1980 Mercedes-Benz W123 Reviews

1980 Mercedes-Benz W123 300D 617.912 from North America

Model year1980
Year of manufacture1979
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission 617.912 Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired72000 miles
Most recent distance74000 miles
Previous carMercedes-Benz W124

Summary:

Slow, but great to drive

Faults:

Oil pan leak.

Vacuum system has leak.

Power locks inoperable.

Door seals need replacing.

Engine stops only when going to engine to stop it.

General Comments:

Purchased in San Diego, and the car had no exterior or underside rust.

Now the Mercedes is located in Detroit. Coated the exterior with cold galvanized zinc, and the underside with corrosion proofing.

Engine runs great.

Model year with an idle adjuster on the dashboard.

Mix diesel fuel with biodiesel.

Easy to do maintenance on.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd December, 2010

1980 Mercedes-Benz W123 300TD 5 cylinder diesel non turbo from North America

Model year1980
Year of manufacture1980
First year of ownership1990
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission 5 cylinder diesel non turbo Automatic
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.0 / 10
Distance when acquired40000 miles
Most recent distance348000 miles
Previous carMercedes-Benz W123

Summary:

None made better!!!

Faults:

Very few things over the years have gone bad. With some maintenance and proper care, these car last forever.

General Comments:

If you find a 300TD non turbo, they are worth every cent you pay for them. While it is not a speed freaky type car, they outlast any other car that any of the family ever bought. Plus the ride is smooth as silk still. It is like sitting on the couch.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd January, 2009

1980 Mercedes-Benz W123 Diesel 3.0 diesel from North America

Model year1980
Year of manufacture1980
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 3.0 diesel Automatic
Performance marks 3 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.2 / 10
Distance when acquired168000 miles
Most recent distance172000 miles
Previous carBMW 5 Series

Summary:

Best car I've owned in my entire life

Faults:

One trunk light.

General Comments:

Great car. If you get the transmission tuned properly (Mine shifted into 4th at 22 MPH, it's now at 45 MPH) Then it actually has a bit of a pickup, either that or I've been driving this too long.

It's yeah, a tad slow on the freeway when everyone else is doing 90, but other than that, if you're looking for a car that you want to go to point A to B, then consider this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th September, 2006

1980 Mercedes-Benz W123 280E 2.8 from Taiwan

Model year1980
Year of manufacture1980
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 2.8 Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.2 / 10
Distance when acquired100000 kilometres
Most recent distance130000 kilometres
Previous carAlfa Romeo 146

Summary:

A classic you can drive daily

Faults:

Shortly after I bought the car, it was very difficult to start when warm. The cause turned out to be a failure of the diaphragm (located below the fuel tank) which holds the static fuel pressure.

The engine also made shockingly loud cam noise, especially when driving at highway speeds. I have been told that this is common with this engine as it has mechanical (rather than hydraulic) cam followers - but you should have heard it! It was certainly way beyond normal. Even after adjusting the valves, the noise persisted, so I had the rockers and rocker pivots replaced. This helped immensely, bringing the engine noise to the standard level, but it's still a noisy engine.

When I bought the car, the steering was rather sloppy, so I had the steering box replaced with a rebuilt unit.

The door strikers also needed replacement. This is apparently a very common repair with 123's.

General Comments:

It's a really delightful car to drive. It has a lot of "presence" on the road. The best way to describe it is serenity. It is not a sports sedan, rather it is a compact luxury sedan. It feels very solid (but also a bit heavy!).

Around town it sometimes feels a bit cumbersome, but the motorway is where it really shines: The faster you go, the better it feels.

But make no mistake, it should not be judged by modern standards - the series was introduced over 30 years ago, and even that was an update of the W114/115 series introduced in 1968. So it's not surprising that it feels very charmingly vintage. What a huge quantum leap they made when introducing the W124!

The engine is a big lovely all-alloy twin-cam six. It's got loads of torque. It is only let down by the automatic transmission, which starts out in 2nd gear and doesn't allow the engine to rev fully before shifting to the next gear, even if it is floored. I discovered that for best acceleration, it's a simple matter to hand shift through the gears. Then it really surprises people!

To the smallest detail, all of the parts making up this car are of the finest quality. They apparently engineered their cars with the cost as no object. It's really true that in this case that; "they don't make them like they used to" The seats are definitely the most comfortable I've ever experienced.

It's really an enjoyable classic car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th July, 2006

22nd Jun 2010, 06:44

Thank you for taking the time with this review.

I also have the "difficult to start when warm" issue, but it is still manageable. Thanks for the advice!

22nd Jun 2010, 18:22

I had the same starting problem with my 1982 230E. It has a 4 cylinder engine, not the inline 6, but both cars (280E and 230E) share the same injection system (Bosch K-Jetronic). This gas injection system is incredibly reliable, just look for vacuum leaks, since this may lead to rough idle, hard starting, etc.

Another common issue is the injectors. After some years, they may not hold enough gas pressure after the engine is turned off, causing hard cold/hot starting. This is a very inexpensive part (around $20 each), very easy to change for a DIY person. The engine performance will improve noticeably: easier starts, more power and torque. Your Mercedes will appreciate it.

Average review marks: 8.0 / 10, based on 19 reviews