Mercedes W123 series

Used car review Mercedes-Benz W123 1976-1986
August 19, 2022 – 11:32 am
1976-1985 Mercedes-Benz W123 - Hemmings Motor News

There's something special about driving an old car. Sure they don't have the safety of a new car, they don't perform as well, and aren't as environmentally friendly, but they have something few new cars have, character.

But it's important to make a high quality purchase. A car that was well engineered and well built in its time will usually stand the test of time well. So, if you start with a quality car, and then buy one that has been lovingly maintained and is in good condition you have a better than equal chance of enjoying your classic motoring experience.

Buy a worn-out, rusty old banger that wasn't a great car when new and you're asking for trouble. The Mercedes-Benz W123 ticks just about every box for an everyday classic driver. It was a great car when new and there are many examples still being driven every day.


The W123 was launched here late in 1976 and went on to become the best selling Mercedes-Benz of the 1970s and early-1980s. It was a mid-sized model capable of accommodating an average family in comfort with enough room left over to swallow whatever luggage they wished to take with them.

It was a model to suit all needs, the Mercedes for the people if you will, with three body styles, sedan, wagon and pretty coupe. Typical of Mercedes there was a plethora of engine options to choose from, which expanded its appeal even further.

The choices began with a modest 2.3-litre carburettor-fed single overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine that boasted 80 kW and 186 Nm. In quite a heavy car the performance it delivered was best described as sluggish.

Before diesels were even thought of by the everyday motorist Mercedes offered one in the W123. The 2.4-litre single overhead camshaft four-cylinder was an old-time diesel, no turbocharging here, and put out just 48 kW and 137 Nm. Only those interested in economy bought these.

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