Year of manufacture 1981
Recorded mileage 108,432km
Asking price £10,500 Vendor W123 World, Cwmbwrla,
Swansea: tel; 07714 089936; 01792 846888
WHEN IT WAS NEW
Price £8700 1981 UK
Max power 109bhp
Max torque 121lb ft
0-60mph 14 secs
Top speed 100mph
The first owner of this left-hand-drive, German-supplied W123 was a senior manager at Mercedes in Stuttgart who wanted a car with as few electrical accessories as possible so that he could look after it himself in his retirement. Hence his choice of a manual 200 with carburettor engine, plus manual windows and sunroof, and no central locking. The only luxury he allowed himself was a good-quality Becker radio. It has a catalyser on the exhaust (for German cities) and still comes with its winter tyres.
Specialist W123 World has recently recommissioned the car, replacing all of the brake calipers and hoses, radiator, battery and exhaust, and overhauled the carburettor. The previous owner was in Ireland and it has Irish plates, although it is still registered in Germany. There is no evidence of the structure ever having had paint or panelwork, and it has clearly led a quiet life. The bumpers and rubbing strips are in fine condition; the door shuts are crisp, plus the glass and light lenses are scratch-free all round.
Pop the hefty bonnet and there are no problems with the hinges that W123s can suffer: it self props on its first catch and can go vertical for servicing. The bay is beautifully detailed, with all of the correct factory stickers. The engine is dry and leak-free, with oil and water to the correct levels. You can still see splashes of Waxoyl inside the wings.
Inside, the blue seats with cloth inserts are unmarked and the driver’s seat base feels firm (they can sag). There’s no centre armrest, but there are factory overmats. Plus, the tool and first-aid kits are unopened.
It looks smart on its steel wheels with body-coloured hubcaps and, while the quad circular lamps suggest an early car, it runs the later crossflow M102 ‘four’, so it feels surprisingly eager with the manual gearbox.
It would be a miserable thing without power steering, but luckily the 200 has it and is a pleasant, undemanding drive with a stable tickover hot or cold and the usual full-deflection oil pressure under way. The steering is bereft of the straight-ahead play that can mar these cars, and the way the powerful brakes pull up straight reflects the work they’ve had.
EXTERIOR Great factory body and paint
INTERIOR Original and unmarked
MECHANICALS Fully refurbished where necessary: just needs using
For Must be one of the best unrestored W123s around
Against Unexciting but easy-to-live-with specification
SHOULD I BUY IT?
This 200 is as straight and finely preserved as you could reasonably expect a near-40-year-old car to be