Go Back   Team-BHP > BHP India > Vintage Cars & Classics in India


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 6th March 2016, 22:15   #1
BHPian
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Gandhinagar
Posts: 127
Thanked: 311 Times
Default '83 Mercedes 240D - My W123 Restoration Diary

Hello friends.

I'm glad to be posting on one of these many W123 threads after a long long time. I have now acquired my W123 long back and in fact have been slowly restoring it. I think the day is not far when I will unveil the car to you all but to make the story more interesting I will take you through all my experiences so far. I will intersperse my narrative with pictures, I have a lot of them with me now.

It is no secret that I was searching for a W123 and the search took me to many destinations. The first w123 car I prospected was a 300D close to home in Ahmedabad. The car was then with a retired Police Officer and was poorly maintained. It had also spent a lot of it's years in Bhuj, and the close proximity to sea had its inevitable toll on her. I had to give that one a pass.

The next car I prospected was with a gentleman who is based in UK and now is a very good friend of mine. The car was in Anand and was nicely restored, but sadly not in my style of restorations. And therefore we could not do a deal. That gentleman also had another W123 lying around with him which he was using as a donor car. And since I have had the pleasure to know him he has acquired a very very good W116 300SD. This has been one of the joys hunting a classic for me. It took me to places and made me friends which I would have least expected otherwise. I have btw driven his w116 on the Ahmedabad Mumbai expressway (which is one of the best roads in the country) and will remember the experience for a long long time.

The next car I scouted was in Surat, a black W123 200D. The car belonged to someone who was now in US and was being left with some kids who may have been relatives. They were trying to sell it at prices that were way beyond the market and did not seem to know anything about the car. I visited Surat specifically to check the car and after waiting at the agreed spot for a good half an hour the car appeared over the horizon. Sure enough I could tell from a distance that the body lines were true, paint seemed to shine...seemed to sparkle my interest. Closer inspection made me sure that this was a restored car and originally it was a different color. However I will give the restoration a good 7 out of 10. I have made deductions because the original was not retained, which in my mind reduces the value of a car and the motor was blowing like a steam engine. Otherwise at the correct price this would not have been a bad car...even the power sunroof (rare on 200Ds) was working but a bit slow. Something that can be easily sorted with some cleaning and lubrication.

(to be continued)

Last edited by BowMan : 6th March 2016 at 22:33.
BowMan is offline   (16) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 6th March 2016, 22:48   #2
BHPian
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Gandhinagar
Posts: 127
Thanked: 311 Times
Default Re: Mercedes Benz W123

There was a fourth 300D that I came across in Gujarat. It was a white 300D which belonged to an old man who had passed away and his son who was an NRI had flown down to do the last rites and dispose of some of his belongs, the car being one of them. I inspected the car in somewhat sombre circumstances but I noticed from afar that the front suspension was somewhat compressed. Sure enough I inspected the VIN and the car was originally a 230E shipped to Japan and later on converted with a OM617 engine. I have never been a fan of molestations which go under the guise of restorations and passed the car. However the son asked me if I could help him sell the car and I agreed to list it in my name (it was also listed on team bhp).

I will also mention another w123 that was listed on team bhp and from Ahmedabad. That one was repainted poorly, engine redone poorly...in fact the only thing great about that car was that it's asking price and that once upon a time It belonged to the Governor of Gujarat State.

Having seen so many cars in Gujarat I was convinced that now my search would take me out of the state. I decided that I will look at the opportunities in Mumbai next. One of the main reasons was that there were a lot of W123s listed from Mumbai and prices seemed to be competitive. I made an inventory of sorts of about half a dozen cars and then I was ready for Mumbai. I planned a trip in February 2014 (it’s been two years…wow) specifically for this errand and decided I will check as many as I can in one day which happened to be a weekend.
The first car that I met was in Ghatkopar, a dark blue 200D which looked promising from the pictures. Sadly I was a bit disappointed when I checked her. The first thing I noticed was that the vacuum pump was not working and to shot down the engine a cable had to be pulled which was routed into the engine bay and tied to the accelerator linkage stop lever. There was considerable rust, interiors were not well maintained, engine blow by was prominent, brakes were shuddering and there was no bite in left side calipers or the disks had work, or both, which was resulting in the car drifting towards left under braking. Steering play was excessive….pass.

