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'86 W123 200, OM617 non-turbo, bastard 5-speed; '95 W202 C250 Diesel, OM605 non-turbo, 5-spd man
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4,228 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Greetings, all

I am a long-time member of the W123 community, and an almost-as-long-time member of the W202 community.

Now I am crashing you fine folks' party too!

Recently I lamented about the one that got away. Well, that car was bought by a speculator, who immediately offered the car for sale for twice what he had paid for it. Unfortunately for him, I had seen the car before, I have good technical knowledge of Mercs, and I knew what he had paid for the car. So I haggled him down a fair amount.

And here she is! By way of the UK, a base-specification 300SE with 5-speed manual transmission!



She has 405 000 km on the clock, which is a lot more than any of the cars I had purchased before. And she needs a lot of routine maintenance items to be done at once, which is far beyond my cash flow. The engine rubbers have collapsed, and the LHS engine shock has broken clean in two. The wheel shocks are also shot. She has four brand new tyres, which are a different size to the spare. So I won't be driving her any distance anytime soon. But then, the reason why I wanted this particular car is because

No sunroof


and no automatic transmission


Being a base specification, the interior is MB Tex rather than leather - an uncommon thing on South African W126s. But I'll be honest: while the general condition of the interior is amazing for its age, I am not a fan of the dark blue. I will swap it out for a cream or even palomino interior.

Also, she smells of tobacco. And I don't smoke.

But, hey,

No sunroof


and no automatic transmission


I am also a little conflicted about the paintwork. She has two small rust spots below the rear window. So I will have to have her painted not too far in the future. I am not sure I like the astral silver, because it is just so boring. But what colour to choose? W126s look great in smoke silver. But my W123 is already smoke silver. Diamond blue looks good too, but it is hard to see on the road and shows dirt quite easily. I would even consider white, or ivory. But my W202 is white, and while these cars look good in ivory, their true beauty shines through in metallic hues.

Then there's the wiring.

The radio plays through only the left front speaker. The "lights on" buzzer sounds when the lights are on and a door is opened, even while the engine is still running. And the outside temperature is a hot mess - it read 45.7°C while I was driving in the rain, and 51°C on a sunny day.

Also, there's the vacuum.

The one rear door doesn't lock. So I have to lock it manually, to great fanfare of the alarm system. The engine also starts with great difficulty, and idles very low - this and other W126 and W124 forums suggest that it is related to the engine vacuum system. She also doesn't feel quite like 138kW (185hp)

Still,

No sunroof


and no automatic transmission
 

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Moderator
1991 500SEC 50K mi. 1987 560SEC Now 153K mi. 2020
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4,423 Posts
Stick & NO sunroof!

Terrific initial writeup/pictorial on your newest acquisition.
Well done.

Please keep us posted man.

MBL
 

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Registered
2006 ML320 CDi, 3.0-litre Diesel 7G-Tronic
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276 Posts
I think you're nuts!

In the best possible way! :)

I had a 300SEL about 20 years ago, loved it. Auto, with sunroof... In 55°C summers. That was once a record 63°C in the shade.

But it had the interior blind and I didn't park it in the sun. :)
 

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Premium Member
87 Euro500HVSEC. 88 Euro 560HVSEC. 89 Euro 560HVSEL
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4,269 Posts
Razor wire & electric fence - assume that is standard where you are
Silver with black interior is fine and it just comes down to right wheel choice to make it all work
If changing colour then yes all options open on choice like MB 904 midnight Blue (dark blue as per my 560SEL) or MB 199 black-pearl or straight black MB 040
 

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'86 W123 200, OM617 non-turbo, bastard 5-speed; '95 W202 C250 Diesel, OM605 non-turbo, 5-spd man
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4,228 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Razor wire & electric fence - assume that is standard where you are
Common, yes, But not standard. We have been blessed with very few thefts and no violent attacks here in the countryside.

Silver with black interior is fine and it just comes down to right wheel choice to make it all work
If changing colour then yes all options open on choice like MB 904 midnight Blue (dark blue as per my 560SEL) or MB 199 black-pearl or straight black MB 040
Thank you for the suggestions, but black is not an option. (Except for the upper dashboard.)
 

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500SE AMG, E350 4matic, GL 450
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5,806 Posts
Nice looking group of Mercedes you have. I originally from Durban by way of Ladysmith but I have not lived in South Africa for more than 30 years.
Love the manual transmission.
 

