Junkyard Find: 2003 Mercedes C230 Kompressor Sport Coupe

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 2003 mercedes c230 kompressor sport coupe
European luxury cars depreciate quickly once they leave the hands of careful first and second owners and start being treated like throwaway rusty Chevy Malibus or Daewoo Leganzas. For this reason, I see more S-Classes than C-Classes in big self-service wrecking yards, and the coupe version of the W203 is an especially unusual Junkyard Find.Here’s one that crashed hard and now ends its days in a Denver-area junkyard.
For 2003, this car had a supercharged, all-aluminum four-cylinder engine that displaced 1.8 liters and made 189 horsepower. Some junkyard shopper has grabbed the blower, a move I understand very well.
If I ever see one of these C230 Kompressors in such a place, with the engine in good shape and the six-speed manual transmission behind it, I will be tempted to buy parts for a stupid engine swap. I think a ratty late-1970s Fiat 124 Sport Spider would be fun with this powertrain.
The interior still has some good stuff, and I don’t see the BIOHAZARD stickers slapped on by tow-truck crews who find icky bodily fluids after a bad wreck. Some of these bits will live on in other C-Classes.
These cars were cheap by Mercedes-Benz standards, with C230 Kompressor Sport Coupe MSRPs starting at $25,670 (just a bit under $35,000 in 2017 inflato-bucks). American-market sales suffered the same fate as those of the affordable BMW 318ti hatchback of previous decade, as U.S. shoppers who can tolerate coupes and want high-end European iron tend to want something both faster and more flashy.
Ouch! A sad end to a rare-but-not-valuable Mercedes-Benz coupe in Cubanite Silver paint.
Now on sale!
Join the conversation
2 of 30 comments
  • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Feb 12, 2018

    These $26,000 cars were pieces of crap. What was Mercedes doing at the shallow end of the pool? Reminds me of "Mondeo" Jaguars, which, frankly, I'd take over this. I've been in these and they were the epitome of cost cutting.

  • Lon888 Lon888 on Feb 15, 2018

    A female co-worker bought one of these new. Once the warranty ran out and it started costing her a gazillion dollars a month to keep it pristine looking, she eventually let go to hell. That cheap German plastic interior looked like crap after 5 years...

  • Brett Woods My 4-Runner had a manual with the 4-cylinder. It was acceptable but not really fun. I have thought before that auto with a six cylinder would have been smoother, more comfortable, and need less maintenance. Ditto my 4 banger manual Japanese pick-up. Nowhere near as nice as a GM with auto and six cylinders that I tried a bit later. Drove with a U.S. buddy who got one of the first C8s. He said he didn't even consider a manual. There was an article about how fewer than ten percent of buyers optioned a manual in the U.S. when they were available. Visited my English cousin who lived in a hilly suburb and she had a manual Range Rover and said she never even considered an automatic. That's culture for you.  Miata, Boxster, Mustang, Corvette and Camaro; I only want manual but I can see both sides of the argument for a Mustang, Camaro or Challenger. Once you get past a certain size and weight, cruising with automatic is a better dynamic. A dual clutch automatic is smoother, faster, probably more reliable, and still allows you to select and hold a gear. When you get these vehicles with a high performance envelope, dual-clutch automatic is what brings home the numbers. 
  • ToolGuy 2019 had better comments than 2023 😉
  • Inside Looking Out In June 1973, Leonid Brezhnev arrived in Washington for his second summit meeting with President Richard Nixon. Knowing of the Soviet leader’s fondness for luxury automobiles, Nixon gave him a shiny Lincoln Continental. Brezhnev was delighted with the present and insisted on taking a spin around Camp David, speeding through turns while the president nervously asked him to slow down. https://academic.oup.com/dh/article-abstract/42/4/548/5063004
  • Bobby D'Oppo Great sound and smooth power delivery in a heavier RWD or AWD vehicle is a nice blend, but current V8 pickup trucks deliver an unsophisticated driving experience. I think a modern full-size pickup could be very well suited to a manual transmission.In reality, old school, revvy atmo engines pair best with manual transmissions because it's so rewarding to keep them in the power band on a winding road. Modern turbo engines have flattened the torque curve and often make changing gears feel more like a chore.
  • Chuck Norton For those worried about a complex power train-What vehicle doesn't have one? I drive a twin turbo F-150 (3.5) Talk about complexity.. It seems reliability based on the number of F-150s sold is a non-issue. As with many other makes/models. I mean how many operations are handle by micro processors...in today's vehicles?