Ideal Daily: 1983 Mercedes 230TE Wagon

1983 Mercedes 230TE Wagon

The VW just isn’t cutting it for me, so I’ve been on the hunt for a new daily driver. I’d like to get something well-built, fun to driver, and practical. That’s a want list that’s hard to fulfill, but this old wagon may just fit the bill. It has a manual transmission attached to a four-cylinder petrol engine. It has air conditioning and is still in the hands of the original owner. Best of all though is that it is claimed to have only covered 38k miles since new! Unfortunately, it’s too far from me (Avenel, New Jersey) to seriously consider, but I thought someone here might be interested. Take a look at the eBay auction here and let me know what you think!


  1. L.M.K.

    I drove a 1980 230 TE with a 4 speed manual tranny for several years and loved it. I know that they’ll certainly be comments ahead stating how slow these are, but I had no trouble keeping up with the flow of traffic in mine. It literally sipped the gas too when fuel was still at it’s peak.

    I like this one but I am suspicious about the low mileage and would need to check in to that if I were considering purchasing it.
    The bidding is kind of getting up there too. Perhaps those bidders believe the low mileage stated…

  2. ydnar

    Gray market “super turd”. 190E’s were bad enough, but a wagon with the 2.3 is way beyond absurd, for an MB that is. Money pit deluxe, and some parts made of unobtanium.

    • Dave Wright

      This is a 123 chassis……..not a 201. Grey market for sure. I drove a 300TD for most of a decade and it was nearly a perfect driver. I can’t imagine this being more powerful than the 5 cyl diesel, but the manual trans would be nice. They made many 300TD’s with manual transmissions but were never sold here in the US. I don’t care for the superlatives used by the seller……..sounds like a used car salesman…..oh, wait……he is.

      • Blyndgesser

        This is definitely more powerful (136 hp vs 115 for the five cylinder turbo diesel). Incidentally, the turbo diesel was auto-only in Europe, and very rare. Lots of five cylinder non turbo 123s with manual though

      • ydnar

        The 2.3 was put into more than the 201, as this cars proves. This car in no way could even begin to compare with a 300TD, or a 300TD-T. I never implied that this was a 201. I do not believe MB ever made a 201 wagon. Not for the US for sure.

  3. Healeydays

    Wonder what the story is with it as it sold back in December for $11,600

  4. Healeydays

    When being sold in December there was a lot of talk about this car and the dealer who imports these from Germany. His reputation is spotty at best in some circles.

    If you google the VIN you stumble over the following link:
    looks like it was imported via BREMERHAVEN in October 2015…Exporter being P Beimler Automobile in Germany…

  5. hhaleblian

    Check out sellers feedback

  6. jim s

    this seller also has the VW golf country for sale which might be worth a look. looks like ebay feedback rating includes 1 unhappy buyer.

    • hhaleblian

      Jim, you may want to scroll through the feedback file.

      • jim s

        you are right. thanks

    • Healeydays

      Alot more than 1 unhappy buyer.

      Also this guy has been banned from other auction sites for not being on the up and up.

      Quote from bringatrailer
      “Thanks for the research work on the seller on this one, guys. That individual has been banned from BaT Auctions, and we do not wish to promote any of his other listings that he scatters across the internet. We didn’t catch this one because the user name is one we hadn’t seen him use before. We’re going to delete this listing completely now and do our best to never feature any of his cars again.”

      The seller has a history in a lot of places.

      • jim s

        thanks. now i know how the seller came up with the low miles on the golf country. i wonder what other ebay user names seller is using.

      • jim s

        that site just posted a story on one of the vehicles this seller has listed on Ebay. i wonder what made them change their minds?

  7. Dolphin Member

    Jesse, I have no experience with these M-B wagons, but I do have experience with BMW wagons, a 2000 528 Touring. With all the SUVs around, conventional wagons seem nowhere these days except for old-school Volvo drivers like my wife.

    The BMW might be scarce and a tad pricey, but probably not much more so than a good Volvo wagon…..and way better on the road.

    Mine was a rental for a 2000 km trip across Europe. It was the only std. transmission BMW the rental agent in Munich had, despite me reserving a different std. transmission BMW from over here weeks before departing.

    I never regretted getting the 528 Touring. It negotiated the empty Autobahn between Munich and Switzerland, plus the Alps with ease. It topped out at an average of 219 Kms / hr on the speed-unlimited Autobahn, the average taken against the prevailing Westerly wind on the out-leg, and then with the prevailing Westerly on return. Top with the prevailing wind was 229 Kms / hr. And it was a (relatively, for Europe) BIG wagon, but with the “small” 6, so reasonably economical by No American standards. Over there, it was luxury.

    I highly recommend them as a DD. They will be more interesting and carry more stuff than the VW, and they handle just as well as a BMW sedan—which is to say, real good. Just be sure the self-leveling suspension in the rear is in good condition. They are expensive to fix.

