1982 Mercedes-Benz W123 230CE 2.3 petrol from UK and Ireland
Destined to increase in value
Ball joint dust covers replaced.
Rear drop-links replaced.
Vacuum locking failure on front seats.
Wouldn't start first time, but replacing HT leads, distributer cap and rotor arm have solved that.
I saw this car online. It was a 1 owner vehicle with very low miles. I'd never seen one in factory black, although many have been (very badly) re-painted, often from champagne gold by various youths obsessed with cack-handed customising.
When the owner opened the garage shutter, the Mercedes was covered in a thin layer of dust, but still looked very handsome and elegant in a slightly sinister fashion. It looked like something maybe Blofeld's best henchman might have used for dating purposes: the rear seats are too cramped for the adequate menacing of abducted secret service agents.
After I'd examined the car I knew I had to buy it.
The condition is incredibly original. The chromework - and there's lots of of it, is perfectly clear and shiny, all around the window frames and the large bumpers. In combination with the black paint it looks phenomenal: sporty yet stately. The interior is half MB-tex (often wrongly quoted as leather in adverts) and half grey-checked cloth and completely unworn. It has the original sombrero style alloy wheels. There is no rust on the body, which is unheard of in the UK, and even the polythene bag containing the toolkit has never been opened. It still has the original dealer licence plates and stickers. The needles in the instrument binnacle are a deep orange colour rather than the faded yellow which occurs with UV exposure.
It attracts a great deal of positive attention: it's the best I've had in terms of being let-out at T-junctions. I've witnessed strangers literally taking a tour, walking around it. One older guy said it was very nice, but "I'd put fancier wheels on it". I had a DAB head-unit fitted as the original Blaupunkt was kaput (it's by the same manufacturer, looks old, and is even designated Stockholm 230). One of the workers at the shop said it was "My kind of motor! I can see myself in that! Proper pimp's car!" I considered suing him for libel, but he then lay down on the Alaskan Malamute company dog who seemed used to his attentions, so I thought the better of a court dispute. A fellow customer took the traditional tour around it, his mouth open and near drooling, shaking his head before asking me how much I wanted. He didn't even say "Hi". Drivers will slow down when overtaking to obtain a better view.
It regularly returns 25 MPG, with a best of 28 MPG. Not a quick car, but smooth and best suited to cruising. The fat 70 section tyres dispense with the poor roads and speed-humps: leave the cracked alloys to the low-profiled modern cars. The handling is quite soft but reassuring, and the boot is as large as that of the saloon version, which makes it very practical for touring. Put the four electric windows down, open the sunroof and marvel at a convertible-style experience without the leaking-seal and associated problems of that vehicle type.
I've just worked out this is the 10th car that I've owned. I may have to keep it in tribute to Bo Derek.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th July, 2015