1981 Mercedes-Benz W123 – Classified of the Week

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By Chris Pollitt

The W123 is something of an automotive legend. It has quite rightly made it to classic car status, but that’s not the reason it’s a legend. No, instead, the W123 does what many other classics can’t, and by that, we mean it is still a perfectly viable option for regular driving in 2021. 

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The W123 was a car built so well and engineered to such obsessive levels that even rough, battered examples can still be seen on the road today. If you go to places like Africa, you’ll see more W123s than any other car – they are perfect for the rugged environments out there because they just do not quit. Trust us – we’ve seen it first hand. They are bomb-proof. Probably literally, they’re so well engineered. 

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Of course, just because a car is well-made, it doesn’t mean you should test that by letting your W123 degrade. Instead, you should get yourself a nice one and enjoy it for what it is – a fine piece of luxury German engineering. Sure, there’s no Bluetooth this or digital that, but so what? Those things are a distraction. Who wants to drive down the road trying to see over dash-mounted screens bigger than the one in your lounge? Not us, that’s for sure. We’d rather have the sleek, solid and functional dash of a W123 any day of the week. And hopefully, so would you. Because you can use the W123 on any day of the week, or all of them. Imagine turning up at work in this, parking it between Mondeos and Passats. You’d be an office legend! 

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Plus, owning a W123 brings with it none of the constraints that other classics perhaps face. Parts availability is excellent, with even the main dealer stocking a lot of stuff. There is a vast enthusiast and specialist network out there to support you through your ownership, too. Then you have the classic car bonus of cheap insurance. But most of all, you get the satisfaction of owning something, you know, a bit special. And that’s nice. 

And so too is the car we have chosen as this week’s classified to highlight. A 1981 W123 230E with a mere 40k on the clock, this example is an absolute stunner. Finished in light yellow with contrasting black interior trim, it’s a thing of beauty. It’s completely original, too, even down to the chrome and body-colour hubcaps and the two-knob radio. It seems to be completely rust free, the panel gaps look excellent and it sits perfectly. 

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They don’t get much better than this. If you’re after a W123, this 230E has to be considered. Is it the cheapest at £15k? No, there are cheaper ones out there. But are they as nice or as original as this one? Possibly not.

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