Life Car: 26K Mile 1975 Mercedes 240D

This 1975 Mercedes-Benz 240D is far from the most collectible Mercedes out there, but with just 26,000 original miles and seemingly spotless condition, it may be one of the best ones out there. These W114/W115 sedans can just as easily end up in the junkyard as they can appear for sale with an asking price of $14,999, so it the question becomes whether you should spend that much in the first place. Find this pristine example here on craigslist near Philadelphia.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Russel G. for the find. The seller is quite enthusiastic about the car’s overall appearance, which does look about how you’d expect for an example with such low mileage. The seller notes it is finished in the factory non-metallic color of Dark Red with a Tobacco-colored MB Tex vinyl interior. The Mercedes was always garage kept, and the lack of obvious sun fading (such as on the bumper trim) is a testament to the benefits of indoor storage.

While it is quite hard to destroy an MB Tex interior, they can still turn to tatters just like any other car if not maintained. Not the case here, as everything looks showroom fresh, from the dash to the console to the carpets and the steering wheel. Gauge faces are crystal clear, and the seller notes that the “Berber loop-style carpeting” is also in fine shape. This 240D sports a column shift, which I have to imagine is somewhat rare in a sea of console-shift automatics.

As a diesel-equipped Mercedes, the epic low mileage means you are literally looking at a new car (even with 26,000 miles on the clock). These engines, though stout, are also not the most robust performers, but looking for outright speed defeats the purpose of choosing the diesel drivetrain – you want longevity, and the kind of reliability that can emerge unscathed when the rest of world goes to hell. It won’t ever be worth big bucks, but it’ll start every time.


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  1. Superdessucke

    Professor, your car is ready.

    Like 6
  2. XMA0891

    Nice little turtle. My brother drove a ’75 240D for years. His was a pretty cream-over-ivory 4-speed. As great as these cars are, they really need a fifth gear for 21st Century highway driving. I’ve never seen a 240D with a column-shift. Would this be a column-shift manual or automatic?

    Like 1
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      It is an auto XMA0891. Pretty unusual spot below the glove box door for a compass. ???

      Like 3
    • Ralph

      This one is an auto but there are some earlier ones with a column shifted 4 speed manual too.

  3. Ken Cwrney

    Don’t know Mike, bit if it is that’s a strange
    place for it! Needs to be mounted in the
    rearview mirror like Mom’s Buick. The last time I had access to a Mercedes was in
    ’68 when Dad’s boss left his 190D at our
    house for safekeeping while he went on
    vacation. I gotta say that I wasn’t that
    impressed with it either. For a refined
    sedan, the car rode like a lumber wagon
    and always had a black layer of sludge
    on the rear bumper. And as it was stated
    earlier, it wasn’t very fast at all. You took
    your life in your hands every time you went out on the Interstate. Don’t know
    how these cars survived on the Autobon
    but they did. I’d be afraid to put Mom in
    one of them, not the way folks speed down Havendale Boulevard. All it would
    take is some jackass in a souped up 4X4
    to hit it going about 80 and it would be all over for anyone in the car. The only saving grace for a diesel engine is their
    longevity and the fact that you can make
    your own fuel using cooking grease and a
    few other chemicals you may have around your house. Sorry folks, but I’ll
    pass on this one.

    Like 1
  4. Fred W

    I found my 300D (non turbo) agonizingly slow, as in VW Transporter slow. If you were never going to hit the interstate though, this would make a good car show cruiser and could outlast anyone’s lifetime. 15K isn’t bad for essentially a new car, assuming the mileage is well documented.

    Like 1
  5. S Craig MacDonald

    I know almost nothing about MB diesels, but besides the compass (?) what struck me was the absence of a passenger side rear view mirror. How did they do that? Maybe they assumed that as slow as this car is you’d never need to see who is on your right side??

