Original Owner: 1982 Mercedes 240D

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These Mercedes W123 cars have such a reputation for longevity that I’ve become resigned to the fact you will never find one with its original owner. Due to age and its reputation for soldiering on even as the odometer number goes higher, it’s a car that can be passed around. Amazingly, this 1982 Mercedes 240D here on eBay is being sold by its original owner with no reserve!

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Even better than that, this is a rare manual-transmission equipped model. If you can’t find one of the Euro market cars with the more powerful engine, you’ll at least want to source a U.S.-spec diesel car with three pedals. This car even has crank windows, eliminating one more source of finicky maintenance. The interior appears to be in decent shape for a car with over 300,000 miles on the clock!

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This is such a nice sight to see: a clean, organized engine bay that I am inclined to believe reflects years of proactive attention to the mechanical systems. While these powerplants have fantastic reputations for longevity, the aforementioned phenomenon of multiple owners – including those who pay less and less for the car – can lead to dirty, ignored engine compartments, especially when the car refuses to die no matter how poorly it’s treated.

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This 240D is not perfect, as there are some cosmetic issues and the sunroof doesn’t work. The seller recently replaced the fuel lines and installed a new battery, but I’m guessing the suspension will need a refresh at the very least. Some European glass headlights would make for an attractive and easy upgrade, but I’d otherwise just continue loving and maintaining this testament to German durability.

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Comments

  1. Nessy

    The 240D was a slug and basic with crank windows. The 300D had the same body style but was loaded with power everything and had the Turbo Diesel which in the lighter body was pretty peppy.

  2. fred

    I had a 300D which was non turbo and also a slug. The 300TD was a turbo.

    • Blyndgesser

      TD was the wagon. Both D and TD started out with the 77 hp non turbo five cylinder. The TD got the turbo a year or two sooner than the D and CD did. The non turbo was not quick by anyone’s measure, but the turbo was peppy enough to be entertaining.

      • Dave Wright

        If you had ever ridden in a taxi 240D in Europe on an uncontested road late at night…….you would be entertained too……..

    • ydnar

      The 300TD was/is a wagon. The designation for the turbo wad 300D-T

  3. Dave Wright

    Well……you are mistaken in several areas. A Manual transmission 240 would run with an automatic 300D. Very few 300D’s came with turbochargers and all us spec 300D’s were automatic, A/C, power window spec cars. All those options were available on the 240D as well. The 240 was also,lighter than the 300, not by a lot but lighter just the same. I have owned maby a dozen 123 cars and love them. The only cars I would avoid are the 240D’s with automatic transmissions. They really are slow. I bought one for a girlfriend years ago, it was a good car but really struggled getting started on a steep hill. The transmission was programmed to normally start in 2nd gear (it was a 4 speed) and sometimes it was difficult to get it to kick down to first gear when needed. I think she still has it after 30 years and 3 sons driving it. The best cars in my opinion are the 123’s like this one, with manual transmission and air conditioning. They are still being driven every day as taxi cabs all over the world. I know many have over a million miles on them. These are simple to maintain, easy to get parts for and super hi quality. Today they are a full size car and with a manual transmission will get close to 30MPG.

    • Blyndgesser

      For the last three years of W123 production, all US 300Ds were turbos.

      • ydnar

        I was going to comment on that as well. There are relatively few 123 300D’s w/o a turbo. I do agree that the 123 chassis is the most reliable and bullet proof MB ever made. The W116 would be second. Then came the junk, 201/s and 124’s. The W126 was also a great car, but too much plastic and hi-tech non sense.

      • Dave Wright

        Something like 20% of the 123 chassis production of 2.6 million cars had turbos.

    • Ray

      Bought a used 1980 240D at a public auction years ago, had auto temp, power Windows, the works. Slow oh my goodness but what a ride. Loved that car. Do much so I started building MBs newer etc.
      The inside was like new, all original, rusty areas yes. I ran that puppy till 375k, and gave it away to a kid when I moved. Regret that move. If I could I would have another one, best car I ever owned.

  4. Barzini

    I didn’t appreciate these cars when they were new but I do now, particularly the 1982-85 300TD wagon. I’ve got to thank Barn Finds for broadening my horizons.