Next in line was another car, a LHD 200D again in Ghatkopar (in fact right behind Gulati petrol pump). From the images it seemed to be the least promising of all the Mumbai cars to me. It seemed to have been driven through mud and not washed properly and the seats were draped in garish blue seat covers.

The man who owned it was a gulf expat with limited resources and the car seemed to have changed a lot of hands. At some point it was in Kerala and then got transferred to Mumbai, from where it passed on to the hands of a Gujarati businessman and finally with the one to whom I was taking. However I was pleasantly surprised by the car. It had very little miles on it which was not impossible, the car being a LHD. Engine condition seemed to support this thought and there was absolutely no blow by. Inside the car was kept clean and the blue seat covers were only to protect genuine upholstery which was more or less intact underneath. Dashboards did not show any sign of cracking, under pan was clean. Nice! What made me stop from making an offer on the car was the fact that it was a LHD car and it had rust on only one spot, the wheel wells, which had completely rusted through and rust could be seen from engine bay. I knew this area would be a tough job to fix. However some weeks after this I did make an offer but the owner told me he had sold the car by then. But all in all It was a nice experience to see this man who was not too well off treating his car like it was a family member.

Car number three was the worse experience for me. The car was advertised as being in Mumbai but when I called up the guy he said that it is in fact right now in a place called Alibag. I was P***ed but the car had promising pictures so I decided I will take the boat trip from Gateway to Alibag. It was a good hour and a half to reach Alibag beach and when I called the guy after reaching Alibag I was again told by him that I needed to take a bus (I now forgot the name of the town). I was between the devil and the deep blue sea but having ventured so far I decided I will walk the extra mile as well. Finally I reached the place after spending a food 2 and half hours and when I looked at the car I could not believe my eyes. The car that I saw and was accompanied by a flashily dressed young man who told me he is an architect looked completely different from the one which was listed. Not only had the floor pan completely rusted but at places the rust had crept upwards 4-5 inches. The body line had completely disintegrated. The auto did not shift properly. Huge amounts of blow by. I wanted to punch him in the nose. I later found from him that the car was bought by him from Pune and I strongly suspect the pictures were a good 2-3 years old when the car was not affected by the saline climate. I was thoroughly pissed and exhausted. I took the bus back to Alibag and a ferry from there to India gate, had a early dinner and went to bed.

(to be continued)

Last edited by BowMan : 6th March 2016 at 23:17.
BowMan is offline   (12) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 7th March 2016, 15:36   #3
BHPian
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Gandhinagar
Posts: 127
Thanked: 311 Times
Default Re: Mercedes Benz W123

On my second day I met fellow Team BHPian and Mercedes Enthusiast Tazmaan. His green W123 was definitely one of the finer examples I had seen so far. All I will say on this one is that we could not make a deal and I had to walk by this car.

Having exhausted my list of prospects I was free well before lunch time. And there was one place I wanted to eat in Mumbai for a long long time. I decided to hail a taxi and go to Britannia And Company Restaurant. As they say often, this place is much more than a restaurant. It is an institution.
With this I come to the first part of my narrative. Now onwards it will be the journey of my acquisition and restoration process. But I will leave you friends with some pictures I took that day at the Britannia. I think I will call my journey a success to have dined at this place.

(to be continued)

Name:  1.jpg
Views: 20282
Size:  104.4 KB

Name:  2.jpg
Views: 20221
Size:  115.8 KB

Name:  3.jpg
Views: 20204
Size:  98.7 KB

Name:  4.jpg
Views: 20275
Size:  144.0 KB

Name:  5.jpg
Views: 20197
Size:  118.1 KB

Name:  6.jpg
Views: 20206
Size:  155.4 KB

Name:  8.jpg
Views: 19913
Size:  131.8 KB

Name:  9.jpg
Views: 19812
Size:  135.3 KB

Name:  10.jpg
Views: 19679
Size:  131.6 KB

Name:  11.jpg
Views: 19675
Size:  157.5 KB

Name:  12.jpg
Views: 19511
Size:  104.4 KB

Name:  13.jpg
Views: 19510
Size:  131.8 KB
BowMan is offline   (21) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 7th March 2016, 16:17   #4
BHPian
 
tazmaan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 603
Thanked: 817 Times
Default Re: Mercedes Benz W123

Quote:
Originally Posted by BowMan View Post
On my second day I met fellow Team BHPian and Mercedes Enthusiast Tazmaan. His green W123 was definitely one of the finer examples I had seen so far. All I will say on this one is that we could not make a deal and I had to walk by this car.
Seems like you have found yourself a W123 after all. I remember your visit and the way you inspected the car made me nervous (It felt like you would find faults which even I was unaware of).

