diesel from North America


A car built with respect towards its owners


Power windows stopped working due to the controller, not the power motors.

I wish the interior material (i.e. plastic) was of a better grade.

Rear window leaks a tad.

Front end needs tightening.

General Comments:

One word: excellent!

This car handles like it's on rails.

Very roomy driver's seat (I'm 6' 4" and I can stretch my legs).

This is what a car should be. Firm, fuel efficient, well made, and comfortable.

Cheap and s-i-m-p-l-e. Easy to maintain even for the novice do-it-yourselfer.

Great on gas, I drove eight hours on the highway and around town for a week straight on about 10 dollars of gas.

Great looker, and easy on the pocket. Everyone should have one of these!

When I went looking for cars, I found nothing for under $3.000 that appeased my extremely critical eye until I drove into a shabby little dealership that had this beauty lying in the back.

The poor thing was covered in dust and grime, and had obviously been mistreated in the past. But at a tag price of $2300 it was screaming TAKE ME HOME AND LOVE ME!

So, after convincing my wife and a lot of research I took it to the Mercedes dealership (horrible service, ignorant and incompetent mechanics) where the mechanic on duty failed to see the real faults of the car (which I had already pinpointed), and I've never even had a Mercedes before!

After some thinking and making an inventory of all the few things that needed to be done, I paid the dealer and took it home.

Great ride on the highway I must say. Firm and powerful (thanks, turbo) like a sportscar, yet well-behaved in traffic.

The bottom line is, they sure don't make them like they used to.

I recommend this vehicle for anyone who is willing to spend $600 to $800 every two to five years... But if you want to keep spending $15 (every week of your life) on that Asian or GM, then this car is definitely not for you.

This boat has almost 200.000 miles and it still runs and drives like it just rolled off the factory lot.

Seen any 21 year-old Lexus lately? No... I mean with the doors still on it?

My previous car was a Ford Crown Vic police car. What can I say... It was like a refined version of the Crown Vic.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th January, 2002

10th Nov 2003, 05:17

At 210,000 miles now, I can't wait for the next 200,000 miles. It just keeps on going and going. More than happy with my car.

30th Sep 2004, 10:27

Right now, my fiancee and I have a 300TD; we've only had it for about one and a half months, but so far, we are happy. And we are expecting the type of reliability realized with your 300SD; I am hoping that will be our next Mercedes in the near future.

Oh, and there are no 21 year-old Lexuses because the marque has only been around since 1989 (15 years ago) :)

6th Oct 2004, 18:35

I recently purchased a 1982 300 SD and have owned a 1978 240D for sometime. One thing I can say about the 240 is that it seems to be un-stop-able. The 300 is just about road-ready (it had been in a garage for twelve years). I look forward to the same dependability with the 300 that I see in the 240. The engine in the 300 has 121,000 miles, still new by some standards, and runs with with a hearty purr that makes any diesel lover well-up with tears. I can only hope that in the next several years to come I will be driving the 300 nearly exclusively, with the 240 as back-up.

9th Aug 2005, 14:45

Nobody has seen a 21 year old lexus because lexus was not around in 1981. But I agree with you, I am actually about to buy a 1981 300sd.

6th Jun 2010, 10:36

A few months back I bought an all black Eclipse GT on impulse. Though the car was solid, the potential life altering expenses scared me. I sold it and bought a peach 300SD with 146k, and though it's 30 years old, I'm not scared about being left high and dry in this car.

26th Jul 2015, 21:15

Same here! I looked and the 1981-1984 turn my crank! Heading up to central BC Canada to pick ours up in 3 weeks! 300SD 1981 :)

1981 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 300SD 3.0L Turbodiesel from North America


The SD yields more comfort, space, and driving feel than any auto should for so little money



General Comments:

This is my 4th M-B (3rd diesel) and it is by far the most well-engineered vehicle I have driven. For a grad student on a tight budget, it is amazingly economical, reliable, relatively inexpensive to maintain, not to mention safe (was hit by an airborne deer at 65 mph - just 2k in cosmetic repairs - would have died in a Toyota).

This is a perfect highway car - plenty of power at speed, and like every M-B I have driven, the handling improves the faster you drive. Tight, solid, with a huge passenger compartment to relax in - all this and classic good looks, too.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th January, 2001

13th Jul 2001, 15:16

Hi there. I have been driving Mercedes for over 30 years now and I agree with everything you say. At the moment I have a 1982 300SD Turbo (126) and it is a fantastic car. There is only 40,000 miles on this baby, so I think I will have it for a long time to come (what would I replace it with anyway?). Cheers. Alan. (Kamloops.British Columbia. Canada) <ajguinness1@home.com>

17th Oct 2002, 23:56

I have had my 1979 300SD for 3 or 4 years now. It has about a quarter of a million miles on the clock. It handles beautifully, is extremely comfortable, reliable and is the most economical car to operate and maintain that I've ever had.