Thinking of buying a W123 230E

RolandK

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Still window shopping!
Hi all
Just joined and would appreciate comments and advice on using a W123 as an everyday car.
I have always loved the look of these cars and actually had one briefly some years ago as a company car. Always been interested in classic cars and now looking at the feasibility of using a W123 as an everyday car doing about 5-6k miles a year tops. I know about the legendary reliability of these cars and the reassuringly over engineered feel so that appeals. I take very good care of my cars (although it would need to live outside) but don't want a classic that needs constant tinkering and not looking for a restoration project! Thinking of a 230E auto. What is the current spares availability /cost for these cars? Would a budget around 5 to 6K get me a decent car? I see that air con is a rare feature on these cars: is it feasible to retro fit this?
Apologies for my first post being a load of questions but this seemed the best place to get some real world advice.
Cheers
 

optimusprime

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Roland welcome to the forum
As for you purchasing a W123 for your everyday driver . First you must remember that these cars are over 40 years old . In saying that the W 123 is one of the best built cars Mercedes have ever made . But you must remember that some of the vital parts are getting hard to find . I would say at some time you will be off the road waiting for a part or other , because some items are NLA . But if you dead sure that the W123 is what you want , then it must be a low mile car , a one owner car ,, in mint condition . Not just any W123 that you see . And this condition of any classic Mercedes will cost you a lot of money . So in that i will say good luck ,and hope you follow your dream ,
 

grober

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RolandK

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Still window shopping!
Thanks for the input. Food for thought. Looks like I need to seriously increase my somewhat optimistic budget. The link to the car for sale has made me want one even more! If I spend that much on a car I also need to sort out a garage as I wouldn't want to leave it outside which I would be prepared to do with something cheaper. In the past I would have considered a restoration project but getting on now so have to be realistic. I need something 'ready to go' which I then can look after.
So not ruling it out yet!
Again many thanks.
 

Bellow

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Mercedes w123 230e 1982 | eBay Seems pretty straight and reasonable (112,000) mileage.

OP: I had a 15 year old 200 auto with 230,000 miles under it's wheels and mechanically I had total trust in it.
Mechanically the head gasket is the weak point on the (later - recommended) M102 engine and so long as the car hasn't been overheated as a consequence not a big worry. Corrosion however is. Apart from the structural stuff, they are renowned for rusting out the rear panel below the screen and it gets expensive to sort that out.
A quick trawl on ebay 'classic cars' is throwing up a few W123s and the above one is the first one that looked reasonable in the context of condition/desirable/affordable. A few manuals out there - I'd give them a miss, some rotting ones - big swerve. Most come with the tan interior and 'hard' material seats. Mine had a blue velour (without the fake wood on the dash) interior and is one of the nicest W123 interiors IMO. Bolster wear on the driver seat is common. Mine a had a sunroof and I wished it hadn't (blocked drain channels rust and dump the water into the footwells). Unless you really want a sunroof then avoid if possible - or ensure the drain channels have been kept clear - and when viewing a car check the carpets are dry.
Returning to the corrosion again (yes, it is important on a W123) they are very well undersealed. The problem there is that if the underseal is breached it traps water behind it and it corrodes like crazy. One isolated area may be acceptable. By the time corrosion is everywhere you look - better to walk away. I'm a bit wary of 'full respray' cars on the basis that they were obviously bad enough to need extensive paintwork and there's no guarantee as to how good the respray is - unless the price is knocking on the door of £20k and from a reputable vendor.

Spares will obviously get more problematic but have a look at RockAuto' site. They list W123 (but not 230) parts and are cheap with reasonable carriage on lighter weight items.
What you are looking for is probably available for less than £10k IMO - do you really need a fully restored version of a car with legendary reliability? Have a look around on the internet and avoid cars that have sat idle. Start at the cheap end of the market - you'll soon see what it is you need and want to avoid!
 
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RolandK

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Still window shopping!
Thanks Bellow
I looked at that car and it seemed reasonable but miles away! I think I need to get out there and look at some cars to find out what's acceptable to me. As you say a rusty car is a not what I want. Been there several times with various classic cars! Hard dirty work and never get the money back. I'd always prefer having to sort the mechanicals to structure.
Cheers
 

Bellow

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Miles away because my search is from NE Scotland. Find the Mercedes section in 'ebay classic cars', plug your own postcode in and have a good look at what's on offer. Soon enough you'll be able to identify what's useless to you by glancing. After that, you can home in on the details. At the same time, spot things that need replacing and try and find on the internet to gauge availability and price, eg, headlights (which corrode their reflectors BTW). It will give you a truer picture of why although some cars look pricey, they may well be good value.
W123s are pretty basic cars. Get the basics right and a good car be yours.
 

optimusprime

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I have owned a one owner W123 along with the W124 i have now it was also a one owner [cousin] And the W123 is better made than my W124 ..Another thing to think about now,, is this E10 ethanol fuel with a September dead line . This is going to play havoc with all these older cars and Mercedes being no exception . So many rubber items inside the injection system will eventualy go rotten and fail, and you wont know what it is . .They go this way normaly after the use of E5 fuel over time . The type of rubber that parts were made of back in the 1980 are no as resilient as they make to-day .
 

optimusprime

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Roland its how it will be from September , if cars start to play up you might need to dig in there to find the problem . Owners wont know where to start . And i will be one of them .. I think now , that you just might thank us for visiting the forum . Nothing stopping you having a newer Mercedes like after 2006 maybe. But do check first if its ok to run on E10 good luck .
 
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