﹒W123 with globetrotting history ﹒Extremely rare 230E manual ﹒Superb tan MB-Tex upholstery ﹒Less than 30,000 miles from new
When it comes to quality, the Mercedes-Benz W123 Series is hard to beat. Ask any European or African taxi driver.
The iconic saloon is known the world over for being one of the toughest cars ever made, with monstrous mileages attainable and simple yet robust mechanics, alongside tough bodywork and a feeling of unburstable quality.
Wonderfully over-engineered like no car before or since and subtly, unobtrusively stylish at the same time. Between 1975 and 1986, it was quite simply one of the best cars in the world – if not the best in terms of build quality. It didn’t matter that it was dynamically quite ordinary, for here was a car that was an absolute legend in other areas. Comfort, quality and engineering were at the fore, along with a prestige and historic badge that was as old as the motor car itself.
As a result of being so tough, most W123s have had hard lives – and that’s why this particular example is something of an anomaly. The odometer reads just 48,131, and that’s kilometres rather than miles. In imperial terms, it has covered just under 30,000 miles from new.
A four-cylinder 230E, it has the ‘big’ four-pot engine that’s adequate rather than lively (and much more up-and-at-it than the lowly 200). It’s well travelled despite its low miles, having started out in South Africa and then on the Portuguese island of Madeira, before coming to the UK in 2019. The current owner bought it to use for commuting when not using his R107 SLs, but with two of the classic soft-tops in the garage and imminent retirement, he no longer needs the saloon.
Finished in Champagne Metallic, A942 TBW left the Mercedes-Benz production line in East London on South Africa’s Eastern Cape in March 1984. It belonged to just one family, who moved it to their holiday home on the Portuguese island of Madeira in 1988 and the car stayed there until 2019, spending around 15 years parked up in storage.
It came to the UK in 2019 and was snapped up by the current owner, a lifelong Mercedes enthusiast, who had fond memories of an identical car in the same colour that he owned new in the mid-Eighties. Having enjoyed the nostalgia trip, he has now decided to retire and no longer needs a practical car, so is selling the W123 to enjoy his pair of classic SLs.
As is common with cars from South Africa, there is very little in the way of paper history with the car, though its overall condition leaves absolutely no doubt in your mind that this has been a cherished and well-loved car throughout its life.
The current owner has had a lot of recommissioning work done in recent months, including a new set of tyres, belts, spark plugs, leads, distributor cap and fluids, along with new brake pads and callipers. He also renewed the air conditioning system, which now accepts modern R134A refrigerant.
It’s the interior that will sell this car, make no mistake. The cabin is as close to faultless as you’ll find on a car of this age, with unmarked leather-style tan upholstery that looks almost as good as the day it left the factory.
The dashboard is free from cracks and everything works as intended, while a really nice feature comes in the form of the tan-coloured rubber over mats, which are moulded to fit the footwells and feature an embossed Mercedes logo in the centre.
All the door cards and roof lining are equally undamaged, while the luggage area looks barely used.
The car also comes with a full factory first aid kit in the rear deck panel.
All of the gold paintwork is original and has survived beautifully, with no wear or fading. Overall, it’s in superbly presented condition.
Look closely and there are a couple of tiny blisters at the bottom of one wing and around one rear mud flap, but nothing of any major concern.
The original accessory mudflaps are a neat period extra, while the car also has chrome sill and wheel arch adornments. These have been there since new and are not there to hide any cosmetic issues, as is often the case on older Benzes. If they’re not to your taste, they’re easily removed.
The floor and underside are superb with no signs of previous welding, though there is a bit of a crease in the front valance panel that’s not visible from eye level.
It also features Mercedes’s trademark ‘Mexican Hat’ alloy wheels, all four of which are in good order.
The 48,131 kilometres are 100% genuine, with 4,000 covered by the current owner. In mileage terms, that converts to just over 29,900, which must make this one the lowest mileage W123s ever offered on the market.
The 2,299cc 136bhp engine fires up on the button with no excess smoke and settles to a smooth and steady idle, while the four-speed manual transmission appears to be in good order too.
It has received a full mechanical check-over and oil service prior to being offered for sale.
The steering and suspension all appear to operate as intended, and the brake pedal feels firm and responsive.
This is a really lovely example of the W123, which is a rapidly appreciating and globally loved classic – a Mercedes-Benz of the old order, when they were made of seriously solid stuff.
The mileage and the interior are both incredible and will be enough alone to give the car investment potential. It’s a fine looking example in great mechanical and physical health that will also double up as a perfectly practical family hack if you need it to.
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