Every year for the summer vacation I would get with my son, when he was younger, we would pack up the BMW R100GSPD motorcycle with all our camping gear and firewood and set off from the BayArea in California for the Sierra Nevada mountains. A couple of years back it was a bit different…checking our gear and luggage but no firewood, with Delta airlines we flew to New Hampshire and drove a new purchase nearly 4,000 miles home!
An avid reader of Bring a Trailer, they featured a rather unusual vehicle that intrigued me. Following the link to the eBay listing for a1984 MBZ 200T RHD wagon, I knew that I had to have it. I have always liked the old classic W123 bodied wagons and being Red, 4cylinder carb/gas, 5 speed manual and Red, did I say that(?) it was too much to resist.
The seller, having pulled the listing from eBay with only a few hours remaining, had been deluged by inquires about the NO title status in New Hampshire and potential EPA/DOT questions that he couldn’t answer. I contacted him via EBay email, and after many photos, a pre-purchase inspection at a local shop, much time and research, the issues were resolved and a deal was struck without him having to re-list it on eBay.
Making stops along the way to see the Liberty Bell, St. Louis Arch, baseball games in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Kansas City (he is a huge baseball fan…), we camped in many different campgrounds along the way, visited relatives and friends and made the two week trip without incident. The car performed flawlessly, was very comfortable, attracted tons of attention and even with the windows down and sunroof open, (no A/C), returned around 28mpg and a comfortable 450 mile range at 65-70 mph! Checking the oil and water every morning and at every fill-up astounded me with no top off requirements!
The 4 cylinder mill ran cool and quiet and while requiring more active shifting of the 5 speed manual transmission in the mountains, was more than adequate. This car is so simple and functional I could see this being a keeper! Too often with cars of this and slightly newer eras they are too complicated (electronic…) to keep them running effectively and without exorbitant costs I am thinking that this car should prove to possess at least another 160,000 miles of service!! As the trip unfolded every time I tried another switch or widget, it worked!! Even the pneumatic up/down range adjustment for the Euro headlamps!! Mercedes is truly one of the best manufacturers when it comes to older road cars.
The memories forever imbedded as a result of that trip come flooding back every time we take it out for a drive. The smells of the car, and everyone knows how old cars smell if they have ever owned one, really bring to life all of the little movie moments of that trip, including sleeping in the car after 2am in some rest stop in Ohio since it was too late to find a campground and set up the tent....even today my son remarks when I pick him up in this car that 'Dad, you can never sell this car because it has to always remind us of our trip'....that sort of stuff is the glue that keeps our hobby going isn't it?