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1983 Mercedes 230TE Wagon: The Right Spec


The seller of this 1983 Mercedes 230TE wagon here on eBay recently listed the VW Golf Country we featured here a few days ago. Based on his feedback (which is not great, by the way), the seller is a Chevy dealer who seems to have taken an interest in German oddballs. This W123 wagon is a desirable example with the gasoline engine, manual transmission and European-market features. 


In addition to the slim chrome bumpers and Bosch glass headlights (likely with the more powerful H4 and H1 bulbs), the European-market Mercedes of this era were more likely to have manual controls – from the transmission to the windows. I like this aspect of the car, as it just means less things to break while not giving up too much in the way of MPGs compared to the more common diesel models. The interior on this car is in excellent condition, thanks both to the low mileage (38,000) and durability of the materials in this era of Mercedes vehicles.


The cloth seats and cargo divider round the list of the unique features of this classic Mercedes wagon. These vehicles are legendary for their reliability and tendency to see 300,000+ miles with ease. And despite what may seem like too many manually-operated features, the vehicle does have power locks and an electric sunroof. It looks like the rear bench may have some light staining, as seen in this photo.


The new owner of this affordable entry into classic motoring will get both the ubiquitous Bundt alloy wheels in addition to a set of handsome steel wheels with color-matched hubcaps. Although it should be kept away from road salt at all costs, this could also be a great winter vehicle for hauling the kids and dog over hill and dale to Grandma’s house. Sand bags in the back and snow tires on all four corners! Bidding is currently at $5,100 but I suspect it’s got room to go higher. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Jim S. for the find.


  1. Avatar photo Bobsmyuncle

    Feedback not great? Maybe a bit harsh?

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  2. Avatar photo randy

    I would certainly say that $5100.00 is farther than it should have gone. It has the anemic 2.3 engine, the 280TE is a much better choice. This is a gray market MB, and some of the parts are made of unobtanium. I do prefer the Euro spec headlights, but they are illegal here in the US because they are not sealed beams.

    This wagon will be slow’s slow. The 123 chassis has to be right on top of the MB mark for reliability, alongside of the 116 chassis.

    I suppose it’s age makes it unnecessary to comply with EPA and DOT regs.
    An old boss of mine bought a 280TE for his wife, I loved driving it. The 280 twin cam engine purrs.

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    • Avatar photo tstout68

      Mercedes Benz classic, can get you almost anything you need for older Mercedes, but you are going to pay a premium price!

      Like 0
  3. Avatar photo Healeydays

    Might be a nice car, but this person’s Ebay feedback makes me want to run from anything they sell. What a shame.

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    • Avatar photo Bobsmyuncle

      Okay what am I missing? 94.4 % on 98 transactions and the complaints are pretty innocuous.

      Like 0
  4. Avatar photo Mya Byrne

    How come there are alloys on one side and hubcaps on another?

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  5. Avatar photo Mark E

    Manual HVAC controls takes care of my biggest complaint/fear of these cars. And ebay feedback, IMO, is about as reliable as carfax…which is to say, NOT AT ALL. Something this clean could have been sitting in a nice garage, driven 2500 miles per year and never serviced. Obvious care should be taken with anyone selling such a car.

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    • Avatar photo Stephen

      No A/C though.

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      • Avatar photo audifan

        It has the top of the line automatic climate control like in US versions.

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      • Avatar photo Audifan

        It DOES have A/C, even the very expensive automatic climate control.

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  6. Avatar photo Healeydays

    This car and vehicle are being talked about on other sites. It looks like it is a recent import from Germany.

    “If you google the VIN you stumble over the following link: http://www.tradesparq.com/Customs/56884108/Customs-Data-Access-Invest-Llc#sthash.DgtIqZ6L.dpbs
    looks like it was imported via BREMERHAVEN in October 2015…Exporter being P Beimler Automobile in Germany”

    Like 0
  7. Avatar photo Bob Salter

    Filthy carpet and rear upholstery makes me think this has more miles.

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  8. Avatar photo Dan h

    Too bad it’s not a TD, in that condition (baring the mileage accurate) it would be worth around $30k.

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  9. Avatar photo randy

    I have not followed the 300TD-T wagons, but I haven’t seen or heard of any going that high. They are great wagons though, and another missed opportunity for me.

    I think this is probably a recent import due to the fact no one would have brought one of these over given the much better option of the 280TE.

    This would be a great candidate for an engine swap, as this will never be a
    collectable wagon.

    Station wagons are one area that the US automakers whooped up on the Germans.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Dan h

      I’ve moved allot of these w123’s over the last 12 years. Really good CD’s & TDT’s under 180k miles fetch $12-16k. Under 100k miles get $20k, under 50k miles get $25-30k.

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  10. Avatar photo Ian

    …having had the next model – a W124 230TE (auto) there is more than enough power-esp in these speed restricted days ! Mine had 175000 miles on it when I bought it – it had been used for carting beer kegs about too – and it still made yr ears pop when you shut the doors as the seals were so good and on the highway biggest problem was keeping the speed down ! This one seems to have a slightly dodgy past but buy with care (as with any car) – will be a classic very soon-much sought after already here in the UK btw-and prices rising fast

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  11. Avatar photo Rich

    Interesting Ebay ad “This car is extremely clean inside and out, had never seen kids, pets, or smokers, and is a joy to drive and own.”
    So why do you suppose someone bought a wagon and then added the grate separating the trunk from the back seat … kids and a dog perhaps…. Together with the above post that the car was recently imported would make me pass on a transaction with this seller.

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  12. Avatar photo Ian

    The netting for dog/kids is a standard fitting on these……looks flimsy but is v effective (so I am told)

    Like 0

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