5k: Already Gone: 1980 Mercedes-Benz Wagon W123, Chevy 5.7L V8 Swap
The Mercedes-Benz W123 300TD wagon is one of those solidly built classics that is powered by an engine fit for pulling a plow. If you want that plow to make it to autobahn speeds you’ll need to get one like this…complete with a swapped Chevy 5.7 liter V8 crate motor. This 1980 Mercedes-Benz W123 Wagon
for sale recently sold around $5,200 in Lake Forest, CA via craigslist. This car was so cool, even though it was recently sold, we decided to publish the feature as a market reference.
This W123 has been stripped of its external trim and had euro style headlamps fitted. There are throngs of Mercedes people all over the internet that talk about how ugly the US spec headlights are and how awesome the Euro versions are…but…frankly, I don’t get it. It’s a headlight. It lights up the road. These are certainly different than the typical ones we see in the US, but hit a piece of ladder from a lawn care truck and suddenly a normal $100 Mercedes headlamp assembly becomes an $800 repair.
Headlamps aside, the original oil burning boat anchor has been thrown away and replaced with a GM 5.7 liter V8 crate motor – carburetor equipped from the look of it and covered with a vintage Mercedes air cleaner for the ultimate hood-open sleeper. This crate engine is probably good for something in the 300-375 horsepower range and looks to have functioning AC.
The stock Mercedes shifter sits in the floor, but it is hooked up to a GM sourced 700R4 automatic transmission. The automatic is probably a great fit for a cruiser like this wagon and will be perfect for brake stands and burnouts.
The interior of this Mercedes is immaculate and the hatch area looks to be set up with the folding rear facing seats for the ultimate 7 passenger cruiser.
The elephant in the room: retaining it’s pre-1998 diesel title, this V8 wagon is now smog exempt here in CA…meaning the new owner can tweak and tune to their heart’s content without ever worrying about inspections (until they get pulled over by Johnny Q. CHiP). The only thing we’d change is to swap those wheels back to something more stock looking. See a cooler diesel-gas conversion? email us here: firstname.lastname@example.org
What a deal. $5200 for what looks to be a perfect interior nice paint, wheels and a new crate motor. Plus its a v8 conversion. So nice, wish I would have had the money and bought this one.
So much want here. Agree with wheel swap, agree with headlight retrofit (sorry fanboys, but the roundies fit that intricate face better, IMO). Would give a small finger to have the priceless memories of the shocked faces on the random 'sport car' drivers I embarrass at the Grand Prix du Stoplight. Plus, you know, V8agon.
Round DOT lamps, while being the only legal headlamp choice for this car in the United States, do not do all that great a job at throwing light down the road. E-code lamps have a gorgeous, crisp cutoff similar to modern day projectors, whereas DOT lights just kind of throw light wherever the fluted inner lens says to throw it.
The downside (which is kind of a huge deal), is that oncoming traffic gets a bit more light in the face when they approach. But it's no worse than bro and his F-450 with 12" of lift, or Joe Citizen in his Explorer with blown rear springs.
Aesthetically, in all of the 70's and 80's euro cars I've owned, I've always opted for e-code / H4 headlamps. In many of the older euro cars with DOT lights, motoring along anywhere remotely close to the speed limit at night easily out-drives your low beams.
my god, only 70 miles from me, i would buy this anyday of the week if i had the money
Why could not this have come up as I was ready to buy the W124 wagon I have now? I don't hate the 300TE I have now, and quite a lot was spent to make the recommissioning worth while. But, damn! Someone here in SoCal got a sweet deal.