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Registered
1977 W116 450SEL and 1988 W126 560SEC
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447 Posts
Very nice, happy to see that the one you were chasing found its way into your collection. You have alot of work ahead, but it's going to be worth it in the end. Talk about a rare spec, eh? I can't imagine there are too many RHD 5 speed 300SEs out there (sunroof or not :p ). MB Tex tends to hold very good over time, much better than leather so I would say that is an advantage.

BTW post some pics of the 123!
 

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Registered
1985 MB 500sel (Euro)
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249 Posts
green with envy over the stick shift. glad you found it. Now the important question, never having had my hands on one, how good does it feel. As good as an XK-150 was or an early Vette?
 

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Registered
'86 W123 200, OM617 non-turbo, bastard 5-speed; '95 W202 C250 Diesel, OM605 non-turbo, 5-spd man
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4,228 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Not at the moment. During the drive from the stealership, I tried selecting 5th, but never went fast enough to justify it. The engine feels a lot happier between 3000 and 4000 RPM, which is 4th gear territory. She also doesn't hold reverse, because the centre console wood panel had been removed by a "professional" (read "someone who gets paid to f&ck up worse than you would have yourself...) and now interferes with the shifter.

Like the W124, and my W123, the throw is long and doesn't inspire confidence. I might change both of those shifters to the crisper W202 type. But the clutch is feather-light, and I have to check the engine tach to convince myself the clutch has disengaged.

I must also add that the seat is slightly low and soft, creating an awkward driving position for me.

Still, driving a crappy manual is much more fun than getting chauffeured by a perfect auto.
 

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Outstanding Contributor
1989 560SEC, 1989 560SEL, 1995 E420
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4,189 Posts
PlaneCrazy, so excited for you! That sounds like a wonderful car and it will be fun to share in your progress if you care to share.

Color? I find the silver a little boring, too. Our SEC is Smoke Silver but our SEL is Desert Taupe. I find the Desert Taupe to be very rich looking and elegant on the four-door, more so than Smoke. I've seen both cars with the opposite colors and really think the Smoke is for the coupe and Desert for the four-door.

I'm working on a seat repair right now which may come in handy for you eventually. I'll be providing some pics.
 

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'86 W123 200, OM617 non-turbo, bastard 5-speed; '95 W202 C250 Diesel, OM605 non-turbo, 5-spd man
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4,228 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks, Mike

Concerning the seats, my first car, a W123, had her seats nicely stuffed a while before she was irreparably T-boned. I still have that car on jackstands, so my idea is to swap seat covers from the W126 onto the W123's front seats and install those in my W126.

If the covers prove too tricky to remove, I'll swap the driver's seat and pull over a sheepskin cover. Who cares if she looks like a clown car for a while? Safety first.
 

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Registered
'86 W123 200, OM617 non-turbo, bastard 5-speed; '95 W202 C250 Diesel, OM605 non-turbo, 5-spd man
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4,228 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Feel free to make me an offer.
 

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2006 ML320 CDi, 3.0-litre Diesel 7G-Tronic
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276 Posts
Well... I still think you're nuts! ;)

But I'm very interested in following your progress, it sounds to be a labour of love and that's always worth praising.

I hope it goes reasonably well bud.

By the way, are there still drag races on the street in Joburg, or is it too dangerous there now as some media reports told?

.

.
 

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W201, W212, W221, & W222 Moderator
'84 Euro 500SE, '85 Euro 2.3-16, '51 Euro 170S, '97 Jeep Wrangler Sport, '15 G63 AMG
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8,478 Posts
I love everything about it.
 

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1986 560SL 1986 420 SEL
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117 Posts
I keep forgetting that I have a sunroof. Agree they are useless.

Stick shift! Daymn I like that.

Black is the only color to go to.

But do all cars south of the equator have the steering wheel on the wrong side?

Enjoy
 

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'86 W123 200, OM617 non-turbo, bastard 5-speed; '95 W202 C250 Diesel, OM605 non-turbo, 5-spd man
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4,228 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
But do all cars south of the equator have the steering wheel on the wrong side?
Not sure how that panned out but i will blame the Poms influence for the global evolution of RHD cars into certain countries - haha
Actually, ALL cars used to be RHD.







Why you guys went and changed to the obviously wrong side is a mystery:D
 

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'86 W123 200, OM617 non-turbo, bastard 5-speed; '95 W202 C250 Diesel, OM605 non-turbo, 5-spd man
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4,228 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Let's just all agree that the best cars are German.
 
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