Mercedes-Benz Classic / Mercedes-Benz W123
The legendary Mercedes-Benz W123 generation of saloons was a huge sensation for its maker, establishing it in all manner of new markets – thanks primarily to unmatched build quality, sober-suited style, and a wide range of engines. The W123 was also the first Mercedes-Benz to be offered in estate form – T-models were rolled out in 1980, with a range that echoed that of the saloons.
The W123 was possibly the company’s high watermark although, in the UK in the late 1970s, you paid through the nose for the privilege of owning one. Base-model 200 and 200D were both poor performers (that would go on forever), with the 230E a much better all-rounder. Twin-cam 280E is an all-purpose sporting saloon that matched the best of the opposition – without losing a shred of Mercedes-Benz’s core values.
The pillarless Coupe CE models proved popular over the years, with almost 100,000 built during an eight-year production run. The CE was effectively a W123 saloon with 10cm taken out of the wheelbase, while retaining the same hard-wearing interior. Good to look at and, in higher-powered form, almost as rewarding to drive as it was to own.