1984 Mercedes-Benz W123 Reviews

1984 Mercedes-Benz W123 300D 3.0L turbo diesel from North America

Model year1984
Year of manufacture1984
First year of ownership2013
Most recent year of ownership2013
Engine and transmission 3.0L turbo diesel Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.4 / 10
Distance when acquired204130 miles
Most recent distance205500 miles
Previous carMazda Tribute

Summary:

Brilliant in every way imaginable

Faults:

Minor damage to driver's seat.

Vanity mirror covers are broken.

First aid kit cover is broken.

The passenger window came off the track, and the passenger rear window hasn't worked since I bought it.

General Comments:

It's been a month since I bought my 1984 300D turbo diesel, and I'm still absolutely smitten. I wake up in the morning, look out my window, and see the beautiful, white Mercedes staring back at me, ready to tackle the day.

The paint is starting to crack a little, and some of the vinyl is starting to fade, but for a car that's been in the hot, Southern Californian sun for the better part of 30 years, it looks about as good as any car.

I unlock the driver's door and hear a little creak as the trunk and fuel filler unlock, open the vault-like doors, and put the key in the ignition. Turning it into the second position, I hear the archaic buzz reminding me to fasten my seat belt, as well as the antennae rise from the rear of the car. As soon as the yellow glow plug lamp extinguishes, I turn the key, and the loud, clattery, syncopated purr of the 3.0L inline-five diesel engine greets me.

The seats ride on springs, the suspension (to borrow Jeremy Clarkson's quote) is softer than the journalism in an in-flight magazine, the steering is responsive but relaxed, and there's an air of elegance and class about the whole thing. It truly floats.

Recently, I drove from my home in suburban Southern California to Malibu and back, driving in mixed conditions - ranging from the notorious LA freeway traffic, to cruising comfortably at 50 mph on Pacific Coast Highway, to an 80/85 mph jaunt on the 10 East - and the trusty, reliable Mercedes returned 27 MPG. Coming from a car that got 22 in the best-possible highway conditions, it was a good feeling.

My experiences with Mercedes-Benz dealers have been excellent.

Overall, this car is just that - it is a car. I like to think that when Karl Benz built the first car over 125 years ago, this was the vision he had in mind.

There's a reason Mercedes-Benz's slogan is "The Best or Nothing".

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th April, 2013

1984 Mercedes-Benz W123 300D turbo diesel from North America

Model year1984
Year of manufacture1984
First year of ownership1984
Most recent year of ownership2012
Engine and transmission turbo diesel Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.5 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance109000 miles
Previous carHonda Accord

Summary:

After all these 28 years, I still enjoy this beautiful luxury tank

Faults:

After 3 months in storage and transport from LA to VA in 2006, the following became inoperable and needed work:

A/C converted, replaced condenser and compressor.

Odometer intermittently slipping since the move to LA at 106,000 miles, to now 109,000 in 2012, and still needs to be repaired.

Instrument panel cluster lights and rheostat dimmer switch still need to be replaced.

Automatic antenna replaced mast and broken motor rubber belt.

Front left disc brake bites, but have now replaced the entire front brake system.

Front dome courtesy light assembly needs replacement.

General Comments:

The car runs excellent, gears shift smoothly like butter, interior is in great shape without tears.

All automatic locks, sun roof, and windows are in excellent working condition.

Paint and body without is in great shine and shape.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th April, 2012

7th Apr 2012, 18:11

How're parts and insurance for these?

20th May 2012, 22:05

With USAA and no coverage on damage to the car, I pay USAA $500 a year (Middlesex County, MA).

Parts from the dealer are HORRIBLY expensive, but they can be found much cheaper aftermarket (aftermarket may be a lower quality, though), and cheaper still used.

If you are considering buying one, CHECK FOR RUST! I live in the NE, and a lot of the W123s here are in good mechanical shape, but poor structural condition. Lift up all the floor mats (if you see rust through the insulation, that is not a good sign), and peel back the carpeting between the bottom door sill and floor to check for rust in the lockers.

Also, as in on any 30+ year old car, some rubber (assuming it is original) will need to be replaced. So, check the seals and rear axle boots, front steering components, etc.

Also, have a thorough mechanical inspection performed by a competent mechanic. An engine rebuild on one of these cars is in the $4000 - $8000 range. Make sure that the mechanic checks (or, if the car is too cheap to pay a mechanic, that you check) the engine for good compression (350 -435 PSI).

All that said, I don't want to discourage you from buying a diesel 'Benz. A W123 'Benz in good shape is a thing of beauty. A poorly-looked-after one is a total $$$$ pit.

Q: "What has four wheels and $ucks?"

A: "A rusty 'Benz"

Average review marks: 8.4 / 10, based on 23 reviews