A few weeks ago I was up in the hills way above Fort Collins orchestrating a home inspection and after walking around noticed the neighboring lot had a lot of interesting iron just sitting there. According to the seller of the property I was involved with, the owner was in the process of organizing everything to sell it, so I went over the fence and took a few very hurried pictures of everything. Included were a nice little assemblage of Mercedes-Benz sedans.
This somehow reminded me of Janis Joplin and her famous song that she recorded right before she passed. In any case, let’s twist it a bit – pretend that CCHQ will dip into its vast pile of ad dollars and buy one of them for you as a “reward” for your support over the years; which of them is your choice to tinker with? I’m fairly certain they all ran when parked.
Starting with the lowest performance level, the red car is a mighty 240D from the mid 70’s. Endowed with its diesel inline 4cylinder, it has maybe around 60hp but a lot more torque (well, still less than 100lb-ft but torque is what you feel!)
The red color is always good for an extra 5hp and sorely needed here, the matching hubcaps are just the icing on the Kuchen. Shall it be yours? At least you’ll start out on top of a hill, it’s all downhill for several miles so it’ll feel just as fast as anything else.
Next to it we have something slightly more mature, but I believe I misspoke just above, this may be even lower-powered, being a 200D. Also a 4-cylinder, this fintail is from after the mid-cycle refresh, the closest I can date it is 1966-1967, as I don’t think it’s a 1968 which got some further changes. Being gray, it’s a little more dour than the red car but people are more likely to give you a break when attempting to merge and you’ll get fewer speeding tickets than Speedy Gonzales in the red 240D. And gray is definitely “in” as a car color these days so you’ll fit right in.
One of the CC Poster Child Cars makes an appearance too, a venerable W123 in one of my all-time favorite Mercedes colors. Again, matching hubcaps, and this one seems to have the euro bumpers but not the lights.
As a 300D, it can at least sort of get out of its own way, best to get up to speed and then just keep going with the momentum play. With 77hp on tap from its inline 5-cylinder it’s no rocket but it’s not easy being green.
With one of the larger bumpers ever foisted on a German immigrant, this big boy strikes an imposing figure. I’m not sure I dig the beige paint, but I think it beats the copper color that was pretty popular at the time as well. Something very unfortunate befell (or fell on) the windshield, there’s a weirdly shaped large hole in it.
No matter, hopefully your windshield replacement deductible is small. And someone commented a while back that these older cars didn’t have that many electronics so if a little water got in, no biggie, right? The “Bundt-Cake” alloys are fitting on this model and give it a more modern look than the hubcaps some of the earlier cars wore.
300SD TurboDiesel. It’s a good thing the trunk is so wide, otherwise all that might not fit on there. The engine is a US-only inline-5 again, this time with a turbo. Only offered between 1978 and 1980, they still managed to sell over 28,000 of these in the US and Canada which seems like quite a lot.
Assuming it’s a ’79, it still only put out 110hp, and the 168lb-ft of torque isn’t going to move the well over 4000lb weight of this too rapidly, in fact 0-60 was around 16-17 seconds, more than twice as long as the Big Dog 6.9liter. At least the inside was a pleasant place to be as you watched the speedometer dial move slowly. Thank goodness for the mandatory 85mph speedometer which made it look like it was moving faster.
Ah, the modern era! It’s always good to finish with a W126, but yet again a diesel! Another 300SD TurboDiesel, this is one of over 78,000 produced for North America between 1980 and 1985. The color is very “period” and it’s also rolling on a set of Bundts. While the others all seem to be plated with the correct period plates, this one has a set that’s newer than the car, so perhaps it was acquired used.
I still like the W126 cars although some here find them to be trouble-prone these days; but hey, it still has bags of style, is solid, and comes from Mercedes’ greatest era. I’d kind of wish for a 420SEL myself but wouldn’t mind giving this 125hp wonder a bit of the old welly just for grins…
So there you have it. Five fairly underpowered but exquisitely built Mercedes-Benz sedans spanning most of its modern glory years. You can’t have two, but you gotta take one. Which is it? I think I’d want the avocado green 300D for myself.
Oh, and to get you in the mood, here is Janis herself (although the video was created later around the audio and it’s not a “live” performance, it’s overall quite good).