Road Trip Ready! 1984 Mercedes-Benz 300D

Normally, a W123 with 247,000 miles on it and minimal rust is not a huge deal. In this case, though, there’s a story behind it – a Bachelor-Party-thousand-mile-road-trip story. The kind of story many gearheads dream of.  You can continue the somewhat unique story of this 1984 Mercedes-Benz 300D if you purchase it from this listing here on craigslist.

The W123 story is a long and complicated one, but suffice it to say that they were produced in West Germany, China, and South Africa, and sold around the world from 1977 to 1986, in various bodies and engine-and-transmission configurations, gasoline or diesel. In most places, they were typically owned by only the most affluent among the masses. On their home turf, however, a Benz was nearly as common as a bicycle. To this day, multiple famous people like Lady Gaga own and/or drive one, and fans of these cars are rather enthusiastic.

This particular one has the aforementioned six-figure odometer reading, but for these engines, that’s not necessarily a big deal. Kept properly, the OM617 5-cylinder turbocharged diesel can soldier on into the half-a-million-mile range, and parts are reasonably still available 35 to 42 years later. The seller tells us that the only thing needed during the nearly 1,000-mile trek was a fuel return line in the first few miles, that the AC compressor seized and was removed, there’s one spot of body rust but the underside is completely solid. The car apparently was sold new in central New Jersey at Ray Catena, a locally well-known high-end dealership, and followed its original owners to Daytona Beach, Florida. The seller flew from Philadelphia to Florida, bought the car there and, along with a few friends, drove the car back to within 20 miles of where it began its American journey.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I really dig these cars, particularly the turbocharged 300D. I would settle for a gasoline-powered W123 if the opportunity arose, but I really, really want one like this here. Who’s with me on this one?


  1. Maestro1

    Russell, I’m with you, I’ve had a few and even they were slow off the line they were everything else a car should be. I have a station wagon now, which is currently at the Mercedes Dealer getting glow plugs. At 289,000 miles. The thing will run forever.
    All you have to do is have religion with servicing the car, which is not expensive and it will return endless miles.

    Like 7
    • Danh

      A small adjustment on the ALDA (top of injector pump) will make a huge difference on how the car accelerates off the line.

      Like 1
    • Chinga Trailer

      Let’s see, diesel fuel is at least 20% more than gas, you should change oil at least 50% more often, if you get any diesel on your hands while fueling you will stink all day, oh yeah, I see the appeal now! And by the way of disclosure, I have owned three Mercedes diesels, not much chance for a fourth though.

      Like 2
      • Peter

        Yes, diesel may be more expensive than unleaded, but if the car itself outlives several other $30K to $50K vehicles, that is still WAY cheaper on the old pocket book! Do the math on gas vs. diesel, and then factor in depreciation of a gas vehicle that you’ll have to replace much earlier. Most new cars will be depreciate from $3K to $6K per year! I don’t think that your “fuel difference” between gas vs. diesel will be $3K to $6K per year! Just sayin’…

        Like 2
  2. Drew V.

    Shame it’snot a 5sp equipt TD.would be the perfect apocalypse, Post nuclear war vehicle..No electronic ignition modules to be fried by EMPs,park it on a slight incline and you can push start if the battery goes bad, you can convert it to run on a variety of fuels and oils…And of course it needs to be a wagon so you can haul around all your foragings lol…I think I watch to many Zombie shows…LOL

    Like 6
    • Tirefriar

      I don’t believe w123 300D or Turbodiesel ever came to US with a manual transmission. I have seen few conversations reflecting various levels of professionalism… I did own a 240D manual and cannot imagine how anyone could survive on a highway or in the hills with an automatic in those. This one would be a much better alternative.

      Like 1
  3. Roarrr

    If you love the 300D how about the 450 SEL! That car was a kick ass car in it’s time, it should be in that it was the top of the line executive hot rod from: TADAA!!! MB! If you watch the vintage saloon road races from Jolly Olde you’ll see one or two warring with the Mk-1 Jags, Galaxies and Locorts.

  4. George Curl

    They’re great cars, but in Texas we need AC. I’ve had 2 but never could get the AC to stay alive through August and Sept. My 220 D however always worked.

    • Danh

      IMHO, Mercedes never really mastered HVAC. I have a 2017 Sprinter. Thought the A/C would work perfectly, nope. Still not up to par. Guess they just can’t figure it out.

  5. George Curl

    I’ve had 2 300Ds. The weak point was always the A/C. Thank goodness for the sun roof to get air flow in Aug and Sept.

    • Chinga Trailer

      Peter – your logic falls apart from the beginning, a 35 year old Mercedes diesel is not a $30,000 – $50,000 car but a $4500 one if it’s near perfect.

  6. Roger Janda

    I have a buddy that lives in Olympia, Washington that has a 240D that I could probably get for next to nothing. He’s a diesel mechanic, so it’s mechanically sound. When we were visiting, we took it out on some touring. 0-60 in about 3 hours… not sure if I’d want it if he gave it to me.

  7. Jimbosidecar

    W123 produced in China? I don’t think so. I don’t believe Mercedes production began in China until well into the 1990s.

  8. Hoos Member

    I owned an ’84 300TD wagon in the mid-90’s. It was a great family hauler. Not the fastest off the line for sure, but the most solid vehicle I’ve owned to date. Closing the door sounded like you were locking a safe, and that was when I bought it at in 1993. I didn’t want to get rid of it, but baby #4 needed a seat, so I bought a Suburban. I often look for another one. A 5 speed would be great in one.

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