In­creas­ing de­mand

Why buy­ers are switch­ing on to the Mercedes W123

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling - MARK COSOVICH W123 WORLD

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’

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