When Mercedes-Benz introduced the W123 in 1976 at a price they felt was reasonable for the best or nothing, it was a hit. People wanted to buy these cars so much,there was a one-year waiting list, with slightly used cars selling for more than sticker price on the secondhand market.
The range-topping 280CE coupé cost as much as a three bedroom house back in 1977,but it also packed a fuel-injected engine with more power than a base Porsche911. Not that 175 horses could make this massively over-engineered rolling fortress feel like a proper sports car, but there’s a reason why these cars were successful as Group 2 racers at the world’s longest and most demanding rally, the 30,000 mile, 30-day London-Sydney Marathon.
Today,these Mercs are high on classic car enthusiasts’ lists, mostly because W123sdon’t feel like any other car of the late seventies. They look great, drive well, and if properly maintained, they won’t leave you stranded. The difference is, with a W123, that process doesn’t include a complete restoration on day two of the ownership. Try that with any Italian or British alternative.