It’s not unheard of for old Mercedes diesels to have some miles on the odometer, but they don’t always get there looking like a museum piece. This 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300TD for sale on Bring a Trailer has 782,000 miles, but looks like it has 7,800 miles.
These little Benzos are famous for their ability to rack up a million miles or more and just keep going. They operate all over the world with odometer readings that would make my 357,000-mile Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen blush.
The seller of this Medium Red W123-chassis diesel wagon says that they’ve owned it since 2006 and their contribution to the mileage on the odometer amounts to 150,000 miles.
This car was a daily driver, but when it wasn’t being driven it was parked in a garage. Given the car’s current location in Arizona, it’s not too surprising that the body is free from major damage with the only real noticeable rust being some minor surface rust around the fuel-filler door.
Its interior is in similarly fantastic condition and finished in Saffron-colored MB-Tex, Mercedes-Benz’s proprietary vinyl that’s known to be more durable than leather.
While MB-Tex is long-lasting, the rest of the components in the seats are not. It’s not uncommon for seat springs and foam in W123s to break down, eventually requiring refurbishment or replacement. The seller says that this interior is all-original, save for the front seats, which have been replaced twice.
Under the hood is MB’s 3.0-liter OM617 straight-five diesel. This engine makes 77 horsepower and 115 lb-ft torque. Don’t ask about acceleration times. I was once outrun by a garbage truck driving one of these. Oof.
But what it lacks in speed, it makes up for in impeccable style. It should also return respectable fuel economy, even for today’s standards.
The seller notes that they have not done any major work to the engine or transmission in their ownership. The self-leveling hydraulic rear suspension was serviced within the last five years.
But not everything is perfect. The air-conditioning — which is heavily dependent on a complex vacuum system — doesn’t work and the car has mismatched tires that show some cracking.
The seller is also unsure of the engine and transmission’s history prior to their ownership.
Still, this car is within range of a million miles and I hope someone takes it there. It’s currently at $6,000 with 3 days to go on Bring a Trailer.