The Mercedes Benz W124 series was the most successful car range in the company's entire history and today the 124 range is appreciated not only for it's design & engineering excellence but also for it's longevity & continued practicality. A total of 2,737,860 units of the 124 series were manufactured during just over 11 years in production.
The 300D Turbo was The OM603.960 3-litre 6-cylinder Turbo Diesel engine was a gem, as one of the first performance Diesels produced by Mercedes, designed to offer the same levels of comfort and similar performance to equivalent sized Petrol engines from their range. Offering quiet performance whilst cruising, performance from this engine was very good with 147 bhp and 273 Nm of torque @ 2,400rpm. Coupled with a bullet proof 4-speed Automatic, these 300D Turbo models became known for their amazing ability to cover high mileages.
These 3L Turbo Diesel engines have proven their worth in taxis throughout Germany. There was one example in MB's museum which had achieved over 4,000,000km on it's original engine.
Unfortunately the design of the Turbo's manifold and exhaust down pipe routing meant that the 300D Turbo could only be made in LHD.
RHD countries such as the UK had to make do with non-turbo Diesel versions (109 bhp / 191 Nm @ 3,000 rpm approx.) as a result.
The majority of 300D Turbo W124's were sold in Germany, Scandinavian countries and Japan. Some early 300D Turbo examples were supplied in the U.S. but most were the lesser 5Cyl OM602.962 engined 250D Turbo examples. A total of only 38,908 3 Litre Turbo Diesel W124's were produced.
With this many W124 models of all guises produced, beingcars that last so well, some high-mileage 300D Turbo examples are still in use today, especially in Germany where some have lived their entire lives as taxis covering huge mileages. With so many still alive, virtually all parts remain available from MB and other pattern parts brands. Like it's predecessor the 123, this will be a car that remains well supported by MB for decades yet. Enthusiasm for these cars remains strong worldwide for all the right reasons. The last time we counted there were over 8 Benz communities online with a strong interest in 124's.
We ourselves also choose a W124 as our primary car in Japan (A modified 300D Turbo) and the reason is simple. We understand these cars well and are aware that if properly looked after and maintained, this car can provide an excellent driving experience for ourselves & family for decades yet to come. Choosing a car that won't have to be replaced for 10-20 years is a wise choice and will save money in the end too, but finding such an example is easier said than done. That's often the main challenge for us.
Corrosion resistance is generally excellent, but examples that have been on UK & European roads all of their lives will already have been subject to 2 decades or more of annual winter salt, mud & sand as a layer that tends to build up over the years attaching itself to the underside, arches, exhaust, engine bay, etc. This mixture often finds itself mixed with moisture resulting from use in typical weather in the UK. All combined this makes an effective electrolytic substance which is the cause of rust & other problems associated with corrosion.
As these Turbo Diesel examples were generally used as reliable workhorses on a daily basis, the vast majority in Europe & Scandinavia have suffered from rust & abuse after having been used for high mileages often with very little maintenance.
By contrast, in Japan cars don't corrode in the same way as in UK & Europe. It shocks people when they see how corrosion free a well chosen can from Japan can actually be... Such as this 300D Turbo, for example!
In Japan salt isn't used on plains areas, only in the higher altitudes (mountains areas, etc). where people rarely go during winter due to difficult driving conditions and so even there, salt is rare. Japan's roads are well drained and protected from debris falling onto them since there are frequent earthquakes and typhoon rains can also occur. This means mud, etc. isn't to be found on roads, unlike the UK and for this reason, this example is completely rust free. For someone wanting the very best example available, it'll be hard to beat this one.
The attention to detail & quality MB put into the final spec. W124 design should be an inspiration to car designers today. Unfortunately these 124's were so good owners didn't replace them, so MB had to reduce its quality and things begun to go downhill from the next E class models...
This 300D Turbo was supplied new in Japan and has been owned since new by a mature non-smoker who, judging by the car's amazing condition & Kyoto number plate(s), clearly appreciated the virtues of a W124 Turbo Diesel.
Original equipment includes: Cloth seats, factory tinted glass, electrically heated door mirrors with remote adjustment for both sides (w/ usual larger size reduced blind-spot passenger mirror), Cruise Control, Central Locking (pneumatic), Remote controlled rear head restraints, Dual temp. control A/C, Original option head unit & speakers), Leather steering wheel with unmarked & perfect condition wood veneers to match the rest of the interior, Yanase original option floor mats (Carpets still factory fresh beneath). The ashtrays have never been used since new. This car smells good and (from the interior & exterior condition) has obviously been kept garaged and in a city most of its life when not in use.
Note the first aid kit, warning triangle and spare + tool kit are complete & unused and the carpet in the boot is still unmarked and as new too. Amazing for a car of this age! Doors shut as effortlessly as the day the car left the factory and sound like a high quality fridge closing - no rattles, just a reassuring solid thud.
Design: Having worked on many 124's over the years including our own, we see many design considerations that contribute to the overall integrity of these. Everything from how the bonnet can open completely upright, to the the ease of ability to maintain & change parts, there's very little that goes wrong with these and that's testament to the integrity of the original design by MB.
Some owners of various MB's have said the 124 has what may be the best design of all for a Mercedes dashboard. It's elegance and ease of use, clear instrumentation with excellent lighting, quality of switches, cold air vent in the centre (helps avoid drowsiness in warm cabins), simple yet effective cruise control, speakers integrated invisibly by the A-pillars, simple A/C controls & illuminated vents. Visibility is excellent too and despite the headlights being Halogen filament type, they give excellent lighting and include pneumatic (as opposed to electronic!) headlight level adjustment. There are few electronics in these, which is largely why the 124 isn't known to have electrical problems not uncommonly experienced on later models. If an exterior bulb fails, an orange light on the dash will illuminate to warn the driver. This is controlled through a resistance sensor, again - not by un-necessary modern CANBUS data electronics that plague modern MB's not long after they run out of warranty. Mercedes felt the need to use electronics to switch on brake lights rather than a simple 12v circuit with thick wires, as a need to have OBD2 diagnosis, but these things have conspired to make physical wiring a lot thinner, which in turn can break, etc. You'd almost be forgiven for thinking they went this direction on purpose... !
