eBay (-ish) Find: 2001 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 200 CDI Automatic – With Only 563,000 Kilometers

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While scrolling down a car website the other day I came across a link to a car ad on a Dutch online auction and shopping website. The car itself was not really special or rare, but the text in the ad certainly was. The story behind the car, that’s what matters. I’ll get to that later.

The seller has a 2001 Mercedes-Benz W203 200 CDI to offer. The 203 series (sedan, wagon and coupe) was Mercedes’ C-class representative from 2000 to 2007. As usual available with a wide range of four-, six- and eight-cylinder gasoline engines and four-, five- and six-cylinder diesel engines. All six-cylinders were V-engines. The V8 gasoline was AMG only.

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This C 200 CDI has the least powerful 2,148 cc four-cylinder turbo diesel engine, type OM611. With its common rail injection it was good for 115 hp. This car was not built to win sprint races but to eat the kilometers (or miles) in an endless kind of way. Rolling down the freeway at 120 to 150 km/h in complete safety and comfort and with great fuel efficiency. Speaking of sprint races, as far as I’m concerned the 0-100 km/h sprint time has become a completely overrated nonsense number of yore. Furthermore, this is a family sedan, not the Lamborghini Countach in yesterday’s boys room.

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Back to the ad. What’s special about it is the way the seller describes his car. I’ve never seen such a comprehensive, hilarious and sincere car ad on a website before. You can find the original Dutch ad with lots of photos here.

What follows next is my integral translation of the ad’s text:

This marvelous piece of German durability has been a part of our family since it was new. It has gone through a lot…no, a TREMENDOUS LOT.

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It started its life as a leased car for my father. Right after about two hours there were already two small holes in the leather upholstery. You see, we like bicycle racing, so a wagon would have been more practical. But hey, “it’s a leased car, so we just throw it on the rear bench seat”.

My father was already an old geezer when he got it, so in all that time it never did go faster than 110 km/h. Fuel consumption was less than 4.0 L/100 km quite regularly. By the way, the absolute record was 3.6 L/100 km thanks to a broken sensor in the gearbox.

We both loved our C so much that my father bought it from his employer at the end of the lease term. At that point it had about 250,000 km on the clock. From that moment on the car has been treated as a private-investment. For example, bird poop was always persistently removed within six months by using an abrasive sponge…and it got new rims rather than these were cleaned.

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Due to the recycled steel that was used for this C model, rock chips and other damage immediately led to rust. So my father had the whole body panel resprayed the minute something occurred…by someone who shouldn’t be allowed to be in the business. The car has been in the paint shop so many times that I really don’t know if there still is a body panel with its original paint at all.

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Anyway, that’s all cosmetic. No wonder all those taxi drivers drove such a Mercedes. With timely maintenance they are mechanically indestructible. Furthermore it has a number of amazing gadgets. An example is the solution to that annoying tailgating: the so called “Mercedes Active Soot Screen” that slowly builds up in the exhaust system during the trip. To be activated by the gas pedal. And gone is that irritating tailgater, just like in a James Bond chase scene ! Ideal !

Exactly for these reasons I decided to take over the car about 4 years ago. With only 390,000 km on the odometer, so the little beast was barely broken in. First it got a pamper service and the broken rear springs, all wheel bearings and the bent rims were replaced. Looking back I might as well have neglected the latter; when I fell asleep behind the wheel for the second time not the guardrail on the left side but the concrete barrier on the right side made the rims not suitable for re-use. But as you can see the C is fully prepared now.

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Meanwhile it has 563,000 km on the clock and it’s still purring like a cat. The last 7,000 km the average fuel consumption was only 4.9 L/100 km according to the trip computer. Disconnecting the lock to get rid of the annoying sound coming from the broken door lock at the rear-left was one of the last modifications. So no worries anymore about car burglars damaging the car, after all, the door is unlocked. (The alarm does work however)

I’ll move to Belgium soon (relax, I’ll just stay a Dutchman). After such a carefully built up history it’s only logical that I wanted to take the car with me. Unfortunately it had to go through an import-inspection first. The car itself passed the inspection with flying colors, but a quick scan by the official learned that the total costs of importing the car were higher than its value. The Belgian official told me that buying another voiture was wiser than importing my Benz.

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So that’s why I’m looking for a decent new owner (from the Netherlands or Africa) who can take good care of this emotionally burdened C-class so that it will get to those 1,000,000 km. And I’m very positive it will get there.

I believe the service books must be somewhere in the car. I will be looking for them during your test drive.

It’s a “Classic” edition with:

Cruise control and speed-limiter
Automatic A/C
Leather upholstery
Automatic fold-down rear headrests (always funny to harass your passengers with)
Electric windows
Trailer hitch
Life hammer (maybe the most crucial option)
Radio/CD-player and trip computer
Steering wheel controls