Modern Mercedes cars are still among the most luxurious you can buy, packed with cutting-edge electronics and complex engines. However, there’s something charming about an old Benz which can run forever, such as this W123 from 1978. It’s a 300CD, meaning it’s the coupe model with a 3.0-liter diesel engine.
These lumps of iron can run forever and are even known to run on vegetable oil. I think the Mercedes museum in Germany has one that used to be a taxi with about a million miles. However, this particular 300CD has under 100k miles and received a miraculous transformation as part of a detailing video shot by the famous AMMO NYC YouTube channel.
The W123 was made by Mercedes-Benz between 1976 and 1986. It predates the modern naming convention, but this is essentially the predecessor to the E-Class executive saloon and was an amazing vehicle in its day, built to last and available with airbags. In total, they made 2.7 million of them, and sedans are the most common. However, this Coupe model dubbed the C123 (chassis name) is rarer with just 99,884 made.
If you like old German cars, it’s easy to fall in love with something like this. It’s got that cream color associated with Mercedes models from that era and a tan leather interior. In case you’re wondering, the average price of one in 2022 is about $10,000. They don’t come up for sale very often, and after AMMO washed it, the coupe was placed for sale on The MB Market (auction) where it went for $12,250.
Some details were specific to the American market versions of the W123, such as the thicker bumpers designed to withstand 5mph crashes or the orange reflectors. These cars were famous for their big, round double headlights, though top-end European models had rectangular halogen-powered lights.
The 300CD was a variant of the C123 Coupe that was exclusive to the North American market and it came with the OM617.912 engine which produced 78 hp (84 hp after the update) and 115 lb-ft of torque. They made 7,500 of them until 1981 when the 300CD Turbodiesel came as a replacement, with 125 hp and 181 lb-ft.
Mercedes built these things to last, so even though the underside and engine are covered in mud and dirt, the 300CD cleaned up nicely. Of course, she’s not perfect, and you can see a few concerning rust spots. Also, the paint on the hood has developed crows’ feet because the primer underneath the paint is starting to crack.
Thankfully, there isn’t even a hint of mouse droppings anywhere, probably because of the cat prints on the windshield. Mice can be a huge problem for models like this because they like the taste of wiring insulation and will chew through everything.