Integrity of design of 124's included much attention to aerodynamics, but also especially with regard to sound insulation. The engine bay is separated from the interior by not just one, but 2 walls of steel. This insulates noise from the interior. Underneath the carpet there is thick foam molded into the contours of the reinforced floor and combined with high quality rubber seals that don't fail and large heavy duty rubber bushes & excellent suspension design all these combine to provide a quiet and relaxing ambience in which to travel. In our own 124 saloon here in Japan, we find ourselves arriving to a destination after a 7 hour drive - refreshed and not tired.
Mechanical Integrity is something we've come to really appreciate with the OM603.960 engine. Our's has never let us down and just starts in any weather, ready to drive whether it be 1/2 a km or 700 km non-stop). They're easy to maintain in every aspect and super durable. The fuel pump for example - is completely mechanical. No electronic sensors are there to break down, nor super-fine injectors to clog. We had one problem with Turbo boost control on our's.... Turned out to be some dirt that had gotten inside a micro-switch that operates the over-boost safety valve. Our has given us no problems at all in 5 years of daily use, though it has to be said, as our chosen weapon for daiy use - it gets maintained perfectly.
Engine oil capacity is a little over 8 litres. We find ours barely consumes any oil despite having covered over 280,000km.
It's clear to us this particular example's been maintained very well too. It's filters, glow plugs, etc. are all fairly new.
Interior Condition is near 100% perfect, as pictures clearly show. Cloth is in excellent shape with no significant wear, original carpets are unstained and even the boot area looks as if it's barely been used. There's only some minor wear to the driver's seat bolster, but we've recently found a solution for this, in finding a barely used passenger seat of the same trim from a RHD car in Japan. We will be transferrimg this replacement seat to ths car before shipping, so the interior will be like new throughout. The wood veneers throughout are all in original condition with no fading or delamination & door trim Zebrano veneers are all as new. All electric seats, windows, cruise, etc. are all working perfectly. Rear seats appear to have rarely been used.
Bodywork, as pictures show is excellent. It's clearly been stored indoors throughout it's life when not in use (registered in Kyoto, a wealthy region of Japan).
Paintwork is very well preserved and we note a lack of stone chips too (indicating this car's been driven slowly). Tyres are each new Goodyear Eco Stage 195/60R15 size and alloys are in original corrosion-free condition throughout. There is a minor edge scratch on the front o/s/f wheel (See picture) but essentially all original wheels are each still not far off new condition.
Zero Corrosion: Underneath there's no rust to be found at all and even the rear silencer is still the factory original still in solid condition with much of it's original factory protective paint still intact to this day.
Engine bay has no corrosion at all, anywhere either. Looking inside under the oil filler we can see there's absolutely no sediments of burnt oil on the camshafts, which confirms it's had very regular oil changes with throughout it's life in Japan and the engine is barely worn. Consider this engine as barely run-in, so far. It has a LONG life ahead.
Test Drive: The 3.0 L (2996 cc) 12 valve OM603.960 engine produces 147 bhp and 271 N·m at 2400 rpm. The result is impeccable performance which to this day still works perfectly. Weighing only 1,390kg the OM603.960 engine can propel this 5 seater saloon to around 125 mph with sensible or brisk performance as desired. The engine purrs quietly & smoothly at idle. Transmission is creamy smooth and takes up well. Note: This example is equipped (since new) with the bullet proof 4-speed automatic, not the known troublesome 5 speed Auto that some of the later models were equipped with.
As to be expected of a properly looked after example, it drives faultlessly & is one of those cars that will break motorway speed limits whilst purring quietly with the usual W124 sound proofing keeping the interior sedate & relaxing, in part due to the excellent sound deadening in the floor, lowest in period of class aerodynamics and the engine bay being separated from the cabin by two walls.
This example was supplied new in 1991 (March) by Yanase, Japan - official MB Importers and is therefore not a grey import that came from Japan as a used car from Germany.
With the best of these now appreciating, as there are so few left in this condition and with other W124 models such as convertibles & E500 models going up in value, it made sense to us that these too have begun to climb in desirability & value. For our stock we wanted an example with the lowest possible mileage, best spec. & top condition too. Being intended for sale in the UK market it had to be RHD. Most W124's of higher spec in Japan are LHD since this has been considered a status symbol since the end of WW2, so finding this particular car took a lot of diligent daily searching. Knowing 124's well, we've picked out this particular example as what we would want were we looking for the same car personally.
This unique Mercedes W124 300D Turbo represents a top opportunity to acquire a car connoisseur's classic of irreplaceable quality, in best possible condition.
Price: £9,995 - includes comprehensive warranty, new MOT & UK registration. Currently stored at our premises in Japan & ready to depart for the UK (Or elsewhere, worldwide).
Contact us for further details on how to reserve. For enquiries where the car would be shipped other than to UK, please ask about our FOB package.
Don't delay - It took us over a year to search for a 300D Turbo of this quality and there are people looking out for the best examples - even UK specialists in W124's don't usually offer this spec & condition combined. Once it's sold we expect it to take us another 6 months at least to find another as good as this.
Newera Imports - Established 1998. Premier source of the best hand picked specialist cars from Japan. As recommended by Import magazines, car clubs and enthusiast owners.