M110 Plus Manual – 1979 Mercedes 280E

Mercedes’ W123 series of cars has received many compliments over the years: safe, solid, heirloom car, and so forth. But nobody who’s ever been behind the wheel of a BMW or a Saab turbo would call it sporty. So what to do if you appreciate the qualities of the W123, but find it to be just a bit, well, slow? Well, forget the naturally aspirated diesels, with their two-digit horsepower numbers, and the price-inflated eco-hipster, bio-diesel conversion favorite, the 300D Turbodiesel. Check out this 1979 Mercedes 280E for sale for $2100 in Vancouver, WA.

1979 Mercedes 280E right front

This metallic brown actually works pretty well on the car, though it’s not clear that’s the original paint color. Unfortunately, it’s hard to judge the condition of the paint, since the foggy weather in the pictures means there’s probably a good layer of condensation on the horizontal surfaces. That said, the body looks straight, as do the Euro-spec bumpers on this car. A couple of the bundt wheels do appear to be missing their center caps, and it’s unfortunate that classic Ronal R9/AMG Penta wheels are fairly pricey, since this would be a great opportunity to upgrade. The bundts are actually pretty cool, but they’re so ubiquitous they’re not really special – perhaps a wider set of bundts (typically 15″ diameter), or the custom-made 3-piece versions would do the trick. Note this car was probably federalized as it’s got US-spec headlights and a mph speedometer.

1979 Mercedes 280E left rear

Things look pretty good in the back too, with only one concern – bodyshops typically mis-locate badging, and the 280E badge should be closer to the left side of the trunk lid. It’s possible the lid was replaced by itself, or the badge needed replacing in the course of a paint job, but you’ll want to look closely at the structure to make sure everything is okay. A little lip spoiler would look pretty sweet, especially if you appreciate the W123 cars modified by AMG.

1979 Mercedes 280E rear interior

So it’s definitely a former Euro-spec car, as it’s got these handsome cloth seats. Unfortunately, the fronts are hidden under covers – with only 152,000 miles, one wouldn’t expect the seats to need covering, so hopefully they’re just on there for protection. Note the clean state of the seats, and the manual window cranks – one less thing to break!

1979 Mercedes 280E interior

And here’s the piece de resistance. We already know the car is a Euro-spec 280E, hopefully retaining its original engine and 43 additional horsepower (185hp vs. 142hp in the NA-spec car), but it’s also a manual. Now, you might be thinking, who is this boy-racer? Mercedes are better suited to automatics. And while that’s generally true, it is nice to have control over how that power is applied, and the manual transmission gives you that. Other than a good vacuuming, the interior looks like it’s still in great shape, so if a 535is is just too high-strung for you, or you’re worried about the transaxle in that 900 turbo, and you’re not afraid of the M110 six, why not check out this car?


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3 Responses to “M110 Plus Manual – 1979 Mercedes 280E”

  1. L'Ornithorynque Says:

    Solide, fiable et inusable W123.

  2. Tirefriar Says:

    One reason for me not to check it is that’s post ’75 car so no smog exemption in California.

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