The Mercedes Benz W124 series was the most successful car range in the company's entire history. Today the 124 range is appreciated not only for it's design & engineering excellence but also for it's longevity & continued practicality.
According to Mercedes online info a total of 2,562,143 units of the 124 series (of all variations) were manufactured during just over 11 years in production. Of these, only 13,768 were manufactured as E320 coupe models (built from end of 1992 to early 1996).
Of these less than 850 cars were final-production facelift examples with 5 speed transmissions. Of these, only a small proportion (We'd estimate around 150) were built in RHD. Of those, only a handful came to Japan as RHD's (E320 coupes in Japan were nearly always supplied as LHD for reasons explained further below).
Exact production figures for the E320 Coupe Facelift model would be available from Mercedes Benz heritage - but we trust these easily found online figures can illustrate what you're looking at is a VERY rare example of an E320 coupe.
Most importantly, this is an example that's never seen salt, nor been subjected to the usual rigors of use on European roads. Condition of this E320 coupe is so good, perhaps it should be in a museum & never be driven again - but to not enjoy a fine car such as this would be a terrible waste of one of MB's best vehicle experiences.
With so many W124's in total produced & with vault-like build quality, many are still in use today on each of the world's continents. Some have lived their entire lives as taxis covering huge mileages, some are driving on European, Asian, African pot holed roads, or even in war zones in the middle east. Sadly, the majority of those in colder European climates can have quite serious chassis rust, whilst most have battle scars from having covered such high mileages, though they soldier on regardless. In spite of the typical ravages a W124 must face, 100's of thousands remain firmly in use on roads worldwide today with a strong following. Virtually all parts are available from MB and other pattern parts brands & like it's predecessor the 123, this will be a car that will remain well supported by MB for decades yet.
We have chosen W124's as our own primary cars both in Japan & UK (Modified & standard 300D Turbos). From years of ownership, maintenance, modification & sales - We understand these cars well. If properly looked after and maintained they're although finding such examples is easier said than done (& has become ever more difficult). Fortunately finding the best cars is a typical challenge we relish.
The attention to detail & quality MB put into the final spec. W124 coupe design should be an inspiration to car designers today. Unfortunately these 124's were so good many owners didn't replace them, so in the early 90's MB had to reduce its quality and things begun to go downhill from the next E class models...
Corrosion resistance was generally excellent on W124's but eventually everything gives in to punishment.
Examples that have been on UK roads all of their lives have usually 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 electrolytic mixture finds itself mixed with moisture resulting from use during typical seasonal weather in the UK, which leads to rust.
By contrast, in Japan cars don't corrode in the same was as in UK.
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 & for this reason, this example is completely rust free. For someone wanting only the very best example available & none of the usual rubbish in the UK, it'll be hard to beat this E320 Coupe.
This is the final best performing spec. of 124 produced & this particular example is loaded with nearly every option we've ever seen on a non-V8 W124.
This E320 Limited Coupe was owned by one mature non-smoker who, judging by the car's amazing condition & Osaka number plate(s), clearly appreciated the virtues of a W124.
Extensive list of equipment includes: Full blue leather incl. electric front seats, automatic seatbelt arm (to save front seat occupants needing to reach back to get the buckle), remote central locking, electrically heated door mirrors with electric adjustment for both sides (w/ usual larger size reduced blind-spot passenger mirror), Electric sunroof, Cruise Control, electrically adjustable steering column, Dual temp. control A/C, Original option high power speaker system incl. front door woofers & rear door mounted speakers (Head unit is a Carrozzeria high quality CD/Radio iPhone compatible head-unit complete with remote controlled 12 Disc CD changer), Dual SRS Airbags for front seat occupants, Leather steering wheel, pristine mahogany veneer trim on doors, dash & centre console, centrally located lockable storage box, original option fitted floor mat set, 4 electric windows with unique rear quarter glass movement, first aid kit, large chrome sill plates, courtesy lights, factory privacy glass for rear, etc. Remote pneumatic central locking, etc.
Design: Many features demonstrate how much thought & attention went into the design of the unique W124 coupe to make it practical, reliable and easily usability. For example, the rear glass features fine filaments that are barely visible to the eye - this didn't feature on other models except some E500s. The movement of the rear quarter's electric windows is novel and with the large sunroof opened and all the windows down, it feels like a convertible with built-in shaded areas for occupants than a saloon or even a coupe. When occupants get into the front & close the door, a motor in the quarter panel quietly whirrs and brings the seat belt buckle beside, for ease of access - before retracting quietly again. In the even the door is opened whilst it's operating, it cancels the operation and retracts early. Effective form & function to the smallest detail.
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 & be locked into position completely upright, to 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... !
The 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.
Detailed condition report & observations that follows is from notes we took whilst checking the entire car over for 2 days during preparation for our stock:
Interior: The interior smells good and (from the interior & exterior condition) has clearly been kept garaged and in a city all of its life when not in use. Note the boot area's first aid kit, emergency torch and tool kit are complete & unused. 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 with a reassuring solid thud. Leather is in excellent soft & supple condition. Floor mats are in good condition - almost like new and even the boot area looks as if it's barely been used. The wood veneers on the centre console are all in original condition with no cracking, fading or delamination & door trim mahogany veneers are all without cracks too. All electric seat adjustments work perfectly & silently, incl. head rest height, etc.
It has never been smoked in. Ashtray & cigar lighter are still as new as the day this Benz left the factory, headed for Japan.
We could only find minor creasing to the edge of the driver's upright bolster. If desired, we can get this refinished in UK. It's inexpensive to have small sections of leather restored to new condition by a good leather / upholstery specialist.
