Date registered: Jun 2003
Vehicle: 1991 300 SE
Location: Lakeland, Florida
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RE: W126 vs. W124
Itâ€™s not a coincidence the second gen 126 arrived the same time as the new â€˜mid sizeâ€™ 124. The 124s were equal to the 126 in engineering, technology, and build quality â€“ at least to 1991. The cars are virtually identical, the 126 was of course larger, heavier, and gave a more luxurious ride, DB was careful to make the 124 attractive to new buyers while at the same time not overshadow the S Class flagship. Thatâ€™s why no V8 124s were made while the 126 was still alive: V8 meant either an S or SL. (Thus no coincidence again the 400 E and 500 E debuted in 92.)
But the 124 was meant to be positioned below the 126 and 107, just above a 201: it replaced the 123 as the last of the classic workhorse MB accommodating a wagon, sedan, and coupe on its chassis. The engines were at first modest: various 103s, and the 603 and 602.
As an aside, the 124s were not known as â€˜E Classâ€™ during the 80s and early 90s; the â€˜Letter Classâ€™ thing did not start until the mid 90s (sadly) and the E Class designation became a retro label, if you will, for the earlier cars.
The last 124 was made in1995, our third â€˜non-coincidenceâ€™ in that starting in 1996 DB/DCX went downhill fast into the dark abyss of poor quality, tedious Japanese-like styling, and a confusing, mind numbing array of pseudo â€˜Classesâ€™ as meaningless as the tedious styling. It was indeed the last of the great MBs.