Driven: Mercedes W123. With An S-Class V8...
PHer Chris Small tries out a remarkably stealthy Mercedes that, were it for sale, could well be 'shed of the decade'
I've always had a bit of soft spot for the old W123 Mercedes. My late Grandfather used to have a tractor-powered, black 300D. It was possibly the slowest thing on earth, but he'd owned it from new and it was in immaculate condition. As a child I'd stand back in awe as its stately like coachwork rolled into view, three-pointed gunsight glistening in the sun. It would also, of course, be accompanied by a massive cloud of black smoke and a Massey Ferguson-esque clatter. But enough of this somewhat rose-tinted memory, the W123 I've been invited to drive today, is a whole different kettle of crabs.
The second you turn the key, you're greeted by the aural pleasure that can only be provided by a 5.0-litre V8 running through an exhaust with only one silencer in it. From the outside you may not be able to visually tell that something's a bit different, but if you know anything about cars you'll soon realise that all is not what it seems when you hear it.
This was something that I obviously had to try. And I can indeed vouch for the fact that traction is this car's most serious weak point. But bury your right foot once you're rolling and the acceleration can only be described as addictively comical. The surge of power is both effortless and insane.
Make no mistake, it's very much a one-trick pony, but what a fantastic trick it is. The lads have yet to have their first run-in with a Corsa or a Saxo, but I have no doubt that much hilarity will ensue when the opportunity eventually arises.
The final surprise comes when I ask how much this car has actually cost them. "All in, we reckon it owes us about a grand," they tell me. Now if that isn't a contender for SOTW top trumps, I don't know what is...
Pics: Joe Taylor
Great line :-)
And love the picture of it laying 11's on the airstrip.
Brilliant though. My kind of car.
I love the whole q-car/sleeper thing, and putting large engines in unsuspecting cars.. I'd go for a shabby estate version to put that lump in though!
This guy had to mount and re-mount the engine/trans combo 42 times,
then the 560 SEC drivetrain fit properly.
Love the brown plastic "leather" seats and the taxi-beige BBS cross-spokes,
I saw that once on an 1/8mile and it could smoke start to finish.
Owner has a magnetic "TAXI" sign for temporary roof-mount as well.