1980s / 1990s / German / Mercedes-Benz / Rust in peace

Rust in peace: Mercedes-Benz 250D (w124)

mercedes-benz-250d-5This Mercedes-Benz 250D (w124) blends in with the decor during the week because it is sitting on an unpaved plot of land that serves as a makeshift parking lot for a nearby helicopter factory. On weekends and on holidays, the Mercedes is the only car left in the lot and it becomes immediately evident that it has not moved in many months.

The w124’s license plates have been ripped off so it is hard to decipher its exact provenance but the N sticker on the trunk lid and the half of a plate that is still affixed to the back indicate that it comes from Norway (not Poland as previously reported). How it wound up on the outskirts of Marseille is a mystery.

The other enigma that surrounds this car is the exact model. The emblem has been shaved off the trunk but a look at the fuel filler cap reveals that it’s powered by a diesel-burning engine, and since the speedometer goes up to 200 km/h it is most likely a naturally-aspirated 250D – most entry-level 200Ds were equipped a 180-kilometer speedo, and turbocharged 250Ds and 300Ds (turbo or not) had a speedometer that went up to at least 220 km/h.

Regardless of model or country of origin, this w124 is nearing the end of what looks to have been a rough life.

20 thoughts on “Rust in peace: Mercedes-Benz 250D (w124)

  1. The person probably left with an airplane home to Norway, never to return to his once trusted vehicle.

    Judging from the photos, the car doesn’t look so bad from the outside, there aren’t any battle marks from accidents visible. The front left wheel, the opening roof and the the right rear window show that the car wasn’t looked after in the time leading up to its abandonment, so it might have been on its last breath mechanically. Or the owner just couldn’t afford to take care of it, and couldn’t afford to return to his car. Would be interesting to know how the car is under the hood.

    Have you looked if it is a automatic or manual transmission?

    Is there a procedure in France to claim or buy abandoned cars? Probably depends on whether this is a public space or a private lot.

    And what are the papers under the screen-wiper? Adverts? Notification of impending removal?

    • I thought about that, someone just abandoning it there. I don’t know, the fact that the plates were ripped off is kind of odd.

      The car is not in bad shape, no, it’s not particularly rusty either.

      I believe it’s got a manual transmission. I will try to go back today (it’s five minutes away from my work) and see if I can discreetly get some shots of the interior. I’m interested to see what the odometer reads. If I manage to do that, I will add more photos to the article.

      There’s no procedure for private parties like myself to buy or claim an abandoned vehicle. Since this is on a private lot, if the owner wants it gone they have to call a junkyard / towing company.

      The papers under the wipers are just ads, nothing official.

      • Maybe the owner – lacking tools – simply tried to rip them off and failed at the rear one? Or maybe some kid simply tried to steal them. But it looks like some amateur who doesn’t know how to get and use and screwdriver.

        This reminds me of the time a friend and I tried as kids to steal in a small junk yard a Mercedes star from a grille of a Mercedes truck. It was a big star, it had a big nut (something like a 17 or even bigger, which was huge to us kids – the largest at our bikes used to be 13) and the friend had a fitting wrench with him. We both tried to unscrew the damned nut, but to no avail. The wrench wasn’t long enough and we hadn’t enough power as kids…

  2. One more thing: It has the remains of red tax stamp on the license plate. These tax stamps were last issued in 2011 (in 2012 they discontinued the tax stamps), and the color in 2011 was red, so the car probably was in Norway in 2011.

  3. I did some research, it was pretty easy to find the full plate number as we don’t have many letter series ending with an X. You were right about the engine – 250D. It’s a 1991. Car had its last vehicle inspection in september 2011 and is due for a new one in august of this year. More info here: http://bit.ly/10HvIRv

    • Thanks for the info! It will be interesting to see whether or not it shows up in August for its inspections – I doubt it.

      I forgot to mention this in the article but it is parked next to an airport. It’s not unheard of for folks to abandon their car at the airport before heading home. Any way to trace down who it’s registered to? Hell, if I could find the owner I’d probably offer to buy it.

    • Ha, wow, the wonders of technology. I sent him a message, I’ll keep you posted on whether or not I get an answer. It would be nice to get this car back on the road.

      • Cool – keep me posted! The question is how you would go about getting the car registered in France, you’d probably need to formally export it from Norway first?

      • I’m not sure how that works, I will look into it if I get a response from the owner. It will depend on whether or not it was driven from Norway (so no official papers), or whether it was shipped (so a declaration of sorts).

        Car’s still there, I just checked. It’s been sitting in the exact same spot for maybe six months.

      • I think you’d have to hand in your plates when you export a car – so it was probably driven down and just abandoned. Excited to see how this progresses!

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