My E320 CDI aka The Dad Tank

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MB Enthusiast
Aug 23, 2015
So, I was using a Saab 9-3 as my daily car but having caught the Merc bug from my CLS I decided I wanted some daily Mercedes action.

I had a bit of a hunt on Autotrader and this example came up fairly local. It’s an early 2003 and had 104k on the clock. Full service history, overall condition was very good, freshly MOT’d and serviced. So I handed over some money and had a new family car…The Dad Tank!


I was staggered at how well this car was wearing its years and mileage. The interior just needed a quick vacuum and plastics treated.




Fitted some tidy (but legal) pressed plates.


Had the standard 17” wheels re-painted as they were showing their age.


Acquired an OEM cupholder from that well known auction site.


Clearly designed for left hand drive cars but still makes life easier.


Replaced the sidelights with these supposed non-error LEDs. They have a moment if you turn off the ignition with the lights on but otherwise they look smart and are mostly error free haha.


The headlights had gotten quite cloudy over time. So I wet sanded and polished the lenses followed by re-lacquering using a Meguiars kit. Not 100% perfect but a hell of a lot clearer than before .




Indicator bulbs replaced as well, no more fried egg looking lenses!



Flash a bright orange though.


At the end of last summer I was able to finally give the car a proper detail. Fully clayed, machine polished, sealed and waxed. It’ll be due another going over this summer.






The car has now ticked over 112k and it’s still behaving itself perfectly. I have replaced the main battery and it is due a full service at the end of this month. I have had both bumpers re-painted mainly due to being fussy and wanting them free of any marks.


It may be an old skool diese (3.2 straight six) but this engine is superb. The torque of the thing means this car can really make some progress and at a steady speed still hit 45-50mpg!


I actually put up a couple of posts on-line about what car I may potentially replace this E-Class with but you know what, short of spending considerably more there’s not much that offers me more than this car.

So I decided to spoil it to some new wheels. They’re not OEM but they have a stock look to them, they’re 18” rather than 17” and the design makes the car look a lot more modern.



I applied some Chemical Guys Wheel Guard prior to them going on the car but am waiting on some Mercedes centre caps before taking pictures on the car. All I can say is that I’m chuffed to bits with how the car is looking on it’s new wheels!

I suspect with diesel values potentially taking a dive I will end up hanging onto this car for a little while longer. I still enjoy it, it does everything I want and I think it’s tidy. Long live the W211 Dad Tank haha
Well the centre caps came through the post today. I wasn't sold on them initially but being 60mm rather than the standard 75mm limited my choices.


Once on the wheels though, I think they look pretty smart. :thumb:


A few shots before the light disappeared.



Thank you mate, I'm really pleased with the way it looks.

I think the size of the new rims helps. When you consider nowadays that even small cars have big wheels. My mum A1 has 18" wheels, which is daft but you get used to those looks. So a big saloon with 17" wheels looks old school. This design is an inch larger and the style makes the wheels look bigger still. :)
That missing something....

Great post - good photos and clear rationale for the Familienwagen.

It's just that it's missing something. Can't quite put my finger on it.....

Hold on, I know !

A fifth door.

(OK, and maybe a V8)

Thank you mate, I'm really pleased with the way it looks.

I think the size of the new rims helps. When you consider nowadays that even small cars have big wheels. My mum A1 has 18" wheels, which is daft but you get used to those looks. So a big saloon with 17" wheels looks old school. This design is an inch larger and the style makes the wheels look bigger still. :)

You've transformed the way it looks. 211s do look good on 18s.
Haha I did have a SAAB estate for a while but couldn't resist this E.

Sadly I don't have a bike to put in the back anyway. I do have a V8 though, just not in my 'sensible' car haha :)
Gave the car a once over today.

Interior always comes up nicely.






It's a surprisingly good sounding stereo and for those of us born in the 80s there's even a cassette player hidden away!


My CLS came with a Carmats4U boot liner bought by the previous owner so this was a given for the E320 as well. Doesn't matter parenting cr*p gets put in here, the boot stays clean.


Gave the outside a clean of course.





Couple of cheeky pics with an added affect which I think looks great with silver cars (which two of mine are, which is handy haha)


Simply stunning, Now to get those calipers painted Sir ;) Just to finish the look off :)
^ I have to agree.. a lovely car there.. so where is you said you lived again, I'll bring the Jaffa Cakes if someone else wants to be mum whilst you err.. aww never mind wishful thinking..

A Cheap private plate though.. will take the age off her, sell it with or without the car when the time comes..

Great job though, looks superb...:thumb::thumb:
Thank you mate and yeah I totally agree. I was looking at the callipers as I put on some tyre gel thinking, they'd look good silver. I wouldn't for another colour as they're not performance brakes just need to look tidy. :)

I've been looking at private plates too, just cheap dateless ones would set the car off as it doesn't look it's age. In fact to think next year it's fifteenth birthday is a bit mad.

That said, I've been eyeing up some plates on the DVLA website. I've got X666 ALX on my Megane, Y666 ROX on the CLS and I quite fancy W666 OCD for the E Class! haha
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I reckon Anthracite, With "Mercedes Benz" on them would break the silver up nicely
I think I agree with you mate haha. :)

Anthracite would work very nicely. Funnily enough I did think an MB decal on the callipers would be smart too. Now that it less enclosed wheels the callipers will definitely need some TLC.
I did my best with the SAAB. For it's age and mileage (140k) I think it was in good condition. It needed a wheel refurb and a bit of TLC on the paint but I did my best with it.




I didn't ever get into detailing this car as such though, just keeping it tidy.
Haha well hobby detailer but far from professional.

OCD? Well my other half would say so. I just hate seeing my cars in a state. Don't get me wrong my daily car sees some normal parenting usage but I stay on top of it so never looks too bad.

I admit the SAAB used to be washed (on the outside) by the local hand car wash but none of my other cars would be allowed near them. The E was already in such good condition that a thorough detail and it's pretty much as you see it in the pics. :)
Immaculate car and I really like your attention to detail!

Is it an Avantgarde or Elegance? Just wondering as it sits nicely without much of a gap in the front wheel arch.
In the SAAB Alex, was the hand brake a little precarious.. it looks fragile with a possibility of dare I say it "Breaking" ..I just wonder was there ever a problem with the hand brake like that..

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