Ready to Drive: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 300TD Wagon

Mercedes-Benz’s W123 chassis has a reputation for being dependable, especially when equipped with a diesel engine. This is especially impressive when you consider the fact that the OM617 engine found in vehicles like this 1983 Mercedes-Benz 300TD Wagon available here on eBay made it the world’s first passenger car to feature a turbocharged diesel engine. Talk about getting it right on the first try!

This wagon is available in Carmel, Indiana with a clean title. There isn’t a ton of history about the vehicle’s history, but the seller does note that it was “thoroughly enjoyed and driven over its nearly forty years since originally leaving the showroom floor.”

While these Benzes have a notoriety for mechanical prominence, they are also known for having rust issues. Luckily, that isn’t the case with this one, as the seller notes that the undercarriage, wheel wells, rocker panels, and jack points are all rust-free. It also has a handful of newer items that benefit ride quality, including rebuilt rear suspension, rebuilt brake calipers, new brake rotors, and new brake pads with new sensors.

The interior is complete and the seller notes that it was never smoked in. Most of the creature comforts work, but due to a leak in the vacuum-actuated system that controls some functions, there are issues with a few of the power locks and windows. Additionally, the air conditioning system needs a recharge, and sometimes the fuses for the windows and climate control will fail.

Under the hood, there is the previously mentioned OM617 engine, which is a turbocharged inline 5-cylinder diesel powerplant. This pairs to an automatic transmission to drive the rear wheels, and even though the combination has a somewhat high 257,186 miles on it, the engine starts immediately with the turn of the key and the wagon drives without issue. Additionally, this example benefits from a handful of maintenance items that ensure it will run strongly in the years to come, including a recent valve adjustment, new starter, new fuel filters, new glow plugs, and a fresh oil change with filter.

At the time of publication, bidding is at $4,494.00. What do you think of this vintage Mercedes-Benz wagon?

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  1. Doyler

    I love my wagons. I love my Euro wagons.

    It’s not my favorite color but it is in too nice a condition to say no. Euro lights/bumpers plus the white walls having to go and it’s there.

    • Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

      I actually like the US lights and bumpers, simply because that is the way that I remember seeing these cars in the 80’s.I was in my early 20’s, single, no kids, and I really wanted one of these in the worst kind of way. I guess I’m an oddball! I have to agree that the white walls must go!

      • Jay

        I agree. And think the US version is a big improvement over the euro style. The euro looks makes the cart look “cut off” or something.

      • davidricheh Member

        I see a lot of cars go by on BF that I’d add white wall tires to, like a Olds recently, but the first thing I thought when I saw this was no to the white walls!

  2. Pebblebeachjudge

    Such a wagon, considering the milage will be expensive to Repair. Easy to spend thousands to make the car safe and reliable. If I’d buy it, I’d run it into the ground until it quits. Age decomposes these 123s. Plastics, power locks, air, and an engine that cost huge to fix. Worth 3k.

  3. Francisco

    Rarely does a non-functional air conditioner “…just need a recharge.”

    • normadesmond

      How about never?

  4. SMS

    Love these and the 300 SDL. Helped a friend deal with an AC system that didn’t cool. Only thing I have done that compares with the pain and frustration is rebuilding the interior of a Lotus Europa. We took it down to the firewall on our backs with our arms up in the dash.

    The vacuum lines are an easy fix though time consuming. The blown fuses, that may take a lot of effort.

    Why is it so high?

    If you are patient a good shade tree mechanic can do most anything on them. What one can’t do such as rebuilding the fuel pump because the tooling and guages are more than the rebuild, can be sent out. It is not cheap to have done but say you buy a good one for $10k and you spend another $5k on having other people rebuild parts, for $15k you have a wonderful driver for the price of a 5 year old Corolla.

  5. PJRoos

    I like this one, if the price stays around 5k to 6k it is a good buy. I would lower it an inch or so as it seems to be sitting a bit high. And before bidding (a little to late now) I would want to get a good look at the front drivers side shock tower as the rust looks a little worrisome.

  6. David Frank David Frank Member

    What makes everyone think this wagon is a turbo? It is not That’s not what TD stands for on a wagon. The engine pictured above is a turbo diesel. See the turbo on the passenger side and the air cleaner forward and to the left. They are great cars, though. I put a lot of miles on mine and loved it.

    • genemak1

      All MB US version model 123 chassis wagons in 1983 were turbodiesel. The one for sale is a 49 state emissions model Turbodiesel. Yours looks to be a California model where the air cleaner is located differently.

  7. Maestro1 Member

    SMS is quite right. But a Corolla won’t match this for cache and capacity.
    They’re expensive to fix, no doubt. And the A/C is always similar to open heart surgery. This car should go to Mercedes Benz Classiche for a one time
    thorough go over and they will deliver the same car practically brand new.
    Then keep it forever. You won’t regret it.

  8. Joseph M Pereira

    The Climate Control system on these Mercedes are very complicated and expensive to fix. There are kits available to convert the system to a modern solid state system but they run into a little over $1,000. A Diesel engine with over 250,000 miles would be OK but the transmission will probably need an expensive overhaul. IMHO, the bids already exceed the value on this wagon.

  9. Chuck

    The car looks great, but it’s riding several inches too high. Wrong size shocks?

    • Joe

      Shocks don’t raise or lower a car. Springs do.

    • jrmedsel

      More likely the high rear end is due to a poor repair or bypass of the self-leveling rear suspension.

  10. Richard

    The rear of the car is dramatically too high. This can be adjusted with the hydraulic valve in the rear. VERY NICE wagon that will likely end at over $10,000. This is not junk and an enthusiast knows their value and IS willing to pay for a nice one. Mine is identical to this one (and just as nice or nicer) and is a 85…last year of production. A car’s value is NOT what one THINKS it’s worth, but what one is willing to pay!


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