I’m almost embarrassed to write anything about the W123 on CC. I have a serious soft spot for them, but their ubiquity means they barely qualify as classics, in a way, and we’ve had many pieces on these cars already – not a few being authored by yours truly. Then again, I just wrote another Mini post, so why not? And when happening upon these three immobilized beauties, I felt like the rest of the world needed to know that W123s do die after a (long) while. And they apparently do so in threes.
The phrase “Storage Lot” in this post’s descriptor doesn’t quite fit, but it’s the best I could do. This is definitely not a junkyard, nor really anything like a storage lot. It’s just a strange purgatory-like parking lot, lost on the outskirts of Tokyo, posing as a (temporary?) resting place for a triplet of German quasi-evergreens. But that just wouldn’t cut it as a CCategory.
So we have three W123s here – which might be called a sextuple-U-369 – composed of a pair of Diesel wagons either side of a 230E saloon. Interesting in itself, as the majority of W123s seen in Japan are of the 280E variety.
All three cars still have their colour-coeded hubcaps, most of their brightwork (hood ornament included), all of the glass and headlights intact…
It really is the neatest group of out-of-commission Benzes you’ve ever seen. Even junkers are tidy in this country.
Here’s the beige interior of the beige wagon. Extremely clean for a car that is no longer deemed roadworthy.
Given the price of housing and hotel rooms in this city, renting this wagon as a temporary accommodation for a fistful of yen would make sense. Just because it’s immobile doesn’t mean it’s no longer useful.
The orange wagon, in contrast, has had a tougher life. Or it’s already started donating some of its parts, i.e. a door card. And who knows what else. I couldn’t get to the blue saloon in the middle all that easily, so I didn’t bother trying to get a photo of the interior, but it was very well-preserved.
The orange wagon has clearly been taking root here for a while. As the red-headed stepchild of the bunch, with its messy interior, missing trim pieces and odd stenciled markings.
It even had a sticker on the rear window that immediately struck a nostalgic note in me: this is a (very faded) portrait of King Bhumibol, who reigned in Thailand from 1946 to 2016. Having lived in and around Thailand from 2011 to 2019, that face is seared into my brain thanks to the Siamese obsession with displaying their royals everywhere. Very strange to see you here, Sire.
Pretty positive that these are kept here as organ donors for the myriad W123s still in active duty around Japan. It’s been over 35 years since the last ones were put together by now, so squirreling a few away to keep the rest of the fleet in running order is sound policy.
Still – no tarp or any sort of protection from the elements? With all the typhoons we’ve been getting lately? Harsh.
Guess these three are not going to look any better with passing time. Just like the rest of us, really. The W123 as a metaphor for life?
CC Outtake: A Mercedes-Benz W123 Taxi in 2016, by Robert Kim
COAL: 1980 Mercedes Benz 300D – Slow and Steady Wins the Race, by Importamation
COAL: 1984 Mercedes Benz 300D Turbodiesel – One More Time, With Feeling, by Importamation