The seller of today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe 300E says he’s selling it because he has too many Mercedes! We should all have such problems, right? Let’s see if “too many” also describes the digits in his price.
As Alice Cooper once famously intoned: Hello! Hooray! We certainly have something to celebrate as yesterday’s 1989 Toyota MR2 generated a massive 82% Nice Price win for its pocket change price. That was despite its having an automatic gearbox in a place where you might more likely expect a manual to reside.
What if we could come up with a car for which the opposite was true, one that rocks three pedals and a row-yer-own where most often exists a slusher, how would you feel about that? Ambiguous? Well, let’s find out for sure.
We didn’t have much luck with Tuesday’s AMG Mercedes as it was a model new enough to be wildly complicated but not old enough for all those fancy parts to have been built with the care and durability for which Mercedes once stood. This 1986 300E on the other hand is a reasonably simple affair, and these W124 series cars have a reputation for dependability approaching that of Twinkies and Meryl Streep’s acting.
This one seems a fine example in favor of that esteem. I mean, just look at the interior. Almost everything about it—seats, door cards, and dash, all look to be in pretty nice shape. And the headliner has been replaced as well to make it a package deal. Try doing that with a Buick of the era. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Perhaps part of the reason it’s in such nice shape is the car’s appreciably low mileage, which is a nominal 88K. The exterior seems just as tidy exhibiting no signs of car cancer or major damage in its past.
There are a number of minor design tweaks here that could be called into question. One is the black-painted grille shell and the other is the spoiler in the back. That spoiler, along with the front bumper are said to be AMG pieces, and if you like ‘em well then more power to you. I’d still bring the grille back to its shiny metal ass brightness. At the same time I’d probably respray the front valance as it looks a little peppery.
Visuals aside, it’s the mechanicals that make this car interesting. Oh, not the 177-horsepower 3-litre SOHC straight six, not to say that it shouldn’t be dreamy. It’s the five-speed stick that is bolted behind it that’s of note. Tests back in the day rated this combo with an 8-second zero to sixty time, a 140-mph top end (in fourth), and 18 city/25 highway mileage. Not bad for a sedan that drives like the world’s nicest and most agile tank.
Other notable aspects of this particular car are a new radiator, new fluids in the tranny and diff, and a spankin’ new A/C compressor to help you keep your cool while you contemplate driving a W124 with a stick. How rare an opportunity is that to do? Well, the seller notes that only 900 cars so equipped were ever imported into the U.S..
Oh sure, those of you living in Europe may raspberry the idea of such a car being unique as almost everything this old over there comes with a stick. Here in the States however, it’s an anomaly, and the good kind, not like having a third testicle or having Trump follow you on Twitter.
As I noted at the start, the seller’s modus operandi is to no longer describe himself as having too many Mercedes’ in his fleet. He claims everything on this car “works as it should,” and it comes with a clean title.
The only possible flies wrenching their monkeys around the ointment could be: (A) You can’t drive stick, or (B) You can’t see your way around paying the car’s $8,000 asking. We can’t help you on (A) but we’ll all now have to vote on (B) to help the seller out.
What do you think, is this rare opportunity to own an apparently decent stick shift 300E worth $8,000? Or, is that price too high for you to stick around?
H/T to Jake Harrison for the hookup!
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