Low-Miles Turbo Diesel: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 300D

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Competition improves the breed, and nowhere is that phrase more accurate than within the automotive industry. It would be fair to say that American luxury car manufacturers became complacent during the late 1960s and early 1970s, focusing more on “tinsel” and options than build quality. The rise of European imports during this period forced those companies to re-examine their priorities, and modern buyers reap the benefits in the current new car market. This 1985 Mercedes-Benz 300D is an example of the approach that forced change because its condition is extremely impressive for an unrestored survivor with thirty-nine years of active service under its belt. It carries the hallmarks of a pampered classic, and the only thing it appears to need is a new home.

Mercedes-Benx released its W123 range in 1975, and while initial sales were relatively slow, 2.6 million of these classics would find homes before production ended in 1986. Our feature 300D rolled off the line in 1985, and its original owner ordered it in subtle Classic White. The car is an unrestored survivor, making its overall condition particularly noteworthy. The paint retains an impressive shine, and if there are imperfections, they are too minor to show in the supplied photos. The panels are laser-straight, with gaps as tight and consistent as we typically expect from this marque. The best news for potential buyers could be that this Mercedes has been garage-kept. A lack of exposure to the elements has left this beauty rust-free, with the underside shots revealing floors that look as clean as the day the first owner took delivery. The sliding sunroof is a bonus for those in warm climates, while the trim and glass are spotless. The 300D rolls on its original 14″ alloy wheels that look flawless, with the trunk housing a matching spare.

I typically prioritize careful interior examination when considering a classic purchase. Hiding exterior imperfections is sometimes cheap and relatively easy, but few sellers will spend money replacing interior trim to maximize sales potential. Therefore, abuse and neglect often show in scuffed plastic, stained carpets, and general wear and tear. There are no such issues with this Mercedes. Describing it as showroom fresh would stretch credibility, but the condition is exceptional for the car’s age. The seatcovers and door trims look almost perfect, while the carpet and dash are spotless. Woodgrain trim often deteriorates and cracks, but this 300D has avoided that problem. The rear parcel tray features an enclosure that houses the Mercedes-Benz first aid kit, and there are no aftermarket additions. The interior retains its original Becker Grand Prix radio/cassette player, while the new owner receives air conditioning, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, a power antenna, and cruise control. The seller confirms that everything works as it should, and the winning bidder will receive the original Owner’s Manual and keys.

There was a time when diesel passenger cars were almost unheard of, but German manufacturers like Mercedes and Volkswagen worked hard to develop technology in the face of rising fuel prices. This 300D benefits from that thinking, with the “D” in its model designation confirming its engine bay houses the 3.0-liter Turbo Diesel powerplant. It sends 123hp and 184 ft/lbs of torque to the rear wheels via a four-speed automatic transmission, with power assistance for the steering and brakes as standard equipment. The 300D is more of a long-distance cruiser than an outright performance model, and with its ability to comfortably achieve 25mpg, it can cover 500 miles between trips to the pump. The seller claims this classic has a genuine 67,600 miles on its odometer, and while they don’t mention supporting evidence, the overall condition makes the claim plausible. They say it runs and drives as well as it did the day it rolled off the showroom floor, making it a turnkey proposition for its new owner.

The seller listed this 1985 Mercedes-Benz 300D here on eBay in Dearborn, Michigan. Bidding sits at $12,100, which is below the reserve. Every motor vehicle represents a compromise. High-performance models often lack comfort and refinement, while luxury cars can be relatively slow and inefficient. This 1985 Mercedes-Benz 300D effectively walks a fine line, with plenty of interior appointments, surprisingly agile handling for a luxury car, and fuel economy that makes it an excellent long-distance cruiser. The Turbo Diesel models enjoy a well-earned reputation for longevity, and this car’s low odometer reading means it should offer its new owner years of reliable service. If you have already owned one of these classics, did you enjoy the experience enough to consider a repeat performance?

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Comments

  1. CCFisher

    An excellent example of a car from a time Mercedes actually had engineers dedicated to ensuring that its doors closed with the proper sound.

    Like 16
    • Caprice Guy

      My aunt and uncle had the exact twin to this one (except it was an 83) and they let me borrow it for prom. I remember how the door handle feels and the firm and solid closing of the doors to this day!

      Like 3
  2. David McKennaMember

    It was the best year of the Benz TD series. It had the most boost H.P and FT/LB of all years. Both HP and LB were also delivered more Sotheby’s than previous years. It’s a beauty

    Like 1
  3. Greenhorn

    Back in this era I was really a BMW guy, but this ranks among my favorite Mercedes. Beautiful cars and very well built. I don’t even like white cars for the most part, but doesn’t matter on this one!

    Like 2
  4. Bunky

    I have owned a 220D, 240D, and an ‘83 300D Turbo. Mine consistently got 28mpg, even with my lead-foot wife driving. (Maybe that’s the secret)
    Solid, well engineered, durable cars. Too made MB lost its way. (IMHO)

    Like 3
  5. Genemak

    Built to a standard, not a cost. These w123’s last long if maintained properly. Obviously this one appears as it has received its proper maintenance along the way. MB’s of this era are known to be some of the best.

    Like 1
  6. Bakes

    Given the mileage, that car has an easy 250 to 300,000 mi left on it. Beautiful shape, obviously cared for, good luck with the sale because it should go for good money.

    Like 1
  7. Bodotcom

    eBay listing was ended early, now states “This listing was ended by the seller on Mon, Jun 10 at 7:02 PM because there was an error in the listing.” Will it reappear on a different auction site in the near future…?

    Like 0
  8. Dave

    About 20 years ago I bought an 84 300SD, same engine but a little longer than the 300D. My wife didn’t like it but it was the best MB, much less money involved in upkeep than the 69 300 SEL 6.3 monster were glad to sell at a loss in trade for the 300SD. I sold it for about $4,000 a few years later. No rust, ran very well after I replaced the injectors, simple thing like replacing plugs.

    Like 0

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