    Like 1
    • JoeNYWF64

      Very few cars back then had a passenger door mirror. I ONLY use it on my modern car to see the curb when parallel parking. I never trust that mirror with the warning printed on it on the highway!
      I simply twist my head to the right & take a good look! lol
      & also to the left after looking in that mirror.
      Believe it or not, prior to 1963?, even a DRIVER’S door mirror was optional! Now THAT tho was stewpit! lol

      This Benz has an air bag steering wheel with no air bag inside.
      First car? with door mirror attached WRONG!! Ugly! Period!
      Even worse, take a look at the passenger front door where i guess they THOUGHT of mounting another mirror & changed their mind, &/or are just plain stingy with its glass!
      All of the above is just plain dumb! lol
      Rest of the car tho is very very nice.

      • Gransedan

        I’ll chime in to say that I believe that prior to 1964 an outside, driver’s side, rearview mirror was optional, at least in the US. The last of three 1963 Plymouth Valiants I owned did not have one. I sold the car with a few extra parts including a correct factory mirror. The individual who bought the car installed either that or another correct mirror.

        Like 1
      • Audifan

        This is not an airbag steering wheel and it’s correct for a 1975 W115. So is the driver side mirror and the mirror delete plate on the passenger door.

        Like 1
  6. Car Nut Tacoma

    Lovely looking car! I’ve always loved this generation Mercedes-Benz. I’d buy a 240D Diesel if I hadn’t already bought a car 2 yrs ago.

  7. Car Nut Tacoma

    @ Gransedan: Driver’s side mirror optional? I cannot imagine having to request a driver’s side mirror, let alone a passenger’s side mirror.

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      My 1972 Stingray came without the right side mirror. It was offered as an option. I believe dealer installed.

      • Car Nut Tacoma

        My stepdad’s 1978 Toyota pickup truck came with dual mirrors. He either ordered the truck with dual mirrors, or it was ordered by the previous owner before him, and then he bought the Toyota.

        Like 1
  8. Michael

    My uncle on the 75 to 40 D tan on tan and it was an automatic. You’re absolutely right it was agonizingly slow from a standstill to about 50 miles an hour. Once you hit about 50 miles an hour though that sucker would cruise it was very solid and a great car if I remember correctly it had around 235,000 miles on it when my aunt rear-ended a truck in the insurance company totaled it . When I was a teenager I kept the car clean for my uncle so needless to say I’ve done three Mercedes in my adulthood but none of them a diesel LOL

    Like 1
    • Car Nut Tacoma

      I’ve never driven a Mercedes-Benz Diesel, but I’ve heard they’re painfully slow, probably even slower with an auto transmission. I’d buy a Turbo Diesel if I could find one. I don’t know just how much faster it accelerates compared to the standard Diesel model.

      Like 1
  9. Andrew Franks

    If you want an absolutely dependable reliable driver this is it. The price doesn’t matter, it’s a sharp clean car and you’ll drive it forever. Be careful about Mercedes Independent Mechanics: most are excellent, but some aren’t and are looking for money. I had mine worked on by an Independent and never had any trouble with the car. If I had the room I’d write the check.
    Somebody do this.

    Like 2
    • Car Nut Tacoma

      I agree. Also careful maintenance can ensure a car will last forever. However well-built a car may be, it doesn’t do any good if you neglect maintenance. If you know a good mechanic who does work with old-school Mercedes-Benz diesels.

      Like 1
  10. Bob McK Member

    I hope this is less expensive to repair than a gasoline powered MB. If not, run the other way

    Like 1
  11. Chas H

    Compass is positioned to be least affected by the radio speaker in the center of the dash. I’ve seen compasses attached to the dash inches away from the magnet in that speaker.
    Benz cars are expensive to repair, but not to maintain and the old 123 chassis is legendary for it’s robustness.

    Like 1
    • chrlsful

      not W123, its earlier (114/5). I’ll go fer the 123/diesel TDI 300 thank you. Both R not anything like the modern MB (thank goodness).

      Like 1
      • Car Nut Tacoma

        While I find the W115 Mercedes-Benz Diesel more attractive, I like the 300D and TD Turbo Diesel.

        Like 1
  12. Del

    Guess if you want an Old German Tank then get the cheque book out.

    The only thing missing is the canon.

    Not for me.

    Like 1

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