Enter the slow lane – My first W123 diesel

Sometimes you don’t go looking for classic cars – they find you.   While I have always wanted to try a W123 diesel, I wasn’t specifically looking for one.    However, when I saw this 1981 Mercedes-Benz 240D, I thought it was something special.    I was able to secure it for what I thought was a very good price.

The main thing that appealed to me was how original the car looked.   So many of these cars had a very hard life and are still running in spite of that.   This car looked like it had been used carefully and had been the pride and joy of its owners.  I’ve outlined a lot more detail about the W123 240D and this car on this page.

W123 diesel

This will be my third W123.   My first was the first ever Mercedes-Benz that I ever owned – a 1985 230E.  The second was a 280CE that I rescued from sinking into the mud in somebody’s front yard, fixed up and sold to my brother.    While the 230E was a very nice car, this 240D is in nicer condition, and I sold the 230E over twenty years ago.

My W123 diesel is painted in China Blue, which I think is the nicest of the standard W123 colours.  The paint appears very original, as does the dark blue MB-Tex.   As you would expect for an Australian delivered 240D, it was bought with no options.   Australian delivered 240Ds came standard with air conditioning, power steering, central locking, a Becker Europa 596 & power antenna, a front arm rest and a passengers side mirror.   You didn’t even get a lockable glovebox.    I like the simplicity of the options, it feels in keeping with the car.

W123 diesel

I bought the diesel sight unseen.   This is somewhat of a risk, but I work a lot and would not have been able to go and look at it.   The price was such that if it had been a lot worse than I thought, I could have just sent it to auction and not been too out of pocket.

The car arrived on a tow truck last weekend and I was able to drive it around the industrial complex where I store most of my cars.   I was quite impressed.   Nearly everything seemed to work, other than the A/C.   The car was very much as described.   Everyone describes how slow the 240D automatic is, but my first impression wasn’t of a slow car.  The tyres are on the older side, but still in very good shape. The engine was very clean and was not leaking oil or diesel.

W123 diesel

I didn’t think the car needed anything to get registered, so I booked it in for a pink slip.   The car passed inspection, and with pink slip in hand, I was able to get it on club plates.    While there car was in having the pink slip, I asked him to see if he could re-gas the A/C.   It took a charge, but the compressor was not turning on with the switch, although he was able to get cold air if he applied voltage directly to the compressor clutch.

Due to the silly size of the NSW club plates, I had to make up an adaptor.  I had a spare blank plate for the rear, but not for the front.   In the end I found a previous adaptor I had used on the 250SE.  I’ll probably change it for a black one later.

On my way back from getting the car registered, I also picked up a few oil filters.   I have the original service book, but not recent history so an oil change will be one of my first jobs.

W123 diesel

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