1985 Nautical Blue 300CD Introduction - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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1985 Nautical Blue 300CD Introduction

How did I come to be the owner of this 1985 300CD? Having owned a W201, 2 W124s and a W126 300SD I had read and heard so much about the W123 cars that I knew this would be the next Benz for me. I knew right from the start that it would have to be the coupe body style. I wanted something a bit more unique I guess and I really liked the lines of the coupe over the sedan, but I hadn't exclude the 280CE. My preference would be the turbo diesel variant, but condition would be the ultimate deciding factor. I searched Craigslist, Ebay, Bring a Trailer, Auto Trader Classic, Car Gurus, and everything in between. I am in New England and was concentrating on cars from the Southwest, California, the Northwest and anywhere rust would be less of an issue.

I soon learned the coupes weren't nearly as plentiful as the sedans and settled in for a long wait for just the right car. My budget wouldn't allow for a 20k plus car nor would I have to settle for a few thousand dollar car with lots of needs. I searched at least once a day for W123, 300CD, 280CE, etc and then one day I randomly searched Mercedes Diesel and up popped this car on Craigslist in Colorado Springs. It was in Colorado, so not as big of a rust issue, advertised as a two owner with 177,000 miles in Nautical Blue Metallic. The pictures did a horrible job of presenting the car, but my forensic eye spotted the telltale signs of a well cared for car that had lead an easy life. The Zebrano wood didn't show a single crack nor did the dash, the taillights weren't all faded and discolored, the switches inside showed little signs of the white markings being worn off from lots of use, the red hazard switch was still bright red, the leather seats weren't torn (except the top of the back seat), the chrome was pristine and shiny, and the engine bits still showed off their cadmium/anodized coating without corrosion. Even the decals on the front clip were present. I had a feeling this may be a hidden gem.

I Emailed the seller looking for more information on the condition of the car and things didn't get any easier. He didn't respond to Emails and then went out of town for a week not leaving me with a sense that he really cared if he sold the car. Finally we made contact via phone and I learned the car was originally purchased in Colorado Springs by a LTC in the Air Force. The seller, Barry, bought it on 08/01/1994 when it had just 31,817 miles on the odometer. Barry told me that the LTC stored the car when he was assigned overseas. Barry also told me it was always a third car for he and his wife and that it had always been garaged when not in use. I had a good feeling about the car and offered to pay his full asking price site unseen. I wired him the money and a deal was struck. He sent me the title and all the original owners manuals and to my surprise, even the original window sticker. I arraigned to have the car shipped from Colorado to Massachusetts. The car arrived on 7/3/2019 and was everything I expected and more.

The car will get a very thorough detailing inside, the paint will be hand washed, clay barred and a good coat of carnuba wax put on. All the fluids changed if nothing more than to establish a base-line and probably a new water pump, the hoses and belts look new. The suspension bits will get a good looking over and anything perished replaced. I'd also like to swap in an original Becker radio, but that is low on the priorities for now. The passenger's window doesn't like to go all the way down and I suspect the regulator piece that bends on these car is the culprit. I'll more than likely replace it with the OEM MB upgraded/reinforced ones if I can't reinforce it myself. While not inexpensive, what point is owning a pillar-less coupe if those rear windows don't function properly? And so begins my preservation of this great piece of automotive history.
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 06:14 PM
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Hello all, I just did a vacuum test on a w116 with about 300k miles and I noticed oil was coming out from the shut off valve. Does anyone know of this is normal or what it means?
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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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I am really amazed how clean the engine compartment is. I already have a new OEM coolant recovery tank that will be fitted. The rubber mounts for the air cleaner are all three broken, so those are on the way.
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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-04-2019, 12:46 AM
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That is a very nice find, definitely post more pictures when you can. I love that color too, and there probably aren't many w123 coupes wearing that color either. The interior is leather you say? Definitely post some pictures of the interior, and congratulations.
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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-04-2019, 06:36 AM
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Congratulations, that's a beautiful find in really great condition. My rear windows don't operate fully either, so that repair is on my to-do list. I'm guessing it's bent regulator parts also. The coupes are pretty rare, but I lucked out and found mine less than a mile from my office.
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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-04-2019, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
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According to Mercedes only 1291 coupes were brought into the US in 1985. Divide all of these by 26 different colors, 14 non metallic and 12 metallic, and depending on the color, one could have a 1 of a pretty low double digit number car. If MB made an equal number of cars in all 26 colors it would equate to a 1 of 50 car, but I am sure some colors were more popular than others, especially where the metallic were optional. On my original window sticker the metallic paint and leather option cost $1,083.00 1985 dollars.

My leather, while not bad isn't perfect. It needs a good cleaning and nourishment. There is a seam on the passenger's seat that I am hoping can be re-stitched. The back seat upper seams have come apart from the leather shrinking. It is carboard hard and not sure it can be nourished enough where the leather could be stretched and the seams sewn back together. In the end with the rest of the car as nice as it is I will probably spend the money and get new leather interior. I like MB-Tex, but where you can't get that anymore I may as well keep the car as it originally came from the factory.

The door panels are nice, I just wish they didn't all wrinkle like they do. Even the plastic pockets aren't broken. Again, these need a good cleaning.
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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-04-2019, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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The dash has two very small cracks starting. I'll buy a dash mat to hopefully slow the process. The wood is near perfect. I prefer the look of the burl walnut, but at just under $2,000 to have mine re-veneered I think I'll live with the Zebrano wood. I do need a new sunroof switch as well as two window switches to replace the worn out ones. They function just fine, just the paint is worn off. I'd buy a pair of aftermarket ones, but I am not sure which ones light up like the originals and which ones don't. If anyone knows please let me know.
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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-04-2019, 09:51 AM Thread Starter
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The first "mini" project was replacing the elastic cord on the seat back nets. $2.99 for some elastic bungy at my local craft store and they were good as new. There is no reason to ever have saggy net pockets. This is such an easy fix.
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-04-2019, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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The trunk is just as clean as under the hood.
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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-04-2019, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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Today the car got some initial fluids maintenance. Oil change with filter, transmission drain, including torque converter, new fluid and filter, power steering flush with new filter, fuel filters, air filter, coolant flush with new overflow tank. and all new fuses.
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