I have replaced the W123 with a W126 280S of same vintage and am still not sure if that was a right move. I love the W126 but W123 was my first Mercedes ever.

I am eagerly waiting to see what you have bought. I am pretty sure it will be one of the better ones around.
tazmaan is online now   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 8th March 2016, 09:47   #5
BHPian
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Gandhinagar
Posts: 127
Thanked: 311 Times
Default Re: Mercedes Benz W123

Quote:
Originally Posted by tazmaan View Post
Seems like you have found yourself a W123 after all. I remember your visit and the way you inspected the car made me nervous (It felt like you would find faults which even I was unaware of).

I have replaced the W123 with a W126 280S of same vintage and am still not sure if that was a right move. I love the W126 but W123 was my first Mercedes ever.

I am eagerly waiting to see what you have bought. I am pretty sure it will be one of the better ones around.
Hey there Tazmaan. I'm glad you are the first one to post something here and yes I have indeed acquired a W123. It is a Nov/Dec 1983 240D which was bought from the Mercedes Benz Diplomatic Sales Office in Picadilly Circus, London.

In fact the next chapter that I am currently trying to put together is about how I acquired it and from thence we will go through the whole restoration process. I have kept picture diaries with me and I hope guys like you and other Mercedes Enthusiasts will enjoy the story.

I did notice your thread about the W126. And just like you I also have mixed reactions to that. But I hope in time you will grow to love the 126 and the 123 will remain forever embedded in your heart like a college sweetheart
BowMan is offline   (5) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 8th March 2016, 12:36   #6
BHPian
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Gandhinagar
Posts: 127
Thanked: 311 Times
Default Re: Mercedes Benz W123

I will now fast forward to August of 2014. Many months passed since I had last prospected a W123 and I was beginning to wonder if I was being too finicky.

But one day I was surfing classifieds and noticed a W123 turn up for sale in Delhi. It so happened that my mom wanted to travel to Delhi to spend some time with her relatives there and I was to accompany her on the trip. There was something about the car that appealed to me and I booked tickets for me and mom. We took the train from Ahmedabad and reached Delhi Saturday morning. I called up the owner and asked if he would be comfortable setting aside some time on a Sunday. He agreed and the next day we reached his home. I noticed while entering the gates of the society a golden colour W124 passing by…hmmm. And then a few houses ahead a hummer parked outside one house. Things appeared promising.
Right in front of the Hummer house was the address I had been told. We got out of the car and sure enough I could notice the lines of a W123 neatly wrapped under a car cover.

I gave the car a good once over and noted the good points and bad points in my mind. Sure enough I decided I can bid on this one provided the price is right. And the price I had decided was half of what the owner was asking.
I was never a fan of the Delhi school of bargaining, having spent most of my life in Gujarat. I cut straight to the point and told the owner what I thought was the right price for the car. In less than half an hour we had shook hands and completed the paperwork (I have carried blank copies of all the necessary forms etc. with me).

The car belonged to one of the Directors of AIIMS who was a renowned plastic surgeon. It was bought on behalf of him from Piccadilly by an Indian Diplomat and on his demise passed on to his widow and then to his youngest brother from whom I acquired it. The old man who sold me the car sent her away with tears in his eyes. I have made it a promise to myself that I will share pictures of the car with him once it is fully done.

My lunch time I was driving my own W123 back to my cousin’s home in Dwarika where I had decided the car will stay for the time being before it gets transported to Gujarat. I could still not get over this thought that finally my search was over and I was holding the steering wheels.

The car came with some extra spares that the former owner did not need anymore and a lot of documentation including the original order form and Invoice copy. Let me now share some pictures of the car taking is Sep 2014 and the Original Invoice for the car which is now on my desk.

