While we're on points, the point about coupes of course is that they don't really have a point, other than to look stylish. That's an issue for today's car designers, compromised as they are by the need to create eight thousand variants from one multi-functional platform. For real coupe style, we need to look back in time (cue wobbly music and footage of fluttering calendar pages) to a time when designers weren't quite so hamstrung by the accountants, to a carefree age when they were allowed to create coupes just for the hell of it. To the 1980s, in fact, and this week's Shed, the Mercedes-Benz 300CE.
The CE had a four-inch shorter wheelbase and a one-inch shorter body than the saloon. It was no featherweight, but 185hp from the 12-valve 3.0 six was enough to schmooze you about town in a dignified manner, and it had a purity of line all of its own, aided to a great extent by the pillarless profile that looks sharp today. This 1989 car was from the last year of 12-valve 300CE production; the 300CE-24 replaced it in 1990. If you ever see an AMG 3.4 CE at sensible money, by the way, snap it up: they only built 25 of them.
Judging by the thin scattering of buttons on the dash, this car was quite meanly specced by the first owner, but because it's a Merc that's no great hardship: you still get the string-vest seatback map pockets, the analogue clock that quite literally reminds you of better times, and M-B's unique zebrawood that grows to attention in order to rule out knots.
W124 sixes are strong cars even now, but they're not perfect. Watch out for traces of oil in the coolant (cracked cylinder heads aren't unknown); check that the ABS light goes out when it should; check the front screen frame for corrosion and the diff for leaks. This Shed is pretty low mileage, and cam timing is by chain, but you still need to look out for the usual weary-outy parts of an old car, like ARB bushes, steering, and tyres (uneven wear).
Saying it 'generally starts on the button' is slightly perturbing, as it inclines the reader to worry about the times that it generally doesn't start on the button, these times generally being the most annoying times. The vulnerable siting of the wiring loom on W124 sixes could have something to do with it, but whatever the cause of the flaw might be, it's almost bound to be fixable. That's the beauty of a traditional Merc. And this is a beautiful traditional Merc.
My Mercedes-Benz 300CE was bought to conduct a couple of classic car driving events in. Events done, with honours, it's sat in the garage for the winter but now has a fresh MOT on it and is now up for sale.
They weren't concours classic events. It does suffer from the familiar W124 wing rot. The worst is the nearside, which is why it comes with a new, unpainted wing in the boot. I haven't had chance to sort it myself. The driver's side is bubbling on the leading edge but looks far better.
The paint on the bonnet isn't in a great state, and has been curiously sanded away and patched in the middle. The boot paint is faded too, but may be revived with some canny clay bar effort. It has some metallic clearcoat peel in places, mainly near the top of the pillars.
There are a few age-related dings elsewhere but I must say, it does look pretty good for its age. Same inside; there's a hole on the driver's seat and some cracking in the middle of the dash but, apart from this, it's solid and doesn't look too tired. Even things like the sunroof and four pillarless electric windows, seatbelt helper arms and 'auto-fold' rear head restraints work.
It has a fresh set of Falkens, which have done around 1000 miles and thus have loads of life left in them. Oh, and it drives nicely, with a lovely engine. Good oil pressure, watch-like smoothness and, courtesy of a new battery, it generally starts on the button.
It comes with a folder full of receipts showing a rich service history. Even the original first aid kit is still there, too...
Take a good look at the images and do drop me a line with any questions you may have.