Quick, think of an oddball Mercedes! What’s the first thing that comes to mind? The R-class cross-over? The pre-war W23, W28 and W30 with their rear-mounted four-cylinder engines? The Unimog? Well, yes, those are all rather odd cars. But how about throwing in W123 into that question? Most people will think of the slow diesel-powered sedans, but you’re not most people, so you’ll know that from 1977-1978 in the North American market, you could get your W123 sedan powered by the 2.3-liter, four-cylinder M115 engine. Putting out 93hp and 125 lb.-ft. of torque, it’ll leave everything but the 280E and post-1980 300TD in the dust. Check out this 1977 Mercedes 230 for sale for $2000 in Portland, OR.
Though a high-mile car (aren’t they all?) boasting 268,550 mostly-highway miles, it’s said to have a full deck of maintenance records showing recent work like an engine rebuild, brake replacement, and exhaust system work, after which it was driven very little. Unfortunately, it sustained a minor parking lot hit and the driver’s side tail light and trunk will need repair. Fortunately, W123 trim is not thin on the ground, so if you’re lucky it won’t take much to sort that out, though it’s too bad the seller doesn’t include a picture of the damage.
Sure, it needs a bit of a wash and a cut & polish, as well as a new hood ornament – that last one probably sacrificed to a 1980s wannabe rapper for his gold chain. Little do his friends know he got it off the cheapest Mercedes available that year. Incidentally, the engine on this is carbureted (witness the missing “E” from the model designation), so in addition to having a two-year-only car, you’ll be able to say you have the last carbureted Mercedes sold in the US. Whee!
The interior looks pretty decent, confirming the claim that this was mostly used for commuting. The steering wheel surface is indicative of the high miles, so you can expect some issues with the seats, though that MBTex material is pretty tough. There’s a lot of talk of the durability of the diesel W123s, but could you live with a smog-era carb and likely worse fuel mileage in exchange for some proper power and a little less smoke?