Why buyers are switching on to the Mercedes W123
Why is interest in W123s so strong?
They represent the end of a line where engineers were in charge. After the war Mercedes-Benz turned its attention to research and development and safety, using the technology they had developed earlier. Unlike Jaguars or Rovers, they’re world cars, and when W123 production ceased (there was a waiting list right up to the end) the company’s ethos changed towards making more cars.
Who buys W123s today?
Older people who used to own one when they were new and younger buyers who see them as a classic. Coupés can go for up to £40,000 but they hold their value. They’re seen as a design icon, so we’ve started to import cars from South Africa.
Are they backed by the legendary Mercedes-Benz spares support?
Parts supply is not as good as it used to be. In the last 12-18 months some parts, such as door and window seals, and especially for estates and coupés, have been deleted.
What sort of work do you do?
We do anything, from servicing to restoration, and we look after cars in areas as disparate as Swansea and Kathmandu. The King of Nepal had a W123 and we sent the car’s next owner a high-altitude carburettor.
When it comes to restoration, do people tend to favour just the 250 and 280 models?
I started the Mercedes-Benz Club UK’s W123 section 15 years ago and as their values started to increase people increasingly wanted to restore them, I founded W123 World ten years ago.
We’re working on three cars at the moment and have recently completed a 200T (estate) at a cost of around £26,000. The 280E was always the most expensive car simply because it was the best-equipped, but that means there is more to go wrong. Like a Dualit toaster, a W123 can be repaired, especially as it doesn’t have the electronics of modern cars.
Is it ever worth buying a restoration project?
There are a lot of very cheap cars out there but many of them simply aren’t saveable. Projects tend not to be wanted unless they’re to be broken up to keep other models going – as ever, it’s a case of always buying the best car you can.
‘They represent the end of a line where engineers were in charge’