Being a Japan spec. car please note the speedometer displays in km/h only. As part of our preparation work in the UK we'll be fitting a dual range (MPH & KM/H) speedometer face for the new owner.
Bodywork as pictures show is excellent. Paintwork is beautifully preserved and we note a lack of stone chips or fading as is common to the side panels, or most of the bodywork incl. the bonnet (indicating this car's been driven slowly).
Note there are ZERO pin dents to be found on any of the bodywork, nor any swirl marks. From experience, we can tell this car's always been professionally cared for. The paint is of similar quality as an expensive hand-built luxury car's.
It really is that good. Our pictures although showing a beautiful car, won't do it the justice it'll quietly display when viewed with ones own eyes.
There's some small stone chips on the underside of the front bumper (less than would normally be expected of a car of this age & mileage) & a paint chipped corner of the rear bumper (See pictures on our website's slide-show).
As part of our attention to details, when it arrives to the UK, both bumpers are to be removed carefully, dismantled and repaired then repainted to perfect paint match before carefully re-assembling so it all fits perfectly & without faults.
These intended improvements to the car's presentability are mentioned to give a complete report and illustrate the attention to detail we put into completing our cars.
Wheels: Note also the complete lack of corrosion to any of the original wheels. We noted some minor marks & scratches to some of the wheel edges, but otherwise the alloys are in beautiful original condition with no corrosion, which is testament to the care that's been taken with this car. We will be having the wheel edges re-finished so they're near new on condition when the car's finally presented. See original condition pictures on our website's slide show.
Note also door mirror's rubber boots are both without cracking and ageing, which is usual normal wear & tear on W124's - they all have this, when these parts are still factory original.... NOT this one!
Every sign shows it's been garaged since new and driven only on special occasions.
Underneath there's no rust to be found on the chassis either. Even the exhaust is still the factory original, with plenty of life in it yet.
If you compare condition of this E320 Coupe with a car that's been in Europe all it's life, you'll probably be shocked as the difference.
Engine bay has no corrosion at all, anywhere. Looking inside through the oil filler cap, we could see camshafts are still like new with no crystalised oil deposits, which confirms it's had very regular oil changes with synthetic oil throughout it's life in Japan and the engine is barely worn. Last oil change was less than 1,000km ago (See picture of the sticker on driver's B-Pilar).
Signs show this car's been driven slowly and done mostly motorway kms (legal limit is 100 km/h in Japan). We checked and note the engine loom is still soft and pliable, which helps confirm the car hasn't sat in traffic most of it's life. The M104 engine has proven itself as reliable & is known to run without trouble to 500,000km, if properly maintained as it has been to date.
Test Drive: Needing a car for carrying a family with 2 young children, we drove this Coupe into Tokyo & back one Sunday, twice. A total of around 300km of driving on country roads & motorways. We found no faults at all with it. Everything worked perfectly & smoothly with oiled precision. 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. Despite this being one of the last W124 coupe models produced 21 years ago, this example's integrity means it still drives better & will without doubt last a lot longer than most modern equivalents today.
The 3.2 L (3199 cc) 24 valve M104 engine produces 220 hp (162 kW) at 5500 rpm and 310 N·m (229 ft·lbf) at 3750 rpm. For this twin cam design, to improve on prior 3 litre models MB developed the variable inlet camshaft system to boost gas flow at low to medium speeds to maximize low end torque, without losing performance at higher engine speeds. The result was impeccable performance which to this day still works perfectly. Weighing only 1,510kg the M104 engine can propel this 7 seater wagon to around 145 mph with sensible or brisk performance as desired. The engine purrs quietly & smoothly at idle, almost making itself imperceptible. Transmission is creamy smooth and takes up well. The much refined 5-speed gearbox fitted to the last coupes works perfectly. Brakes are reassuringly good (4 pot ATE calipers & 294 x 25mm vented discs front / opposing 2 piston rear calipers with 278 x 9 mm solid discs rear). For this model anti-roll bars were made larger (Same size as Convertible E320's), meaning body roll was minimised, offering good handling by way of the excellent 5-link rear suspension that was introduced in the 124 series and continued for several subsequent replacement series.
This example was supplied new in 1995 (June) by Yanase, Japan - official MB Importers and is therefore not a grey import that came from Japan as a used car from Germany, hence why it's never seen salt.
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 much daily & diligent daily searching. When sourcing to order or for our stock we only select top condition with the best spec. possible. With this car being intended for sale in the UK market it had to be RHD and this is why it took us 2 years to find.
Having made a name for ourselves over the last couple of years as the best W124 specialists & known for supplying the very best hand-picked examples from Japan, we've been asked countless times for good RHD coupes.
This example is the first coupe we've managed to find for our stock & not for a lack of trying to find such cars.
As knowledgeable enthusiasts for these, knowing the strong prices of the best low mileage examples in Europe are fetching (which aren't as good as this, realistically) we're tempted to keep this one for ourselves, but lack of space prevails.
With it's timeless elegance, rarity & condition, this E320 Coupe will make an excellent investment for someone who has been searching for a long time and until now has been unable to unearth the very best preserved RHD example.
This unique Mercedes W124 E320 Coupe Limited represents a top opportunity to acquire an appreciating classic of best available condition & spec. When it reaches the UK it'll have another full specialist check-over, extensive service and a new MOT, as well as repairs to the small bumper faults described & shown on pictures, so it's fully ready to be fully enjoyed by it's new owner.
This E320 Coupe has now arrived, preparation has been completed (wheels refurbished, minor paintwork repairs completed as described along with the usual full service, etc) & has been UK registered. Available for viewing by appointment.
Price: £16,795. includes 12 months comprehensive warranty, new MOT & UK registration. Contact us for further details of how to reserve this unique example.
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.