First of all, hello! My name is Christopher. I am a US based car enthusiast and I am relatively new here to CarThrottle. Personally, I feel that a good way to introduce myself to the community is to talk about my car; a 1985 Mercedes Benz 300D Turbo Diesel I got as a 17th birthday gift from my grandfather. Before I start, here is some background information: My father and I are both Mercedes enthusiats. He got me interested in these old cars many years ago. Since then, I have had such a deep appreciation for these old cars and I love them. My father has owned numerous Mercs, some good, some not so good and some were (unfortunately) awful. With the numerous models that have been in my father’s garage, the pre-2000 Mercs are by far my favorite.
As stupid as this may sound to non-car-guys, old Mercs will always have a special place in my heart. However, this car imparticular just brightens my mood everytime I go for a drive. Its such a charming car that is safe and looks great. It also reminds me of the past, back when you could actually fix your own car (like this one) with a set of wrenches and screwdrivers.
The interior of the car has manually operated leather seats that you can just sink into. The car also has new Bilstein shocks, which aren’t very stiff. Add those two factors to the stock 15” bundt wheels with large tires and you can barely feel anything on the road. Now, if this were a performance car, I would strip all that out in place of something more race worthy. Its not a performance car though, so I enjoy the comfort it currently holds.
3. Luxurious for it’s day, but it is still so simple:
Mercedes has been building luxury cars for decades. Over the years, the ‘luxury car’ has greatly evolved. To be honest, late model luxury cars of all brands (including Mercedes) don’t impress me. I honestly don’t like how overly complicated luxury cars are with options like massage seats and special computers that do all kinds of different things. This car, which was a relatively expensive luxury car back in it’s day provides all the ‘luxury’ I will ever need in any car. ‘Luxuries’ such as, leather seats, a stereo, a smooth ride, a wooden dashboard pieces and A/C are all I need to feel content with a car.
4. Other people like it:
Don’t mistaken me for someone who constantly has to be the center of attention. In fact, I’m quite aloof; I hate being the center of attention. However, I live nearby The City of Frederick, Maryland, which is dominated by hipsters and hippies. (I am neither, don’t worry). My car, which stands out from all the other cars, never passes through town unnoticed. The people in Frederick almost always look at my car with a smile. (Something that is old and different seems to suit these people perfectly).
5. It may as well be a tank:
This car is so reliable. At 238,000+ miles (or 382,000+ kilometers), this car stills runs strong with all 5 (yes, 5) cylinders functioning perfectly and it has never broke down while driving, not even once. However the last owner, (my grandfather) never really took proper care of this car. When I first got it from him, the fuel injectors were so clogged up and there was so much carbon buildup on the piston heads I had to remove. Even then, the OM617 Turbo Diesel under the hood still fought on and I expect it to continue running strong for many hundreds of thousands of miles to come.
Dislike: (Of course, I say dislike because I honestly can’t find anything to ‘hate’ about this car).
In the United States, it is hard enough to refuel a diesel, because there is almost always that one jerk with a gasoline powered car who fuels up in the same spot with the ONLY diesel pump in an entirely empty fuel station. (For those who don’t drive diesels, this is infuriating to diesel drivers, so stop it). However, to make matters even more difficult, the fuel cap on my car is located on the passenger side, which is uncommon in the US. This makes driving into any station quite a puzzle. In order to refuel, I typically have to either wait nearby the station for the right diesel pump to become vacant, or park head-to-head with someone already fueling by the neighboring pump, then get quite an angry speech by that same person because, “I blocked them in.”
“There is nothing more expensive than a cheap German car.” Those words couldn’t be more true… Parts for a 30 year old Benz are getting scarce and more expensive each year. On a teenager’s budget like mine, this car costs alot to maintain… Junkyards typically don’t have these kinds of parts in stock, and people selling used parts online don’t bother to make sure that the part they are selling works properly. This sucks, because getting new parts from Germany, or refurbished parts from a US based shop is incredibly expensive.
3. Its a US model:
Lucky European Merc owners… Here we have to have the big 5mph safety bumpers, the bugeye lights with plastic mounts, as well as the strict emissions features which restrict power, (but Mercedes installed a turbo to make up for it!) These features don’t essentially make the car look bad or ugly. In fact, they suit a W123 Merc quite well. (Other models? not so much). I still, however, prefer the Euro look over any US look and I would make a conversion if I had the money. (This is about a $1000-$1500 conversion).
I’m still struggling with this one… I do love the loud, knocking sound of an OM617, but to be honest, it reminds me of an old jalopy. It also brings a lot of unwanted attention. My non-car-guy brothers also hate driving with me because they are embarrassed by people looking at the car while they’re inside. Also, when my non-car-guy friends expect my diesel to sound like a powerful dually, they often start laughing at me when I pull up in a car that sounds like, “a grandma’s ride.” (their words, not mine). Anyone who hears the sound of an old diesel Merc WILL turn their heads to see what kind of car it is, because nothing else on the road sounds like it. This kind of attention gets old quickly.
5. No cupholders:
It seems like a stupid thing to complain about, but seriously… I like to drive with some kind of beverage and having no cupholders drives me insane. (No pun intended). My drinks sometimes never make the trip because they either spill all over my center console, or in my lap. The interior designers at Mercedes Benz apparently thought that it is alright to have three ashtrays with a lighter, but cupholders? No, that’s just unacceptable.
Thanks for taking the time to read!
(I apologize if this seems a little long)