1981 Mercedes-Benz W123 280E – Today’s Tempter

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

W123 Merc front W123 Merc front
W123 Merc rear W123 Merc rear
W123 Merc interior W123 Merc interior
W123 Merc interior rear W123 Merc interior rear
W123 Merc engine W123 Merc engine

After cheap useable classic? This Aussie-delivered W123 makes a strong case for itself

Mercedes-Benz has a history of world-class luxury saloons, but the W123 arguably represents the archetype of the three-pointed star’s reputation.

The range was expansive to say the least; with slew of four and six-cylinder petrol engines (both carburetted and injected), and four and five-cylinder diesels to choose from; there was seemingly an E-Class for every buyer, with coupes, saloon and wagon bodies to choose from.


These cars have a reputation for being able to run the odo past 1,000,000 kilometres with little mechanical issues; in an era where most competitors paid little attention to product longevity or safety.

Just 20 years earlier, Benz was hanging on by a thread: WW2 had seen Daimler factories suffer heavy bombing from Allied forces. A focus on superb engineering and unprecedented reliability was seen as the only way forward, and paid dividends in re-instilling a sense of brand identity and reputation.


Upon release, the waiting list for the W123 was over a year in most markets, and ultimately became the successful Mercedes-Benz model ever at the time, with 2.7 million units produced from 1976 to 1986; thanks to its unmatched attention to safety and quality.

For all its merits and panache – this generation of Benz remains remarkably affordable, and a smart buy for anyone after a useable weekend classic.


This Australian-delivered W123 saloon presents in top of the line 280E specification, with the 2.8lt inline-six and four-speed automatic transmission.

The car comes with full history since it was delivered to Mercedes Doncaster, and remains in superb and near-new condition.

This 280E is based in Melbourne and is listed for $8,499.

Check out the full listing here!


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