Curbside Outtake: 1969-73 Mercedes-Benz 250CE Diesel – Does This Car Actually Exist?

I saw it with my own eyes. I spoke, albeit briefly, to the man who claimed to be the owner. I walked round it. I looked closely at some details. I took photos of it. It even got photo bombed. But still something puzzles me, and when you see the boot lid you’ll probably be puzzled too.

It is Mercedes-Benz W114 Coupe, marked as a 250CE. So far, so good, and a true Curbside classic in my book. This is a 1973 pre-facelift car –  the facelift removed the quarter glass, lowered the bonnet and added new taillights and bumpers. Without putting the two side by side, you might miss it. The patina was curbside classic standard – the owner claimed an original, American spec interior and bumper rubbers. The wheels look like W123 items to me, though.

The 250CE was one of the coupe variants of W114 range – the visually similar W115 were the four cylinder 200, 220, 230 and 240 variants. 250 meant the 2.5 litre straight six M114 engine, with around 130bhp and 147lbft. C denoted coupe – a two door hardtop with a clear relationship to the saloon but which misses the CC definition of two door saloon, just. E denoted the Bosch D-Jetronic fully electronic fuel injection, used here for the first time on a Mercedes Benz.

So what puzzles? The word “Diesel” visible on the boot lid. There were diesel versions of the New Generation cars, but, apart from the 5 cylinder 240D 3.0 and 300D, these were four cylinder saloons and therefore were part of the W115 family. There wasn’t a 250D or 250 Diesel, there wasn’t a diesel coupe (how does 250DC sound?) and the bootlid is different as well, so it’s not inheritance from any body repair.

Therefore, someone has added a Mercedes diesel badge to the boot lid of a nicely patina’d 250CE. Why? Has some strange engine swap been done?

And the photo bombing? Another straight six, about the same size, in nicely restored Jaguar Mk2 on wedding duty.