Name:  IMG_3382.JPG
Views: 19246
Size:  96.5 KB

Name:  IMG_1908.JPG
Views: 20369
Size:  149.5 KB

Name:  IMG_1907.JPG
Views: 19206
Size:  143.7 KB

Name:  IMG_1906.JPG
Views: 27674
Size:  160.9 KB
BowMan is offline   (32) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 8th March 2016, 15:56   #7
BHPian
 
tazmaan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 603
Thanked: 817 Times
Default Re: Mercedes Benz W123

Quote:
Originally Posted by BowMan View Post
Hey there Tazmaan. I'm glad you are the first one to post something here and yes I have indeed acquired a W123. It is a Nov/Dec 1983 240D which was bought from the Mercedes Benz Diplomatic Sales Office in Picadilly Circus, London.

I did notice your thread about the W126. And just like you I also have mixed reactions to that. But I hope in time you will grow to love the 126 and the 123 will remain forever embedded in your heart like a college sweetheart
Please keep the details coming and what all needed to be restored on the car. Physically the car looks in good condition. I really hope you drove down from Delhi, I drove the W123 from Bangalore to Mumbai and it was some road trip.

I do love the W126 and I enjoy every second in it, Its just that 1st love can never be forgotten. The new owner keeps sending me pictures of the car regularly and we talk about meeting soon for a short road trip.

Lets see how that turns out, its like ex-girlfriend meeting the current one
tazmaan is online now   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 9th March 2016, 14:28   #8
BHPian
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Gandhinagar
Posts: 127
Thanked: 311 Times
Default My W123 Restoration Diary

Hello Friends,

Over the past year I have been trying to restore my W123 which I acquired on Aug of 2014. More on the acquisition part is described in this thread.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/super-...nz-w123-7.html

This has been a long and eventful journey with many decision points and challenges. I have decided to share my experience with everyone here by starting a new thread. This thread will be in the form of a Diary.

September 2014

It has been less than a month since I have acquired my car and I am going through the process to decide what kind of restoration will she go through. One part of me says not to try and fix what is not broke...another part of me is a little more ambitious and wants to go all the way to take this car back to how she was when she rolled out of the dealership.

While I am going through these thoughts I can not take my mind off the hideous seat covers which were added on to by the previous owner. I knew from the VIN codes that the car came in with velour interiors and during those days velour was second only to genuine leather and far more in vogue than MB-Tex.

However something (probably wearing out of the drivers side seat or maybe fetish for leather) had motivated the owner to buy leather from one of his friend who had a leather good factory and get these seat covers stitched. As you will agree they do not go well with the over all interior at all.

Name:  IMG_1963.JPG
Views: 18811
Size:  101.6 KB

I decide the first think I will do is remove all the seats and strip off the leather covers. This will also give me space to thoroughly scrub the interiors.

Name:  IMG_1962.JPG
Views: 18769
Size:  110.5 KB

Sadly I find that the leather had been glued to the velour using rubber cement. The rubber cement had caked over the velour and discolored it and given it a hard abrasive texture. I am a bit Pi***d at this sacrilege.

Name:  IMG_1968.JPG
Views: 18634
Size:  122.4 KB
Name:  IMG_1969.JPG
Views: 18534
Size:  113.8 KB

I decide to go shopping and get myself 5L of Paint Thinner, .5L of Dish Soap and Vinegar. I make a solution of thinner, soap and vinegar diluted somewhat and a Wet/Dry vacuum cleaner and use it to clean all the seats. I am successful in removing say 80% of the tar but sadly the velour can not be restored to its full glory. Here is what the before after looks like on one small section.

Name:  IMG_1978.JPG
Views: 18630
Size:  133.9 KB
Name:  IMG_1979.JPG
Views: 18537
Size:  138.9 KB

While the seats were out I removed all the carpets and cleaned them.
I also scrubbed the entire interior which had a black soot like deposit and scuff marks from boots all over. This comes out very well. Here are some pictures.

Name:  IMG_1911.JPG
Views: 18398
Size:  126.8 KB
Name:  IMG_1912.JPG
Views: 18372
Size:  117.6 KB
Name:  IMG_1913.JPG
Views: 18479
Size:  102.1 KB
Name:  IMG_1914.JPG
Views: 18357
Size:  145.4 KB

I also clean the headliner and dashboard, grease the door hinges and latch systems and the gear shift and inspect the floor for any rust or damage (which I do not find).

