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Friday 5th October 2012

SOTW: Mercedes E300 Turbodiesel

Save an old diesel Merc from cab rank obscurity and waft around in grey slip-on comfort for a grand!



Pride, so they say, comes before a fall. That motto pretty much sums up Mercedes' fall from grace at the turn of the millennium.

We'll leave the fine detail to the automotive historians, but nobody - not even Mercedes - disputes the Chrysler alliance went badly wrong. Coincidentally or otherwise, a nosedive in Mercedes quality kicked in shortly after the 1998 merger/takeover, blighting Benzes for years after. Indeed, many Merc diehards have foresworn the brand for ever as a result of their experiences in the early 2000s.

Not exactly racy but frees funds for a toy too
Not exactly racy but frees funds for a toy too
This week's Shed, a W210 E300 Turbodiesel, was born in that troubled year of 1998. Fear not, though. By the looks of it, this one came off the line before the accountants replaced 'only the best' on the material procurement sheets with 'Borat grade'.

Superseding the oblong-headlamped W124, the four-light W210 was launched in 1996, facelifted in 1999, and succeeded by the more slope-fronted W211 in 2002. This classic three-boxer reeks of respectability and solidity. It is a saloon, full stop. The only hatch you'll find here is a square hole grudgingly cut into the middle of the back seat for ski toting.

Even before the Chrysler debacle, Mercedes electrics were showing signs of weakness, so the best W210 Sheds are the ones with the lowest toy count. Being an Avantgarde, which (outside of AMG models) was top spec if you ranked its sportiness above the Elegance's comfort, this one does have a few features, but none of them are mission-critical. The absence of the potentially troublesome sunroof is a particular relief.

It's all very sober ... apart from the upholstery!
It's all very sober ... apart from the upholstery!
Two more plus points about the Avantgarde are its firmer suspension and slightly less urgent cabin wood. The original buyer didn't specify moo for the seats, which means it is blessed with a fabric design so abstract a painter and decorator could do a rolling programme of improvements on it just by throwing his cans and brushes straight in there at the end of a day's hard graft.

As you'd expect, it does have automatic climate control, which can fail, as can diesel injectors and glowplugs. A weird one to look out for is the transmission cooler housed inside the radiator, perhaps not the smartest piece of engineering design in M-B's history.

But can't you just taste the potential smugness of being behind the wheel of such a beast for under a grand? For a feel of what you'd be in for, here's a video walkround and 0-60 run up the road in an American one of the same vintage.

Shed does 'sensible transport' shocker
Shed does 'sensible transport' shocker
As you can see, hear, and possibly even feel depending on the quality of your speakers, that 3.0-litre TD lump isn't the last word in refinement, but you can expect 30mpg-plus, 135mph and 0-60 in under nine seconds - all very decent numbers.

Digital images can flatter to deceive, but those shutlines look bankvault-tight and there's no sign of wheelarch or wing rust. OK, so it's not an estate, and the wheels will need a refurb, but once that's done you're all set with a one-owner, low mileage, Mercedes exec from the good old days (just), with FSH, a semi-desirable reg number, £220 road tax, and a Shed price. Surely worth a gamble as a relaxed daily smoker.

Advert is reproduced below.

300E Avantgarde Turbodiesel Salon (£995)
Parktronic, Rain Sensor, Electric Folding Mirrors, Headlight Washers, Automatic Climate Control, Memory Power Driver Seat and Steering Wheel, Blaupunkt radio/CD player, Ski Hatch to Boot, Avon tyres, Serviced May 2012, MOT to April 2013, FSH, Two keys, One driver from new

 

 

Blackpuddin
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Author Discussion

GranCab

Original Poster:

537 posts

33 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
Nice shed - but I spotted an E430 V8 on Autotrader for the same money ...

court

951 posts

103 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
Weren't late 90's seat fabrics awful? They're almost as bad as the ones on sporting Peugeots of the same era.

LaurasOtherHalf

8,517 posts

83 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
Semi desirable reg number confused

CampDavid

8,686 posts

85 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
From the good old days? This ones a poster child for the worst of Mercedes build.

Still, great shed and a cheap way to get to work

Bargenosenti

156 posts

26 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
Now where near exciting enough, head more left of field next time!

Given that PH Sunday Service is a Benz world, I wonder how they treat the 1998-2000 era in the 'collection'!
Advertisement

Dr Interceptor

2,696 posts

83 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
Great cars - we've had two...

Firstly a 1997 (P) E230 Estate - the lowly four pot. Not very quick, but economical and reliable. Dad put 180k miles on it.

Then, and we still have a 2002 (52) E430 Estate - AMG alloys, Jewish racing Gold, 145k miles and still going strong. No rust, no real problems.

donkamio

52 posts

32 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
Well judging by the number of these i still see on the road, they must be pretty well built. I know a few people who have had theres since new and are still running strong.

ask yourself, how many 5 series or A6's of a similar vintage do you see around?????????????????

BeirutTaxi

5,745 posts

101 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
CampDavid said:
From the good old days? This ones a poster child for the worst of Mercedes build.

Still, great shed and a cheap way to get to work
^^ I concur. If you put build quality aside these cars are actually very good. PH member 'Parrot of Doom' managed 250k miles in his 300td.

Also:

SOTW Article said:
transmission cooler housed inside the radiator, perhaps not the smartest piece of engineering design in M-B's history
Loads of models have integrated the engine coolant and transmission oil radiators together as one component/part (obviously the fluids never make contact). My 190 Mercedes had that design and 22 years on it was only on it's second rad.

glendon

97 posts

93 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
What on God's Good Earth were designers of seat upholstery snorting/injecting/rubbing in their eyeballs in the late nineties?

JimexPL

1,358 posts

99 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
That's quite a high spec for the period -

CD player, electric drivers seat, parktronic and climate control were all options, even on the top level Avantgarde. It's surprising that the first owner did't choose leather.

AC43

2,987 posts

95 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
Bargenosenti said:
Given that PH Sunday Service is a Benz world, I wonder how they treat the 1998-2000 era in the 'collection'!
One thing is sure - they'll no doubt keep them out of the rain.

GranCab

Original Poster:

537 posts

33 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
JimexPL said:
That's quite a high spec for the period -

CD player, electric drivers seat, parktronic and climate control were all options, even on the top level Avantgarde. It's surprising that the first owner did't choose leather.
Maybe he/she is/was a vegan ... burger

VolvoT5

1,139 posts

61 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
I like it..... mainly because it is the type of shed I can see myself driving in the near future. Bit of class, bulletproof (I assume, being a merc?), cheap to run.

Seat fabrics are the only down side really....

80quattro

1,396 posts

82 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
'The original buyer didn't specify moo for the seats'

biggrin

newdogg06

266 posts

76 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
My next door neighbour has a 7 seater estate 300TD and he had 340K on the clock last time I asked him. He bravely took his family of 7 to Portugal and back in it last year!

Martin 480 Turbo

348 posts

74 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
Does it come with a brown paper bag ?

tonker

47,219 posts

135 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
JimexPL said:
That's quite a high spec for the period -

CD player, electric drivers seat, parktronic and climate control were all options, even on the top level Avantgarde. It's surprising that the first owner did't choose leather.
Given the car, probably Hindu.

The back doors and rear panel look a little 'joseph' in the first photo. if that matters at 14 years old. For a grand, if the aircon isn't fubarred and the gearbox still changes smoothly (and it's not got front wings that are corroded to carp (I would guess Mercedes would have replaced them and the boot by now)), then how can you go wrong ?


Edited by tonker on Friday 5th October 09:12

LuS1fer

31,784 posts

132 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
Crap diesel. Rated 0. Next.

Garlick

40,601 posts

127 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
Ah, the E-Class Club Sport

The longer you own it, the lighter it becomes.

Frimley111R

5,832 posts

121 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
LuS1fer said:
Crap diesel. Rated 0. Next.
+ 1

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