I really enjoy my low maintenance inexpensive 1983 240D 4 speed stick Mercedes because it is such a simple car to work on and a pleasurable car to drive. The car fits my 6'3" 230 pound body just right. In fact the front seats will go too far back. There is plenty of headroom even with a sunroof. All the controls are easy to operate and easy to repair except the heater cable. I have not figured how to fix that yet. The mid-sized four door sedan had near perfect unobstructed visibility. Near the armrest a drink holder would be a welcome feature. Wind noise is at a minimum even with the sunroof open.
One feature I do not care for on Mercedes of that vintage is the vacuum door and trunk locks. When they get old they become a big pain. If you lock the trunk with the key using the key does not unlock it completely. Much too involved to explain now. Vacuum lock problems are accentuated in cold weather.
Diesels are not exactly cold weather cars. In the winter or anytime below 35 degrees the oil must be warmed up before starting. The car must be plugged into a 110 house outlet. The block heater plug is located below the right front bumper.
The car with over 200,000 miles accelerates like a snail, but once at cruising speed it can stay there all day. That means 70 mph on an interstate from NY to Maine or places unknown. Locally impatient Moms in SUV are constantly badgering me from behind by tailing my slow vehicle and beeping their horns or passing in an obnoxious fashion, with some sort of belligerent hand gesture, whether it be of trucker, biker or Italian origins. It all means the same. "Get out of the way, you're too slow for me". I still enjoy the smooth farm tractor feel of that little four bagger stick shift diesel.
The turning radius is amazing. It was designed for cab drivers in tight quarters on fifteenth Century European streets.
Everything on the car is so simple to fix. I bought the car with a bad window that would not go up or down. Turns out the window channel was bad. The replacement part was $125.00 but I changed it in less than a half hour. The door panel was so easy to take apart. No rivets, just a bunch of screws and a few simple tricks that were noted in the shop manual.
Unfortunately some cell phone headed kid rammed the near perfect car in the right rear pushing the quarter panel up to the wheel well. Mercedes are designed to crush on the ends under impact to absorb the shock for the rigid passenger compartment. I have a friend with a bulldozer. We easily pulled the crunch out. I picked up a used tail light assembly, a rear bumper at a salvage yard, a gallon of Bondo at the Autobarn store and some Home Depot blue spray paint. OK it is not perfect, but she is still a good driver. I had to iron out a few mechanical defects caused by the accident. In fact I got to the last one, a broken stabilizer link ($16.67 at MB dealer), fixed just this afternoon over a year after the original accident.
My next project is to replace a unit under the dash that is for the hydraulic clutch. The part leaks and I have to keep putting brake fluid in the reservoir (about weekly) so the car will shift gears.
Would I get another one? Why this one still is a great car! I could easily drive it around the world starting tomorrow!