Mercedes-Benz W123 / C123. Another desirable Mercedes – again, one the classic market is only just waking up to. The...
Mercedes-Benz W123 / C123.

Another desirable Mercedes – again, one the classic market is only just waking up to. These are famous for their longevity, and as a sensible and fairly cheap to run four-door saloon, they’re a much more practical alternative to a sports car. One for the prudent investor!
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  •   Alan Lovell reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    RUN BY Graeme Hurst
    OWNED SINCE November 2011

    / #Mercedes-Benz-280TE-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz-W123 / #Mercedes-Benz-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz-280TE-Automatic-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz-280TE-Automatic / #1982-Mercedes-Benz-280TE-Automatic-S123

    The TE has put some miles under its belt recently, mainly with trips to the Cape coast or the inland Karoo – it being the only ‘dog’ and ‘tow’ car in the fleet, so perfect for weekend adventures. The trouble is, a faulty odometer means that I have no idea how many miles, so have to judge the service intervals by the colour of the oil.

    My mates in the Mercedes-Benz Club are rather horrified by that arrangement, along with the sort of use we give the car. Which highlights a dilemma: the wagon variant of the #W123 is super-rare on South African shores and they’re increasingly coveted by collectors, but ours is very much a working classic in daily use because I simply don’t have the space to keep it for high days and holidays.

    Mind you, as classic daily drivers go, a 123 wagon is perfect for the job, although the maintenance does start to rack up on a car that’s likely covered 300,000km-plus. It’s all been minor stuff, such as a faulty start-inhibitor switch on the gearbox (meaning that the car would only start in neutral) and a weeping power-steering hose. Both were easily sorted by local specialist Allan Ketterer of JFT Motors, who also suggested having the radiator flushed and ‘rodded’ to ensure that the cooling system is in optimum condition. This was after the temperature needle started creeping towards the red on a trip up the west coast last Christmas.

    To be fair, the journey involved towing a trailer with the car four-up in 35ºC heat, but I was conscious that, as a full import, the TE has a standard European-market radiator and not the larger item our locally assembled sedans enjoy. I thought of installing a local version, but wagons were fitted with an oil cooler, so there isn’t space. Ketterer suggested fitting a relay to hardwire the electric fan on whenever the air-conditioning is running; with that and a clear core, the needle is now stable on hot days. Another problem with daily use is the risk of knocks from other cars. Or in our case rather more than just a knock, after the back of the Merc was clipped by a Range Rover at an intersection. Fortunately the impact was directly on the offside tail-light lens, so the metalwork emerged unscathed, but replacing the lens was a reminder of why these cars are increasingly finding their way into cotton-wool-wrapped collections: second-hand estate items are non-existent, and a new lens (in a dusty Stuttgart box that looked to be new-old-stock) cost a whopping R5480 (£322!) from the main agent. Thankfully the guilty party was properly insured, and even still made her yoga class on time. Namaste!

    A true ‘lifestyle’ estate doing what it does best, as the Merc hauls dogs and kayaks to the Palmiet River in Betty’s Bay. Getting hot under the collar on west coast. Altercation with Range Rover proved costly New power-steering hoses cured weeping. ‏ — at South Africa
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  •   Graeme Hurst reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Benz without knight fever / #Mercedes-Benz-280TE-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz-W123 / #Mercedes-Benz-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz-280TE-Automatic-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz-280TE-Automatic / #1982-Mercedes-Benz-280TE-Automatic-S123

    Rust-free W123s are rare things these days. We stumbled across this clean and well-specced ’ #1982 280TE just before Christmas at Slade’s Garage, High Wycombe, but what made it interesting is that it’s from the long-term ownership of Sir Barry Gibb, the sole surviving Bee Gee, who lives just around the corner. Low-mileage (though it had a speedo change soon after Gibb got it in 1988), sporting a Nardi wheel and air-con, and recently gone through by Roger Edwards Motors, it’s up for £14,950 – one-and-a-half times more than the base 200 in Case histories.
    Commendably, Slade’s resisted the temptation to put up the price (one titled owner, and all that) when Gibb got his knighthood in the New Year Honours list. For details

    Ex-Gibb Mercedes-Benz 123-Series looks like decent value
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  •   Andy Everett reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Fisherman’s friend / #Mercedes-Benz-280TE-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz-W123 / #Mercedes-Benz-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz

    The editor recently spotted this W123 workhorse on the beach in Deal Kent. It belongs to Ben, a fisherman; that’s his boat nearby. He uses the estate to ferry fuel and other supplies to the boat prior to a fishing trip. On his return it is filled with all the fish he catches. A Mercedes enthusiast, Ben also owns a W124 model.
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  •   Richard Truesdell reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    CAR / #Mercedes-Benz-280TE-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz-W123 / #Mercedes-Benz-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz

