It’s very possible that the W124, as exemplified by today’s Nice Price or No Dice E320, is the last great Mercedes mid-sizer. This one seems particularly nice, but could the same be said about its price?
Back in my days working for an ad agency, I came up with a great pitch for Ford’s Motorsport division that played on the company’s penchant for automotive model names that begin with one particular letter of the alphabet. It went something like this: When it comes to performance, it’s time to drop an F-bomb. Did I mention that I no longer work in advertising anymore?
My travails aside, Ford has always been an automaker that saw the value in performance and car names that start with “F.” That was plainly evident in the 2016 Ford Focus RS we looked at yesterday. The RS model was Ford’s compact car brought into sharper focus by way of a 350 horsepower engine and capable all-wheel drive. A decent presentation and modest mileage rounded out our candidate’s overall appeal. Sadly for the seller, however, that appeal didn’t extend to the car’s $34,500 asking price which many of you excoriated in the comments and condemned to a 73 percent No Dice loss.
Now, while yesterday’s Ford was deemed overpriced by the majority, few of us would deny its purpose and lust factor. With a car like that, you probably know why you’re buying it and what exactly you would do with it. I wonder if the same sense of role and purpose can be claimed for today’s 1994 Mercedes-Benz E320 sedan?
That’s not to say that this isn’t a wonderful car. These ’90s Benzes are kind of the last of the German carmaker’s old-school products, built to exacting standards instead of to a price. That sense of quality has allowed cars like this Pastellweiss over tan leather edition to still appear in wonderfully stately shape despite its age, a three-owner life, and the 145,000 miles it has racked up over all that. The question is, could this still be special enough to overcome its advanced age and related lack of modern features? We’ll have to mull that over, but first to the car.
Per the pics in the ad, this Benz is almost completely stock right down to its floor mats on the inside and the 15-inch phone dial wheels on the outside. Everything looks to be in amazing shape, although the seller does note a couple of scrapes and dings in the bodywork, war wounds from age and miles.
Quite amazingly, the Zebrano wood and leather that adorns the cabin all appear to be in as-new condition. That’s unexpected since both can show time and use on these models. The seller says that everything in the cabin is in working condition, save for the ambient air temperature display. Happily, the original Becker stereo head unit is still in the dash, completing the cabin’s time warp appeal.
There’s more to like mechanically on this W124. The engine is Mercedes’ 3.2 liter M104 straight-six. That mill benefits from double-overhead cams and four valves per cylinder which help it make 217 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. According to the seller, both the engine’s head gasket and the car’s wiring loom have been updated. The documentation for the work and the receipts are included in the sale, along with a ton of other paperwork, manuals, and assorted paraphernalia.
The title is clean and the seller says the car offers “a very pleasant and comfortable” driving experience and that the “Engine runs very smooth and quiet.” In fact, I will aver that the Craigslist listing for this Benz is just about as carefully crafted as is the car. That makes the E320 all the more interesting, however, the question remains, could this saloon be special enough to warrant consideration?
What would you do with a car like this? Would you leverage its intended purpose and daily drive it until the sun burns out? Or would you keep it as a showpiece, pulling it out for special occasions and Cars & Coffee events? Therein lies the conundrum.
Perhaps the price will help with that. The asking is $6,500 and that’s Momma Bear, middle-of-the-road in today’s market. It should be noted that amount will buy you any number of newer cars any of which will offer updated safety and convenience features. Those newer cars will likely not, however, offer the same satisfying thunk that this E320 does when closing a door, nor the stately elegance that this era of Benz seemed to exude.
What do you think, is there a place for an E320 like this in the world? And is that $6,500 asking a fair price to find it?
H/T to Don R. for the hookup!
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