1979 Mercedes-Benz W123 240d non turbo from North America


Buy it for the style, not the value


Ignition switch went.

Fuel injector pump failed.

Lots of rubber needed to be replaced due to the sheer age of the vehicle.

Hood cable broke.

Brake fluid leaked.

The cost of repairs isn't bad now that I've found a mechanic who knows what he's doing. But I had to get ripped off a couple times first.

If you want my advice, have two mechanics; a general guy who knows a fair amount about them and a specialist for those difficult issues. Also, don't buy the cheapest one on eBay. Spend $5-7000 and get a near mint one with low miles with lots of recent maintenance history. Otherwise you'll spend the same in repairs, and have a car that is more familiar with your mechanics garage than your own.

General Comments:

Acceleration is semi truck slow, especially with an auto (I prefer manuals). 0-60 mph is 30 seconds! They are very comfy to sit in and feel solid all around. I've never had a problem starting it in cold weather, though a block heater will increase the life of your engine. 17f with no block heater and she started after about five minutes. Parts can be surprisingly cheap at the junk yard. I average 27mpg.

If you want a classic style and decent value, buy this car. If you want the best value and can afford to spend a few grand more, get a Jetta diesel. The fuel economy is more like 47 instead of 27 and it will cost you less to own in the long run. genegenre@yahoo.com

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 5th June, 2009

4th Nov 2009, 11:28

Uhhh are you serious? Only giving it a 1 for reliability? I think you need a different car if you think the 240 is not reliable.

21st Aug 2018, 12:32

I agree. 112,000 miles when purchased - at nearly 30 years of age - implies two possibilities: a) the clock was changed (maybe for failure, maybe for other reasons); b) the car was stopped for a long, very long time.

Case b) has - IMHO - the larger possibility to have happened: Mercedes-Benz - in particular the models of 15-20 years ago - were made to run several ten of thousands miles every year and they suffer during long stop periods. Rubbers needing to be replaced, diesel pump failure, etc, make me wondering if that car has been left parked for many years without any run.

I'm the owner of a W116 and a W124, the first one bought when 27 years old and 125,000 km on the clock and the second one bought when 20 years old and 138,000 km; the W116 was used by the first owner more or less 15-20 km every day, the second one ran 50-60 km every day, but was stopped for 6 years before it was sold to me. Well, the W116 had a very small failure amount, while the W124 was a nightmare for months (see my review on a 300E year 1990, from Italy).

1979 Mercedes-Benz W123 240D N/A diesel from North America


The car has been the best thing I've ever done


~RUST~ Major issue, but easily reparable. look for floor pans near rear seats, as well as front sub-frame.

Had pans completely replaced @ 238000.

~Starter, common dead spots. not yet replaced but still functional.

~Slave Cylinder 242000 miles.

General Comments:

~Incredibly Slow.

~About the same mpg as a 300D turbo or N/A.

~ ultra reliable.

~block heater isn't necessary.

~ brakes can get temper-mental.

No ABS : (

4 speed manual is AMAZING.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st April, 2008

1st Apr 2008, 19:35

Ha we also had a 1979 240D and our experience was about like yours, but the rust we had was a result of a bad paint job done by the "restoration" shop. The only other problem we ever had was the A/C compressor failed when the car was 18 years old (~wow~). You say no ABS, but ours did have "anti-skid" brakes, a primitive form of ABS, only difference being that they were not electronically controlled. Ours was also incredibly slow, and you're right about the mileage; the same can be accomplished in the 300D/TD versions which are much more powerful. Great cars, will have another W123 one day hopefully.

3rd Jul 2008, 12:48

I don't understand this primitive ABS system. All of the w123 ABS are electronic.

2nd Aug 2008, 11:46

I'm looking at buying one of these cars. What is the mpg?

4th Aug 2008, 12:58

I've heard of mid 40's with these on average.