1980s / 1990s / Future classic / German / Mercedes-Benz

Is the Mercedes-Benz w124 a future classic?

mercedes-benz-w124-7Mercedes-Benz launched the w124 in January of 1985 to replace the nine-year old w123, one of the most successful sedans it has ever built.  Gone was the abundant chrome trim and the rounded lines that characterized the w123, the w124 had a boxy body that was strongly inspired by the entry-level w201 190 and adorned by a healthy dose of plastic trim.

Like its predecessor, the w124 debuted as a four-door sedan and it was joined by a two-door coupe a little later in the production run. Mercedes continued the tradition ushered in by the w123 and it built a wagon variant of the car that came with either five or seven seats depending on which market it was delivered in.

In addition to riding on a state-of-the-art platform, the w124 was offered with a large number of gasoline- and diesel-burning engines that included several all-new units designed specifically for the car. While many w124s sold in Europe were powered by low-spec naturally-aspirated oil-burners, the OM603 straight-six that was found in the engine bay of the 300D Turbo made it the world’s fastest regular-production diesel-powered car in the 1980s.

Better-equipped trim levels appeared in the early 1990s to fend off upstarts like Lexus, Acura and Infiniti, while a two-door convertible bowed in 1991.  In 1993, the w124 got its second and last facelift and officially became Mercedes’ first E-Class.  It was replaced by the w210 E-Class in 1995 and production ended in 1996 when the last wagon rolled off the assembly line.

As early w124s are nearing 30-years old, will they be cherished by collectors or driven into the ground by unloving owners?

11 thoughts on “Is the Mercedes-Benz w124 a future classic?

  1. Just bought a refurbished 300TE a few months back, replacing a tired Ford Taurus wagon. It still has a few minor issues to address, but overall, I am quite pleased. Very different from the Citroens and Peugeots I’m used to.

    • Total different machine than the Taurus, I imagine!

      When I had my 300E I also had a 1962 Beetle and going from one car to the other was like night and day.

      Bytheway, judging from your picture I think you will enjoy the Citroen GSA road test we just published.

  2. My 1991 200d is my daily driver and I would not have it any other way. Sturdy, comfortable, frugal and an overall exceptional build quality. Also it is still servicable by normal people, I can do it all myself. Parts are easily scored and rarely needed. It runs smooth as silk and it’s a great winter car too. Highly recommended.

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  5. I run a 250TD wagon/estate as a daily driver. Impressive machine and only just run in with 1.2 million kilometres 🙂 Now I want a 300CE coupé……

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  7. Had a w124 in one shape or form in the family for the last 15 years or so. This includes a 230TE, e280, and 3x e300 diesels. One is my daily driver and has been in the family for a decade. They were cheap runarounds 10 years ago, now they’re creeping up in value as more are scrapped and more are cherished. Ignoring fuel consumption the pick of the bunch was the e280 petrol. Smooth and fast. What more could you want? The om606 diesel is the balance of economy, reliability and practicality, although all of them are getting old, with decades of use with minimal maintenance (because you can get away with it if you are a short termer)

    Parts are easy to come by new/oem or second hand. Even though it’s getting harder to find breakers.

    A good e300 diesel estate with a modest 200k and full history etc are 3k. A lot of estates have been used as workhorses so bodywork damage is pretty typical below that price point.

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