Look Ma, No Pillars! – 1977 Mercedes 230C

As proof that changing to two doors and removing the B-pillars can improve nearly any car, the W123 Mercedes works really well. The sedan version is nice-looking if conservative, and you could say the same for the wagon, but the coupe adds a touch of elegance and style to the otherwise functional design. And you still get all the great attributes of a W123 Mercedes, though its frameless, pillarless windows might give a little more wind noise than its siblings. Unfortunately, the majority of the coupes sold in the North American market came with the OM617 and OM617A 5-cylinder (“A” adds the turbo) engines that anyone would admit can be noisy, smoky, and also have ridiculous longevity. What if you wanted all the solidity without the diesel markup, and maybe you didn’t need a car that will do 300,000 miles between rebuilds? Check out this 1977 Mercedes 230C for sale for $2400 in Stevenson, WA.

197 Mercedes 230C right rear

Three cheers for a seller who knows how to shoot a car nicely. There’s likely no fancy camera work going on here, just placement of the car in a contrasting setting with decent light and a high-resolution camera, which at this point does include camera phones. He’s also left the windows down to emphasize one of the car’s best features. Can the car also play volleyball? You’ll never know unless you buy it. Everything looks straight and complete from this angle, but there’s more than you can see, as there are some spots where the rust worm has been having its lunch, namely behind the driver’s front wheel, at the drivers rear corner, and what looks like just in front of the rear passenger wheel.

197 Mercedes 230C left front

These cars just look so much better with the smoother European market lights and delicate bumpers, though you could certainly do worse than the federalization Mercedes did on these. The car is registered in Washington, but is said to have passed the Oregon emissions and VIN inspections last week. All features are manual, which is nice when your car is 38 years old. Barring the sunroof, everything sounds to be functional, and the seller has done much mechanical work on fuel, ignition, and brake systems. The engine’s 109hp won’t blow you away, but these are pretty sweet at freeway speeds, even if it takes you a while to get there.

1977 Mercedes 230C interior

The interior looks pretty nice, and this car doesn’t break the rule about blue dashboards cracking. Driver’s seat cloth is a little frayed, too, but with its legendary durability it would probably hold up several more years to occasional driver use. The seller offers a black dash with fewer cracks, but since blue dashes have gone more-or-less extinct in new cars (comment if you know of any new car with a non-beige/black/grey dash), it would be nice to keep that feature. The seller’s description reads like he honestly cared about the car and did his best by it, but it’s now time to move on and focus on his other projects.

197 Mercedes 230C engine

Sure enough, the engine looks as clean as you’d expect of a driver that’s had quite a bit of recent work. Originally delivered in Germany, it would be interesting to hear the story of how the car came here. It does have a replacement VIN assigned by the state of Washington, and while it’s titled as a 1979 model, the seller believes it to be a 1977 – perhaps the car was brought in on a one-time exemption, 2 years after it was first sold. If you have dry storage, this looks like a great Rusty But Trusty car – a little rust, but mechanically sorted, so if you have a spare garage spot (you do? do tell!), this might be the right thing with which to fill it.


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