Most people, even people who like cars, would be surprised to know that Mercedes Benz has not only associated itself with one, but two third-rank American automobile manufacturers. From 1957 to 1963, Mercedes cars (including the legendary 300SL) were sold and serviced by Studebaker-Packard. Shortly after Mercedes struck out on its own in the US market, Studekard was acquired by AMC. And from 1998 to 2007, Daimler Benz merged with Chrysler, but the expected financial benefits of the merger never materialized. Daimler Benz sold Chrysler to Cerberus, who fumbled around with it for a couple of years before selling to Fiat. What’s the significance of all that? Well, today’s car is from the 35 in-between years. And while it would be funny to call them the awkward in-between years, there’s not much that’s awkward about the handsome, though conservative, W114 series of sedans. Check out this 1969 Mercedes 230 for sale for $2000 in Snoqualmie, WA.
For a mere $2000, this is a lot of car. Given the overwrought, trying-too-hard styling of today’s Mercedes cars, looking back at this car is like a breath of fresh mountain air. One square grill, one smooth line of a bumper, two round headlights and two orange rectangular indicators make up the face. No ovals, chrome strips, fancy LED lighting, or any other cluttered visual effects. White seems to work to this car’s advantage, making the design look especially clean. It also makes it easy to spot the surface rust on the lower fascia panel.
The car is said to run and drive well, but to be in need of some attention. This probably includes the hacked door panels and seemingly mildewed seats. Is that rust or dirt on the rocker? What you can see is a complete interior in reasonably good shape, and more significantly, a lever to control the 4-speed manual transmission. That will help you make the most of the oversquare M130 engine’s 120hp and 136 lb.-ft. of torque, even if the shifting experience is not the greatest.
From this side, you can see what looks like some rust at the door bottoms and 230 insignia. If the rust is as limited as it seems, it might be a good way to save money on an otherwise straight and good condition car that harks back to when Mercedes was either a purer expression of an engineer’s car, or so austere it’s hard to comprehend how these evolved into today’s luxury cars with 30 airbags and 20-way power seats. It’s hard to understand why the seller didn’t at least snap one shot of the engine, but the rest of the car looks like it could be a fun driver – is it worth the risk for a mere two grand?