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The Mercedes-Benz W123 and me It’s often said that you feel most alive when you’re closest to death. I used to read this in car magazines and roll my eyes, but after one trip to Manchester I found myself nodding sagely (or was it shaking uncontrollably?) once I’d stepped from my Mercedes 230 CE. This brings me to this afternoon’s musing on Classic Cars For Sale’s selection of automotive treats. It was dark and drizzly, with fog so thick you could carve sculptures with it. I was descending from the moors on the M62, and visibility was at a minimum. In the outside lane foolhardy souls in Nissan GT-Rs and BMW M3s flashed by at twice the speed limit. In the inside lane, I was having headlights flashed at me for having the temerity to stick to 70mph – which was dangerous enough for the conditions anyway. I couldn’t go faster or slower – as poor visibility would mean I’d be hit from behind, and any faster I’d either be arrested or turned into a paste halfway up a bridge support. The latter was due to the steering. This was my first classic and my first rear-wheel drive car. It also had a Seventies Mercedes steering box, which in retrospect probably wasn’t in the rudest of health. If I even so much as dared to take my eyes off the dead centre, for such outright luxuries as checking my mirrors or indicating, I’d suddenly find I was no longer in the inside lane but drifting into wherever the W123 had chosen to go next. When I’d finally reached my destination, every sinew was tingling and my seat was perfectly moulded to my clenched buttocks. But you know what? This experience made me love it so much more. We’d reached Manchester unscathed. We’d survived that terrifying experience, where I could almost feel the freezing fingers of death tapping at the windows as I descended the M62. Alas luck would run out less than a month later, as a mixture of inexperience and a wet, oily roundabout meant my particular 230CE died in a ditch. At least I can hope that its parts can help other W123s live on. It was probably that steering box after all; my last words as I slid sideways at full lock into the barriers was ‘The steering feels a bit wieraaaaaaaaaaaaggggh…’ In the aftermath I said I’d never go back. But then I kept seeing them glinting broodingly under Hackney’s streetlamps. I desperately want another one now. It just felt so good to be in. I didn’t sit in it, I reclined in it. It looks beautifully passive-aggressive; tilted forwards like a hot-rod, but with a gleaming-smile front that drew admiring glances from enthusiasts and ‘normals’ alike, young and old, man and woman. But, crucially, it made me feel special. And that’s the most important thing about a classic, for me at least. This brings us to this 280CE. It’s had a no-expense-spared restoration from an already-good start and it really has wanted for nothing. It’s had a professional glass out bare metal re-spray, new window rubbers, sunroof seals, all four window rubber seals, both door seals, a new front chrome bumper middle section, a replacement rear bumper, new front grille chrome slats, new chrome protection moldings and a complete new exhaust system. It’s done just 56,000 miles and has had new plugs, HT leads, all filters changed, new fluids, brake fluid, new exhaust system, new fuel lines, new fuel pump, a brake system overhaul, a new radiator, a replacement fuel divider, a replacement air conditioning condenser and more. The upshot of all this is that it will probably drive properly and not cause the abject fear my vastly inferior 230 CE did. In short, it’s pretty much the best W123 I’ve seen for sale. But for me the greatest part about this car is the colour. Mercedes of this era, the rampant SEL 6.3s and 6.9s apart, were very serious, austere cars. By painting this one this hue it’s like knowing an old-aged English professor that spends his weekends as a hardcore techno Viking on stilts at illegal raves. It’s just nice to see that for all your seriousness, you can still have a sense of humour. Just shy of £15,000 is a lot of money for one of these, but if my Euromillions turned up, I’d walk straight past the Ferraris, the Porsches and other titillating exotica and buy it. I’d even drive it to Manchester – in fact, I’d relish the opportunity. To see more pictures, and to read more, click here: www.classiccarsforsale.co.uk/car-advert/mercedes-benz/280/1981/244121/ To advertise your classic car for free, click here www.classiccarsforsale.co.uk/sell-your-car/ Nathan Chadwick Sub editor #classiccars #autos #classiccar #cars #automobiles #driving #motoring #retrocars #coolcars #mercedes #merc #W123
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I deleted the previous post as comment's weren't appropriate. It's a car and to be appreciated whether you like it or not or it's a piece of history. Thanks again Danny for letting me in to your Astra Vette owned by astronaut Alan Bean. I for one love Cars from all over the world. Any malicious comments will be removed and the poster banned.
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