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What should I look for when buying a W123 Mercedes-Benz E-Class?

I am considering the purchase of a 1978 Mercedes-Benz W123 model. This car has only completed a genuine 27,000 miles from new. It is offered with all of the service invoices together with all the MOTs. The asking price is £6,000. What experience do you have with this model of Mercedes-Benz, especially the W123 variants, and are there any known concerns to look out for?

Asked on 2 November 2010 by KE, Basildon,

Answered by Honest John

The main Achilles heel is the simplex timing chain. If it has not been renewed on this car then it will probably need to be. The second is a failing back axle. Also, any rust at all decimates the value. They are quite strong old cars, but not completely bulletproof. £6,000 is a lot of money, so it needs to be spot on to be worth buying. And it isn't a daily driver, of course. Run an old car like this on a day-to-day basis, especially through the winter, and it will deteriorate badly.
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