(End Sep 2014)
BowMan is offline   (30) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 10th March 2016, 10:24   #9
GTO
Team-BHP Support
 
GTO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 45,175
Thanked: 72,193 Times
Default Re: '83 Mercedes 240D - My W123 Restoration Diary

Congratulations on the beautiful W123 - can't take my eyes off it .

Have moved all your W123 posts into this new thread, so all of us can enjoy your story. Thanks for sharing!
GTO is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 10th March 2016, 13:41   #10
BHPian
 
unni246's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: KA-53 / KL-08
Posts: 119
Thanked: 56 Times
Default Re: '83 Mercedes 240D - My W123 Restoration Diary

Wonderful narrative BowMan
Me being a fan of w123 really got into the story and I could only imagine how Lucky you would be feeling at the moment for owning this beauty.
Awaiting more & more pictures!!

P.S Would you mind sharing the cost breakup you incurred at various stages?
unni246 is online now   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 10th March 2016, 14:45   #11
BHPian
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Gandhinagar
Posts: 127
Thanked: 311 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Congratulations on the beautiful W123 - can't take my eyes off it .

Have moved all your W123 posts into this new thread, so all of us can enjoy your story. Thanks for sharing!
Hey I'm glad and honored GTO.

And thanks for appreciating her (She now has a name btw. I call her Brynhildr).

Lots more coming up on her. My plan is to keep on adding one post for each month of her restoration project.

Quote:
Originally Posted by unni246 View Post
Wonderful narrative BowMan
Me being a fan of w123 really got into the story and I could only imagine how Lucky you would be feeling at the moment for owning this beauty.
Awaiting more & more pictures!!

P.S Would you mind sharing the cost breakup you incurred at various stages?
Hey thanks there Unni. I had spent a good number of years (at least 4-5 years if not more) preparing myself for the day I will own a W123. Truly the experience I had when I was driving her home was second to none.

Last edited by ampere : 10th March 2016 at 16:21. Reason: Back to back posts merged
BowMan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th March 2016, 15:32   #12
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Delhi
Posts: 4
Thanked: 3 Times
Smile Re: Mercedes Benz W123

Quote:
Originally Posted by BowMan View Post
I will now fast forward to August of 2014. Many months passed since I had last prospected a W123 and I was beginning to wonder if I was being too finicky.
.
.
.
[

WOW !! ... Clearly remember this car as a kid parked in front of "Dr. B's" house in the campus, the color is the same (good > 30 years back) Remember wondering what's the stuff attached to the roof of the boot when it was opened - the traffic warning reflector !! Congratulations on the acquisition BowMan ... wish you many lovely miles on it !

Last edited by aah78 : 8th August 2016 at 19:48. Reason: Large quote edited.
Siddash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th March 2016, 16:51   #13
BHPian
 
Rover2000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Chennai
Posts: 84
Thanked: 64 Times
Default Re: '83 Mercedes 240D - My W123 Restoration Diary

Owner's Pride, Neighbor's Envy!

Congratulations first! Simply wowed to see this beauty! Thank you for sharing.
Rover2000 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 10th March 2016, 23:19   #14
BHPian
 
karuvally's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Alappuzha
Posts: 37
Thanked: 49 Times
Default Re: '83 Mercedes 240D - My W123 Restoration Diary

You are one lucky man BowMan. Treat her nicely. I wish you both lots and lots of mile munching
karuvally is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 10th March 2016, 23:20   #15
BHPian
 
amit_shimla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Shimla
Posts: 30
Thanked: 16 Times
Default Re: '83 Mercedes 240D - My W123 Restoration Diary

Super story and a great car indeed. Just a suggestion, if the restoration is not complete then why don't you send it to Pavan Kadam, in my opinion he is the best man for this job.

Last edited by aah78 : 8th August 2016 at 19:50. Reason: Minor spell-check.
amit_shimla is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The Film Star: My 1983 Mercedes W123 240D aruncheloor Post-War 21 23rd October 2015 18:23
Me, My buddy and his Mercedes W123 240D -1984 vinayvtec Super-Cars & Imports in India 25 10th January 2014 13:11
Help Needed With W123 240d benzbala Post-War 35 21st March 2013 13:53
A single owner '85 W123 Mercedes 240D Ricky_63 Luxury, Imports & Niche 9 16th November 2010 23:02
Mercedes W115 240D Restoration inmate Post-War 13 1st April 2010 18:04


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 15:47.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks