Junkyard Find: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300D
After finding a couple of Mercedes-Benz W123 coupes for this series, I decided to shoot the next four-door version of this legendary machine that I spotted. Here’s one in solid, stolid brown.
It’s pretty tough to beat the diesel W123 for sturdy construction and utter lack of corner-cutting in the build-quality department. These cars cost plenty, and their owners (usually) got their money’s worth. The price tag for a new 300D in 1978 was $20,911. That’s close to 75 grand in 2013 bucks, for a slow car that was reasonably luxurious but utterly bling-free.
This one made it to just 216,623 miles during its 35 years on the planet. Not bad, but a bit low for one of these cars.
Once it got a little battered and its interior was no longer so nice, this car’s days were numbered. Most likely, something broke that would cost more than a couple hundred bucks to fix, and the owner just gave up on the car.
Here it is, the legendary OM617 five-cylinder diesel. Not a lot of power, but ready for Armageddon!
Some junkyard shopper thought about getting the grille, but then left it behind.
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Note the single, double, and triple square dots in the speedometer. Simple but effective engineering solution showing maximum shiftpoints. These cars were full of thoughtful engineering touches like that.
This makes me sad, partially because my one previous owner (he ordered it new) 1983 240D just turned 217,000 this week and still glistens like new. They all leave the factory the same. I love diesel 123s- this is my fifth. It wakes up every morning with a cheerful chortle and teaches me to appreciate every tenth of a horsepower. And it's fun to play crazed Parisian cabbie.