  5. jim s

    glad it has a manual transmission. again another seller that needs to post more photos. there are still a few of these, all with automatics, being used as daily drivers where i live. this a long term daily driver if the rust is not too bad. nice find

  6. Nessy

    The 240D is a slug and basic. Slower than a Diesel Rabbit of that era except the Rabbit gave over 50mpg with the 5 speed overdrive so it’s ok to be slow. The Turbo Diesel was new to this body style in 1982 and was in all 300D TD and CD models that came to the US…. I think….

  7. Phil

    I’ve been driving my W123 84 300D turbo diesel for 5 years and
    the only problem I have with it is the severe turbo lag.
    But when the waiting is over and the turbo finally spools up
    the car will always scratch 2nd if you keep it floored.
    Recently fixed all 4 disk breaks (stops very nicely now) and replaced the drivers rear. a arm witch was almost rusted in 2. Bringing the independent suspension up to snuff.
    The passenger side has no rust at all. Imagine that.

    • ydnar

      Find a good MB diesel mechanic and have him “adjust the rack” on the injection pump. You will think you are driving a new car. I have seen and felt the results myself. The MB dealer may or may not perform this work for you.

      • Dave Wright

        Adjusting the rack refers to Detroit diesels……..Mercedes do not have racks. A good pump rebuild and adjustment on a fuel bench might be helpful on a Mercedes every decade or so.

      • ydnar

        Dave does not know what he is talking about. Learn for yourself.

      • ydnar

        Dave may be arguing semantics. Never the less, I am not talking about a rebuild, I am talking about adjusting the injection pump on the vehicle, I believe while it is running.

      • Dave Wright

        A rack is what Detroit Diesel uses to control the injectors on there 2 stroke diesels. Each injector has a mechanical rack that looks like a steering gear rack, the control rods that control each individual injector rack is where the adjustment is made. A good guy can make a world of difference with a proper rack adjustment in a 53,71 or 92 series engine. Mercedes uses a totally different system.

      • ydnar

        There is adjusting that can be done. I’ve seen it. Do some research and see what it’s called. The tech that was doing it called it adjusting the rack. We had numerous customers with 300D-T’s and they were all impressed by this tech’s ability to get a lot more performance out of their cars with not much labor.

        Sorry about the harsh words above, please forgive me.

  8. Peter R

    @ydnar – I’ve had 5 or 6 of the 124’s found them very reliable except for one or two problems – why do you call them junk? -BTW I agree that the 123 is one of the very best to own.

    • ydnar

      Really? 5 or 6? Why so many? I can tell you with certainty how many of each different car I have owned. I have worked in many MB repair facilities, and sold tons of parts for MB, Porsche, BMW etc. The cars that required more parts and repairs are/were considered junk. The 124 is right there at the top of the list. MB and BMW as well as Porsche and Audi etc. all marketed less expensive models. The old adage “you can pay me now, or you can pay me later” is very apropos. The less you pay for a “label” the more it’s going to cost you to keep the marque on the road.

  9. Dan h

    IMHO, the W123’s are the greatest mass-produced automobile ever built.
    Still used worldwide, many with original engines.
    Aside from all the little quirks these cars have, for the most part, they are absolutely bulletproof.

    • Dave Wright

      I have owned a 190D 201 for over a decade……it has been nearly flawless in something like 300,000 miles. Last year we had a truck in the shop and needed to drive it more than normal. After a 250 mile trip it would not shut off. So, I killed it with the clutch. After the dinner we were attending, I started it up and drove it home another 250 miles. The next day we looked it over, it had 3 cracked high pressure hard lines going to the injectors. I called Mercedes……I had a complete set of new hard lines in 3 days for something like 135.00, we installed them and everything was back to normal. That is the most work we have ever done to it. It does not have a lot of power but handles incredibly well, stops more quickly than about anything on the ranch and gets 40mpg while doing it. We spent 90 days in Europe last fall and they are becoming very popular again. The Mercedes dealerships are buying good ones, spiffing them up and selling them for 20,000 euros.

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