    Run by Graeme Hurst
    Owned since Nov 2011
    Total mileage 271,854km
    Miles since August report c4000km (odometer broken)
    Latest costs R22k (£1200)



    When would-be classic owners ask for advice on buying a car, which they invariably fancy as something that won’t shed value like a modern, I always point out that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. As the years and miles roll by, the value may hold but stuff wears out and you may need to dig deep when the spanners come out. And that’s been the case with the TE after five years of use (plus its intergalactic mileage) caught up with the Mercedes. It began with the steering box, which was getting increasingly vague, making the wagon tricky to control in the Cape Doctor – the region’s strong south-easterly wind.

    Journeys were made more tiring by a drivetrain vibration, but balancing the prop (the usual culprit) didn’t improve things.

    And the offside front wheel tended to lock under heavy braking. Time, then, to digest the second piece of advice I dispense after the euphoria of purchase has passed: find a specialist who understands old cars and who you can trust to keep it running smoothly. In this case that was Allan Ketterer of JFT Motors, who’s spent nearly three decades under the bonnets of 123s. The news wasn’t good when he called back: the steering box was well past the point where it could be adjusted, while the vibration was due to tired engine and gearbox mounts – the rubber had separated from the metal surround on the latter. A blocked hose had allowed the nearside caliper to seize – so the offside one was doing all the work – and four new discs were needed. Secondhand boxes are likely to be just as worn, so I called the local Mercedes agent to price a new one: 46,000 Rand (c£2500) after duties! I only paid R34k for the car.

    The cost of new mounts was also a shock: R1900 per engine support and R3600 for the gearbox unit. So Allan offered to ring mates in the trade to locate good used ones, but he recommended using pukka M-B items. I listened politely and then insisted on pattern versions for a tenth of the price but they obviously weren’t as good. One trip to the coast convinced me that they weren’t up to the job and I soon had the TE back at JFT, with my credit card out to opt for the Stuttgart route after all.

    Hurst decided that cutprice mounts were a false economy after a long drive.

    Fresh steering box is a vast improvement. Inset: tired ’box mount; OEM engine ones.
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  •   Chris Hrabalek reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Invitation to the sports / #Mercedes-Benz 280TE-AMG-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz-280TE-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz-280E-W123 / #Mercedes-Benz-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz-W123 / #Mercedes-Benz / #AMG / #Mercedes-Benz-280TE-AMG-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz-AMG

    A #Mercedes 123 represents conservative values - and can be loaded as a station wagon style.
    Tuner #AMG did not change this Basic, advanced but the character

    There are few things, including Goethe's "Faust" is useful. To study the rhyme forms, perhaps. Or as a sleep aid. Otherwise, the concoction is pretty overrated.

    Because obviously only an ordinary car like the #Mercedes-Benz-280TE-AMG was the old Johann Wolfgang little creative and sight, as he let his rhyme Faust: "Two souls, alas! in my breast, / The one wants to separate from the other; / The one holding, in rough Liebeslust / Adhere to the world with clinging organs; / The other raises violently from Dust / The climes high ancestors. "

    Thus, a station wagon, the know not only Goethe enthusiast can already inherently much: be practical, this dress the driver well and keep puffing praises of reliability. it can not be just fast. Because in the 1970erund 80s a sporty appearance at Daimler-Benz is not hip - also because had been much research too long exclusively on rotary engine and the development department had simply ready no modern at its corner.

    The 280 six-cylinder with two lying type M 110 overhead cam 1972 is more of a temporary solution, and years later, "the zombie under the W 123 engines" as the specialists from the W 123-Club say today (see page 28) - because it continues to function even when everything rattles.

    Beginning of the 80s is the M 110 but also a great base for Mercedes tuner AMG in Affalterbach, where solvente heater can umfummeln their staid Benze to rapid non-BMW. Yes, "umfummeln", even if today's Daimler subsidiary AMG does not like to listen. After tuning is then, what it always was: Tinker at a high level and also at AMG far from perfect.

    Example: Our Photo Cart from 1984, which is also not fallen as AMG from heaven, but a pact with the devil power in two steps entered. The tragedy first part: the order as perfectly ordinary 280 TE in anthracite 172. (among others) five-speed manual transmission, driver airbag, seat heating and air conditioning, car phone, but without a sunroof, power windows or headlamp cleaner. Price: 70 050,10 Mark. Step two follows immediately after delivery with an AMG-contractor who undertakes a performance increase of stage II, ie by 25 hp.

