The Mercedes W123 estate is both classless and classy, a car that is built like a tank but relaxing to drive, and one that’s affordable to run but sought-after by those in the know. Which is probably why Magnus Walker, our resident forecaster of cars that are set to go places, has tipped it as the next big thing.
In the latest episode of the series that sees Walker pick cars going places, he tackles the W123. Introduced in 1976, it proved a success for Mercedes, with more than 2.7 million examples built over the 10-year production run.
The ‘T’ estate version – so-named by Mercedes as the T stands for ‘tourismus und transport’ – came out in 1978 and was the first mass-produced estate to roll out of Mercedes’ factory. It was available with the 2.3, 2.5 and 2.8-litre petrol engine and 2.4-litre diesel engines, as the 230T, 250T, 280TE and 240TD.
It proved to be an excellent load-lugger, prized by middle classes for years after its replacement, in much the same way that its successor, the W124, would be. Today it makes an excellent enthusiast car for those with a family to consider.
Magnus Walker meets Tim Kortebein, an owner with a connection to Mercedes, and sums it up best as “life before the minivan,” which is a fair assessment of a type of car that, in America at least, has since been ditched by families who favour MPVs and SUVs.
Tim says the car appeals to young hipsters and veteran drivers alike. As for the driving experience, it’s best summered up as “slow and steady” he says.
The biggest thing he’s carried in the boot with the rear seats folded out of the way is a 10-ft kayak.
That sounds like all the reason you need to put this practical classic on your consideration list.