ENGINE 3005cc/4-cyl/OHC POWER 125bhp@4350rpm TORQUE 181lb ft@2400rpm MAXIMUM SPEED 103mph 0-60MPH 13.2sec FUEL CONSUMPTION 29-37mpg TRANSMISSION RWD, four-speed auto MoT 12 months from sale ODOMETER 71,275 miles
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? This recent Californian import is powered by gutsy turbo diesel engine not originally offered in the UK. The slightly fumy exhaust didn’t clear much as the car warmed up during our drive, but the engine delivers bags of torque and shows strong oil pressure. The automatic gearbox shifts ratios perfectly (if not always smoothly), the car tracks and brakes straight and true, and there are no worrying vibrations or noises. BODYWORK CHECK It’s certainly patinated, but there’s no external corrosion or dents – just small dings in the offside rear door, a deeper scratch on the bonnet, a few gentle scuffs and chips dotted around the bodywork and fading on the roof. A respray would improve matters, but destroy the car’s original feel. The tyres are matching 14-inch Nankang 195/70s, but a few cracks suggest that they’re probably nearing the end of their life. The wheels are in fair condition, with only surface scratches and no major kerbing. All the chrome trim is present and correct, the lamps are clear and undamaged and the door seals appear to be original and seal correctly. HOW’S THE INTERIOR? The blue MB-Tex trim is in mostly fantastic condition, with smart seats that are free from rips and tears; there’s just a small surface crack on the driver’s seat. The glovebox lid wood trim needs a touch of glue, but the lower dash is fine and retains its original radio/ cassette player. A previous owner has tried to protect the dashboard top from the Californian sun with a removable fitted carpet, but it’s still cracked – though you’d never know with the mat in place. The electric sunroof, air conditioning and electric radio aerial work as they should, though the rear electric windows are a bit creaky. The boot lining is clean and undamaged. UNDER THE BONNET There’s a small amount of corrosion around the battery tray, but no obvious oil, coolant or hydraulic fluid leaks, and the cables and pipework are all in decent order. The car comes with some accompanying original US documentation, but no other service history. The vendor is currently servicing the car in preparation for its sale, though an independent inspection of the car’s underside on a ramp would be advisable. THE CCW VIEW This is a rare opportunity to acquire a very solid California import W123 with an unusual (in the UK) engine, offering a rewarding drive and a guaranteed talking point at shows. If you prefer your classics to be solid and patinated rather than gleaming restorations, this will be right up your Strasse.