    It includes changes to the cylinder head, as the machining of combustion chambers, channels, valves and cam followers. But above all, builds AMG two camshafts one, puts the chassis by 25 millimeters and installs a set Rial-Cross-spoke wheels.

    Step three of the power increase takes place in 1988 right in Affalterbach: Here the now 210 hp Combined be AMGSpoilerpaket, a coating of chrome parts in body color, and even wider wheels replaced (8 or 9 x 16 ") of own production The AMG conversion price thus far. : 18 990 Mark.

    A later owner (! Porsche driver) is again mounted chrome and the spoiler throw away - to Mercedes- friend Jörg Maschke buys the car and then a set of original AMGSchürzen on Ebay place (!). "I have long urged me not to drill holes in the body and the parts dranzuschrauben. So I copied large AMG me a brochure, but here seen: They are then not even complied with a uniform screw spacing ".

    The AMG engineers find meanwhile technical solutions that are as simple as it is ingenious: instead, for example, to build a larger airbox inlet itself, AMG transforms the available factory tropical variant to. And they build up a speed limiting relay from the V8, which would allow calculation about 7000 U / min, when the valve train of the M 110 this, alas only. Now the 280 TE, but no race car and should not be either. "From 160 km / h Driving is fun, and to 200 it is as you would imagine," says Maschke and passes the driver's seat.

    Because he better fits behind the seat Riese, he has installed a smaller steering wheel from W 124th At 123-typical feeling that does not change: If the Autotester- formulation of the "Central location inexact steering" ever had an origin, then the wheel of a W 123 has the shift lever while still AMG shortened hakelig and damn long the pilgrim path remains between first and Second nonetheless. Everything as always, so? Is the AMGTE even just a quick Schleicher with a double chin? Now, the classic leather chair at least have concluded with the country of high Benz ancestors a devilishly slippery Pact. but you also contribute to the surprisingly high residual comfort. An AMG-tuning chassis does not feel like a Dopsball on Ritalin, but fundamentally decent and safe.

    Spontaneously, the two can not be separated AMGSeelen however. Under 3500 / min happens little, and so the driver has to make an informed choice, in rough Liebeslust return two courses and to unscrew the six-cylinder sinewy and 6500 tours, the enjoyment grass on the left motorway lane.

    Finally, although it is fun to plane with a fast station wagon along narrow country lanes. But straight it may then be better. Frederik E. Scherer

    While AMG can produce their own light alloy wheels, but also engages in many cases back to standard products - for example, the speed limiting relay of V8 engines in order to increase the speed in the six-cylinder.

    Carpet in the cargo area dissociates the Model T from commercial vehicle - in estates early 80s is not of course the shift lever of the five speed transmission is reduced, the steering wheel comes from the W 124. The body kit made of fiberglass is bolted to the body; originally was the first owner also chrome parts in body color coat.

    25 additional hp and 240 Nm of torque obtained from AMG sharper camshafts and a machined cylinder head.

    Additional air comes over tropical trunk on the air filter. On the leather armchairs performance will however not stop.

    Its reliability was an S 123 after the power boost in Affalterbach not. It is probably the largest of muscle strength Benz. Then as now, he polarized: Kenner applaud turn up vintage newcomers nose and throw a of AMG in a pot of home improvement craft booths. The exclusivity, clinging to a historic AMG does not automatically mean a better state of preservation. Among the usual weaknesses of 123ers (rust!) Is increased wear, especially wheel bearings and chassis gums. Specifically, the accumulator of hydropneumatic level control are mostly flat for the station wagon. Full unrestricted an everyday operation today anyway no longer possible: Given rare original parts take the most AMG owners their cars only with kid gloves.


    In short, the situation is serious. Although AMG claiming to deliver or parts for older models, you should not rely on it. therefore AMG drivers maintain their network: If original lumps appear, they are purchased - even if only to have something to swap. This applies to wheels (which, if at all, only as a set are) as well as for AMG sticker. Disadvantage: If certain parts remainders exist (. Eg abroad), the scene automatically pushes the prices up.

    The current stock of AMG-tuned T model is estimated to be about ten. If one sold times, then usually not scene- or club internally on the open market, but. Our price curve is for a standard 280 TE. The AMG-tuning leads, depending on the vehicle, to a more or less significant premium.

    Although at a mass car like the 123 sounds like a paradox: The best way to good Exem plar via the two big clubs (see addresses). These also offer detailed buyer's guides in book form and online. Anyone familiar with the basics, can then start looking for a AMG. It will require a lot of patience, because such a car buy only specialists with high expectations, and rarely give it recovers. On PS is not the point - but on authenticity and history.


