A 1975 Mercedes-Benz 230 In A Very ’70s Color Combo

A 1975 Mercedes-Benz 230 In A Very ’70s Color Combo
A 1975 Mercedes-Benz 230 In A Very ’70s Color Combo

This morning I was perusing the FB group Finding Future Classic Cars and ran across this survivor, a ’75 230 sedan. This was the car all the Ford Granada ads alluded to, when they claimed (likely after several gin and tonics or martinis at the Grosse Pointe Inn) that the new formal-lined Ford compact looked just like a Mercedes.

It didn’t really, no more than a 230 like this looked just like a Volvo 244DL. Sure there were some similarities, but nothing to really fool people who were interested in cars. But I digress. I always had a soft spot for these, because as a kid one of my favorite Corgi Toys was a 240D of this same generation, silver with tan interior and opening doors and trunk.

It was definitely a favorite, because it got pretty weathered in short order. But it survived, and I still have it in a box somewhere. I got a couple mint condition versions on ebay as well, back in the late ’90s. Anyway, onto our featured car.

As the seller related: “For sale is my 1975 Mercedes 230 w115 with 113,xxx miles. The only item which is not original is the stereo. The engine has been rebuilt by MB in Germany and does not leak any fluids.”

“It starts the first turn of the key, every time. The battery is brand new. The driving experience is smooth and everything is tight.”

“This vehicle just received a two day detail. Every part of the exterior has been compounded, waxed, buffed and protected. The paint is incredible! The interior is in excellent condition with no rips or tears on the seats or dashboard.”

“The only item on the interior needing attention is the headliner. It is showing it’s age along the rear window. This vehicle has mild rusting low on the rocker panels.”

“The value has been appraised by my insurance company at $9k, so I am firm on the price at this time. Please feel free to message me for more pictures and details.”

Anyway, the ask is $4650. A little more rust than I’d like, but it appears to be all there and not messed with or modified. The link is right here if someone wants to inquire further.

One thing’s for sure, you don’t see too many of these any more, though I see similar vintage R107 350SLs on a regular basis at local car shows.


  1. I had a similar car that was so rusty that a hand-span sized circular crack appeared in the left front fender on a freezing night. I have still never seen one where the body cracked diagonally from the bottom of the front door sills to the wheel openings. Where did the body-colored rocker panels with their round jacking points go?

    I like the cars, and I really wish there was still a market for a premium car built around technical solutions and materials, but it would cost as much to restore this car to Mercedes-Benz ’70s standards as it would a Pagoda that you could enjoy whenever you drive it and then resell.

  2. Tom, nice find. Notice the original color where the license plate was, the paint appeared to have lightened significantly over the rest of the car in the last 45 years. Not a demerit just an observation. I wonder if one could replace the front and rear bumpers with pre 1974 so they do not stick out from the body. Those retro fit 5 mpg bumpers ruined the profile of a lot of cars.

  3. It is interesting how much the memory and nostalgia for the 2.0 liter executive class from 1968 has dimmed. Whether this Mercedes, the BMW 2000, the Audi 100LS, Volvo 144 or the Peugeot 504, they were showing the world that Europe was back and had their own ideas about efficiency, sensible size, and quality. 50 years on it is nice to see a survivor but there really is very little market for them. I think it has to do with German efficiency picking that 120 cubic inch engine size. In Europe, with a stick shift and no emission controls they could all top out right around the still magic 100 mph/160 km. However there was no slack and anything added on and all of the cars became bog slow. With this car, the expanded 2.3 had about 80 net horsepower to move its 3000 pounds through a rough short geared automatic. 20 seconds to 60? I better stop talking because soon it won’t take a few gin and tonics to sell me on the Granada ESS that caught the style but still got you a 302 V8.

    1. June, 1978 Car and Driver. 302 powered Granada ESS. 0-60 in eleven seconds on the way to an 18.3 second quarter mile at 77.3 miles per hour. That’s actually semi-respectable, although Car and Driver was stuck on how dated it seemed compared to the Fairmont.

      November, 1980 Car and Driver. Restyled shovel-nose 1981 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Brougham 2-door with a gasoline V8(I had to check, but the carburetor suggests it really was using gas to make 105 hp). 0-60 in 16.5 seconds on the way to a 20.6 second quarter mile at 67 miles per hour. Those are Rabbit diesel numbers, although the Rabbit used a fraction of the fuel.

      1. So we can agree that the twice plus, plus more expensive 230 was not doing 11 seconds to sixty. Notice I am not talking economy and taxi minded diesels. Yet we are to believe that the Germans were the truth and the light.
        There was no 230 in 1981, so please talk about diesels. Or switch your argument to BMW or Saab turbos. Wait what happened to the truth and the light. Flickering big time

          1. James Taylors book says there were no more W123 230 in the USA after 1980 which was the year in Europe they got fuel injection and with no emission stuff in Europe got a big bounce to 136 horsepower. The engine came back for 84 in the 190E with 113hp. There was always grey market like your wagon.

          2. A local Columbus shop, Bill Dovell, did a tremendous amount of business bringing in 230Es.

          3. Just so .

            I was referring to a blanket statement, not what M-B USA was importing .

            Many 230’s came in from Canada .


          4. Taylor’s book cited an English? Autocar magazine test of an 81 230TE. It was 12.9 to 60,18.6 in the quarter, 106mph top speed and 22.5 Imperial gallon mpg.

