CHASING CARS Quentin Willson’s hot tips
VALUE 2014 £4850
VALUE NOW 2019 £5500
Looking at the plush six-cylinder W124 estates of the Nineties, I see the same sort of potential as R107 SLs. Back in the day the 300TE wagon was also glam, swift, middle class and, if you ticked all the options boxes, could cost big money – close to £40k. Many buyers ordered rafts of optional extras – it’s not unusual to find seven-seater 300TEs with air con, leather, airbags, heated seats, power sunroofs and electrically-adjustable steering columns. I owned a ’91 24-valve in Blue-Black with black leather and fondly remember its capacious room, surprising turn of speed and distinct whiff of exclusivity. In the Nineties the 300TE 4Matic was the family car that company high-ups bought to accompany their 911 Carreras on the gravel drive and use for skiing trips – courtesy of the firm’s expense account, of course.
Surprisingly 300TEs have stayed under the radar, but I’m seeing the trade starting to price bullishly with really special examples heading for 15 grand. Private sellers aren’t so confident and an enthusiast in Essex has just sold a factory black ’91 300TE 4Matic with grey leather, the seven-seat option, 150k miles and 25 M-B dealer stamps in the book for £4500. And it looked a real peach. In June Anglia auctioned a very nice ’91 24v in light metallic blue with all the desirable factory options, 76,000 miles and long history for £5300. That sounds cheap for such a low miler.
And don’t be deterred by big mileages because these W124s were some of the best built Benzes of the decade. The saloon may have been the world’s longest-lived taxi, but somehow they don’t have the same cachet as the swish wagons. Go for the highest spec you can find and try for the seven-seater option because those two rear-facing seats in the load area really add value and the kids will love them.
As a family classic the 300TE is unbeatable. I prefer pre-facelift ’1987-’1992 cars because they have a more period look and didn’t wear E Class badges. A good one for five to seven grand will put you ahead of the game – and your children will adore you forever.
‘As a family classic the W124 300TE is unbeatable’