    • Tirefriar

      Dolphin you took the words out of my mouth. Last year, When I sold my ’69 Berlina which was my DD, my friend sent me a link with a 2001 E39 Touring. It was an automatic which turned me off, but it was a 72k miles one owner car with a clear car fax. Reason won over emotion and now the Touring is my DD. Clean ones can be found for round $5k, and though the 525 iT are hard to find with manual they are very good cruisers and can still be fun in the canyons. The W123 may be a culture icon, but for the same money the BImmer is much more exciting to drive than a W123 or the Offerings from Volvo. The Audi A4 Avant may be the other viable alternative but at a higher cost of maintenance

      Regarding rear self leveling suspension, my left rear air shock went out, dried out due to age. I bought two new air shocks from the dealer and installed these in about two hours. The whole repair was about $600.

    • Dolphin Member

      Interesting what you say about those self-leveling rear shocks, Tf. I had heard 2nd hand that the fix was complicated and difficult, but from what you say it’s not too bad.

      Now if I can only convince the wife to go with a used Touring instead of a used XC70 for the next family wagon I’ll be a happy man.

      • Tirefriar

        the XC70 is a very capable car so not sure how I can help ))

        BTW, I also have a great deal of respect for the V70R or an 850R. Very capable and cool looking rigs. Maybe try taking that approach – but honey, it’s a Volvo wagon…

      • BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

        Working at Volvo I’d put you in a new V60 cc.

  8. Rick

    If you like slow, you’ll like this.

  9. Dan

    I can’t think of any country that uses mph (as opposed to km/h) speedometers and left hand drive. That means the original speedometer was replaced with a mph speedometer. This car shows very low mileage. How can we know that the mileage is correct and had not been altered?

  10. duke

    much much too nice for a daily driver—-buy it and enjoy it on sundays and to shows-daily driver you would end up trashing it out—way too nice for that

  11. kenzo

    The front mats and drivers seat look more like 88K or possibly a pampered 138k. Same as the back luggage area. Passenger back door sill is well worn in the extra pictures. The interior is not a 38K interior. Also to much armor-all and tire shine used. In the extra pics the one of the front pass. door jam looks like masking tape marks and overspray. Hmmm

  12. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    Just say no to grey market. Remember those days ? I distinctly remember a 500SEL with a gaggle of vacuum lines going NOWHERE underneath the engine air filter housing. Customer was saying, yeah just doesn’t run right. Really ?!

    Like 1
  13. MountainMan

    Grey market Mercedes dont scare me. I have owned several old Benz and love them. They drive great, feel solid and better built than most newer cars. No, its not gonna be fast and maybe this ones not the one to buy but in general I havent had any major issues with any older benz ive had

  14. ydnar

    What was/is your favorite g-m Benz? Your least favorite?

    • Dave Wright

      Mercedes has a product line that goes from micro economy cars to high end world class luxury and everything in between. I have owned around 40 of them. None were bad cars, they have all functioned perfectly for the job they were built for. I loved my 300SEL 6.3’s but my little 190D 201 body car is a great little economy car too. Probably the best cars were late 50’s to 60’s hand built coupes and cabriolets. The design, fit and finish are incredible. My wife’s R500 is great fun to drive and my 300TD waggon saved my life several times as I sleepily drifted into the shoulder in the middle of the night. It was so stable and tracked so well that it always came back into control in a safe manor and the brakes were incredible. So, with all the different types of cars made by Mercedes, you really need to narrow down what kind of car. It is a bit like trying to name your favorite kid…… go fast….a SL55 is pretty cool.

      • Dave Wright

        My least favorite was probably my 1951 170 Diesel……..they were built with parts left over from before the war. Not a bad car, very simple and basic. Better than most cars of the era.

  15. ydnar

    I find it rather hard to believe that a man with the means to own an SL55 and other high end MB’s would speak fondly of a 201 190D. Unless of course you are a car salesman (dealer), and didn’t really “own” them. The customers that frequented the many shops I had the fortune to work at had no such delusions on the turds that MB put out.
    I just looked up the 1951 170D, what a fine car. If that is your least favorite, ………..nevermind.

    • Dave Wright

      I have owned my 190D for over 10 years. It drives and handles very well and gets over 40 MPG. I don’t drive it much anymore but I have enough money, I don’t need to sell it. The only problem it has after 280,000 miles is the clear coat has started flaking off the paint. It sits for 6 or 8 months at a time and as long as the battery is up… starts instantly. I can 4 wheel drift it around 90% corners here on my rural roads. For an economy car, it is incredible. The sunroof and clock even still work. I was in Europe for 90 days last fall. They have quite a cult following there now days.

      • Dave Wright

        The people that think the 170 is a fine car have never seen a 220.

      • ydnar

        A 190D with 280,000 might pay a meager electric bill when sold.

        Just because there is something better, does not take away from another that is good, or fine.

  16. Bob

    Way, way too many negative feedbacks on recent transactions

    • kenzo

      This wagon is also on Bring A Trailer and after reading that, apparently this seller has been cut off some site and on close inspection the vehicle is not what it is being passed off as, but that is only my opinion. Flippers and some sellers take pump up pills to sell mediocre vehicles at good and better prices. It happens every where even in my area of the laid back pacific north west.

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