          5. Don’t forget the many 230C’s, they were quite popular as graymarkets and are still tooling around So. Cal. .


          6. To be honest, I remember the W124 Euro 230CEs better. Remember the late 80s were the days of the 12 cylinder, 262 horsepower traditional leather and wood XJS and the 88 4.5 V8 Euro sized zebrano wood and leather Eldorados that cost 10k less or in the Eldos case half of the 300CE. Apparently even hard core MB people were chafing at the 52k price of the 300CE so we saw grey market 230CEs with unbalance shafted big fours no amenities and MB tex coming in. Were they hardcore MB enthusiasts or cheap and poor fakers, who knows?

    2. The prevalence of the 2.0 metric displacement engine was as far as I know from my extensive studies, a result of post-WWII “soak the rich” tax laws in places, France first (AFAIK) and then Italy and then belatedly UK, and so on.

      The idea was that any respectable working person should be delighted to have a .375L Citroen 2CV, and so on.

      That’s why the Citroen top-of-the-line DS started out under 2 liters and then stayed at 2 liters for a while, while the last model years got up to 2.3L.

      What was driving this was IMHO a sense that the rich had been OK with the Nazis (and no question, many of the upper crust in the UK were betting on the Nazis in preference to the Reds), and if they are going to have playboy cars, they should pay a premium.


      1. It is pretty obvious that our German friends hit upon 120 cubic inches because it was the minimum that an efficiently designed executive car could hit 100/160. To this we can throw in my favorite of them the Rover P6. Gosh it is fun to hear you blame it on the Nazis. That liberal Americans glommed on to it is to do with their politics not how the Euros drove. They agreed of course with the extra weight of the safety gear and the horsepower sapping smog gear. What they could not agree was that the domestics may have had it right that a little extra displacement in a naturally smooth running engine might give an owner a better experience.

  4. This W115 looks nice and they’re good solid cars but I’d maybe rather have a Grenada…..

    The tiny 4 cylinder engine in these was far worse than any American i6 .

    You can see the rust waiting to explode out of the front fenders at the trim holes, this car is close to junk sad to say .


      1. It’s a sad thing but the W114’s & W115’s rusted almost as badly as Japanese cars of the same vintage .

        Even in Los Angeles they rusted out, the floors mostly in 20 years .

        I am quite fond of the W114 i6 gasoline powered coupes .


  5. What, me hurry. I sold my R69s to purchase a 1975 230. I had my doubts. The BMW needed to have the slingers
    cleaned (a complete rebuild ) to the tune of about $6000. The paint and chrome other odds and ends would have
    put me deep under water. GOD said to me, Bob buy a 230, by God he was right. The next day a not for sale 230
    crossed my path and $7500 later I was in the drivers seat. The car is rust free, original ( excellent ) paint, new AC
    compressor, re calibrated speedometer, new tires, new battery, and on and on, $27,000 in receipts. Yesterday I went for a speed run and at 85mph had plenty left. The 45 year old 4 banger is not a hole shot car and is certainly not a
    Granada. I ride on a R60/2 with a 500s side car. I ride in a 1975 Mercedes Benz 230. Beep me as you go bye.


    1. @Bob ;

      How do you like the /2 Beemer’s brakes ? .

      I’ve had four (two R69S’) and all had terrible brakes, unable to lock up and so dangerous .


      1. Nate, getting the r60 to stop is all about planing. Getting the r27 to go ( 18hp ) is another challenge. Drum
        brakes go back to the turn of the century. The 230 was one of the first with rear disc’s. The real achilles heal
        of the /2’s was the slingers. I took some long trips and always made it home, dumb luck I guess. Four r69s
        motorcycles! They must have had something that appealed to you. Ride safe. ride safe.


        1. Bob ;

          The planning part doesn’t work in the real world ~ an elderly gent in a 1969 Caddy drop top nearly took me out by pulling part way into the center commuter only lane and stopping ~ I didn’t think I’d squeeze between him and the concrete barrier but somehow I did at 65 + MPH .

          Like I said, if you cannot lock the brakes up you cannot possibly modulate them .

          At this point, all my rideable Motocycles have drums front and rear and can easily to “stoppies” if I had the skills or perhaps the stones to try that .

          Of course, I understand the importance of proper geometry on the brake linkages, few do and almost every Moto I touch is incorrectly set up when I get it plus of course the brake cam never is lubricated so it drags in the brake plate and further degrades the drum brakes…

          I had two R69S’, one R60US/2 (1968, my favorite) and one R27/2…..

          All good bikes, yes the slingers are a concern after 30,000 miles or so, I never had one fail nor did I ever takes the heads off even on my higher mileage /2 BMWs .

          I use only fully synthetic oils and change them every 3,000 miles religiously .

          My three Urals had the same oil slingers and a simple paper element oil filter, same deal : change every 3,000 miles when blistering hot .

          My various /5BMWs all had a slip in paper oil filter and proper lead Babbitt full pressure bearings so no failures there either .

          I’m trying to ride safer these days, I no longer like riding after sun set .

          Of course, Southern California traffic tends to get wild even if you don’t drive/ride in South Central as I do .

          No one, not even the damn cops, stops for stop signs anymore .


  6. I am the current owner of the 1973 Mercedes-Benz 230 Strich-acht

    Let me know if you would like pictures of the current restoration.

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