    It would probably be easier to get an audience with the Dalai Lama as an insight into the history of AMG. But we remain objective and at the (known) facts: 1967 found Hans-Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher your business in - from the initials of the name AMG. As the former Daimler-Benz test engineers are both in motor home. At first they make tailfins legs before sending a 300 SEL 6.3 with a 6.8-liter V8 and 400 hp to the racetrack. The "Red Sow" makes AMG Mercedes tuner famous and to address more solvent clients all series. For the W 123 AMG provides machined cylinder heads and turbocharger to the diesel engines. Top model is 1983, the AMG 500 CE with 276 hp. Since 1976, located in Affalterbach, goes " #Mercedes-AMG " in 1999 as a subsidiary of Daimler AG. Exact numbers for AMG cars are not known.

    W 114/115 (1968-1973) From "/ 8" build Meanies and Binz both ambulance and station wagon 280 TE Zender (1980) The smooth-surfaced Aprons develop bestsellers

    AMG 300 TE-24 3.4 (S 124) (1989-1992) 272 hp (instead of factory-220), at 250 km / h Governed
    C 55 AMG (S 202) (1998-2000) farewell to the first C-Class with 5.4-liter V8 and 347 hp

    Practicality 4
    Repairability 4
    Spare parts 2
    Maintenance costs 2
    Availability 1
    Price forecast 2

    Clubs:; literature: R. Heitz, T. Neff: About Mercedes Tuning, Motorbuch 1987 antiquarian from 25 euros; M. Rohde, J.-P. Syrup: Mercedes-Benz W 123, Heel 2004 29.90 euros
    Engine: six-cylinder, front longitudinal • double overhead camshafts, driven by chain, two valves per cylinder, mech. Petrol Injection
    Displacement 2746cc
    Max Power 155 kW (210 hp DIN) at 6300rpm
    Max Torque 240 Nm at 4600rpm
    Gearbox five-speed manual transmission / Rear wheel drive
    Front independent suspension on double wishbones, rear Diagonal swing axle, coil springs u. Gas pressure shock absorbers all round
    Front tire 205/55 ZR 16 rear 225/50 ZR 16
    Dimensions: wheelbase 2795 mm • L / W / H 4725/1786/1445 mm
    Curb weight 1575 kg
    Performance 0-62 MPH / 0-100 kph in 8.4 s
    Fuel consumption: about 18 l per 100 km
    Top Speed 210 kph
    Original price: 89 040 DM #1984
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  •   Chris Hrabalek reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    CAR / #Mercedes-Benz-280TE-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz-W123 / #Mercedes-Benz-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz

    Run by Graeme Hurst
    Owned since Nov 2011
    Total mileage 267,854km
    Miles since February report c3000km (odometer broken)
    Latest costs R980 (c£45)


    Pratley’s Epoxy Putty: it’s a South African product that can fix just about anything and comes in glue or putty forms. And no home should be without it. Or car for that matter, as I recently discovered when a tube of it got the TE out of a sticky situation after the sump was holed on a journey to the Karoo.

    The trip was a re-run of one that we made last year to stay on a remote farm near Matjiesfontein, some 220km out of CapeTown. It’s 20kmfrom the nearest phone signal and tarred road. Only this time a little too much exuberance behind the wheel in the excitement to get there led to the car bottoming out in a dip in the gravel track while at speed. I didn’t think too much of it until we stopped about a kilometre on to open the farm gate and a mate (who had got out) commented that there was a thin trail of black oil behind the car. Yikes!

    Not wanting to be stranded with no lubricant and a car that I couldn’t move, I elected to cover the last kilometre as fast as possible. Luckily, the oil-pressure gauge was still at the top of its travel (typical Merc style) so the sump wasn’t empty.

    Once we were there, we all spent a maniacal few minutes searching for a suitable container. In the end, a dustbin lid had to suffice and I was able to collect some oil for re-use – and save the pristine gravel car park in front of the guest cottage.

    Once the stream of 20w50 had subsided, I could see the damage: the sump plug had taken a serious clout from a rock and the surrounding sheet metal had folded in. It probably would have been okay, except that three sharp corners of the plug’s octagonal head had pierced the metal, causing the leak. Fortunately, the farm had a barn full of tools that I could plunder and I found a suitable socket to allow me to straighten the plug with a hammer so that it could be undone.

    After cleaning it and the surrounding area with petrol, I was able to glue it in situ. I let it set overnight, poured the oil back in and checked the dipstick – just enough to register and get to Matjiesfontein and replenish… that was a relief!

    Sump holed after suspension bottomed.

    Hurst sets to, with canine support crew… …resulting in an effective temporary fix.

    Abi and Diesel always love trips out in the Merc, here at the period pumps on Matjiesfontein High St.
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