Adventures of acquring a Mercedes-Benz W123 300D

The W123 generation has become increasingly collectible (for good reason!). In my opinion, in India at least, the Turbodiesel features in the the top-tier of collectible W123s.

BHPian ///Rman recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Tuesday, 1st February 2022

My friend, let’s call him V, from Goa, called me a little past noon and told me he's flying down to Bombay the same night. He had called to ask me if I'd be free to accompany him to see a couple of cars the next morning. I said it would not be possible since I had some work the following day and it was too short a notice to cancel/postpone it.

With absolutely no plan to head out anywhere the next day, I went out for a drive that night.

The city was experiencing some lovely weather the past few of weeks and driving at night was the best way to do justice to this unexpected yet very welcome nip in the Bombay temperatures!

A non-AC, analog car was THE best way to drive around Bombay, especially with the mercury hovering around 19° C (yes this is COLD by Mumbai standards, for the non-Mumbai readers)

En route Worli - 10:15PM

The phone rang. V's name flashed on the screen.

V: Come on! You have to come along, it'll be fun!

Me: Nah, very very unlikely. Especially to confirm to you at this hour of the day.

V: Try try! I'm going to call you again in a bit, and I want a confirmation from you.

Me: Ok, where are we going again?

V: Ahmedabad, bro!

Me: Whaaaat!? No chance, not happening!

V: Hangs up on the phonecall before I said anything further.

Worli Seaface, Mumbai - 10:30PM

Just after, Loyal, my untrusty ( ) friend and trusty FNG, called -

Loyal: V called, he said you are coming along with us too! I'm seeing you at 6AM tomorrow, right?

Me: Huh? I'm told him I won't be able to join. You guys proceed. I'll see you later!

Bumped into a bunch of nice cars at Worli Seaface, this R129 SL320 looking smashing in the yellow lights at night.

Just then, dad called and said the work scheduled the following morning wasn't happening. I immediately took the opportunity to ask if I was needed around, else if I could head to Ahmedabad the next morning. He was surely taken aback at the random question, but said I could! Yay!

I quickly called up V to tell him that I'll be joining him and Loyal for the drive. While on the call, we also planned the place and time to meet the next morning. Reached home at around 12:30AM, packed and went to bed at around 2:00AM, with multiple alarms for 5AM, as we had targeted a 6AM departure.

As last-minute plans go, this was the most impromptu trip in a long long time.

Wednesday, 2nd February 2022

The alarms were of no use the next morning. I was woken up by a barrage of calls, by both Loyal & V. They had come all the way to my house since I hadn't picked their calls! I quickly got ready, and we were off!

The Hyundai Creta was our ride to Ahmedabad.

After a sumptuous breakfast at Ahura, we proceeded onwards to Ahmedabad.

The drive was nice, although speeds were kept in check thanks to loads of traffic coming in the wrong direction. Gets extremely annoying and is seemingly rampant all across Gujarat.

Took us about ~8.5 hours to reach our destination on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

Upon reaching the seller's location, we were told the car was at the washing center, and in about 10-15 more minutes, she drove in!

The first turbodiesel in the tale - this beautiful Mercedes-Benz W123 300D Turbodiesel!

The W123 generation has become increasingly collectible (for good reason!). In my opinion, in India at least, the Turbodiesel features in the the top-tier of collectible W123s. This partly because the larger engined petrol W123s are kind of unicorns, while the other petrol engines are in much lesser number compared to their diesel counterparts. Coupled with the robustness that the W123 has become synonymous with, this car seemed like a great buy, should it come at the right price.

This W123 was imported from Canada to somewhere in North India. After moving between a few owners around in North India, it was sold to Gujarat and has been with the owner since. The owner of the car has since moved to somewhere in Europe and had entrusted the responsibility of selling the car to his mechanic, who had maintained the car since it was acquired.

Finished in a greyish-blue shade that Mercedes calls Diamond Blue Metallic, the car is a 1985 model. Automatic transmission, AC, cruise control - the car is loaded to the gills!

The seller, Loyal and my friend V started their discussions, checking the paperwork et al, while I went off to see some other stuff that was being worked on by the mechanic/seller.

A lovely Beetle, getting done up.

A W123 300D, this one being the naturally aspirated one.

A second and third Beetle as well, which I did not take more pictures of since I was asked to not take any.

A Nissan Cedric too was parked in a faraway corner.

A spare Beetle engine!

While I was strolling about the space looking at all the interesting stuff that was around, I never realized Loyal and V had vanished with the car, and they only got back about an hour later, after taking the car for a 30-odd km test drive.

With the test drive done, intense negotiations ensued for the net hour and half. Multiple calls made to the owner in Europe, and then finally, the deal was done!

We quickly paid the token amount, with the remaining amount to be paid before collecting the car the following day. The main reason for doing it the next day was that the car would get thoroughly checked before we drive it back to Mumbai, as well as the seller said he'd try and get a quick NOC for inter-state transfer of registration.

Since it was dusk by the time we got done, we headed to get some food before heading to Ahmedabad (yep, we had skipped lunch! because cars come first  )

En route the restaurant, spotted this in the back of a dilapidated building

After grabbing a nice meal, we hit the highway, with not more than 35kms to travel to the city centre.

About 4-kms before the Baroda-Ahmedabad Expressway ended, everything on the road came to a grinding halt. A couple of trucks, one loaded with liquid chemical and the other carrying huge pipes had crashed and the entire traffic had come to a standstill.

This unforeseen interruption lasted a whole 4 hours! Our ETA on the Maps showed 9:15PM when we left, while we reached the hotel only after 12:30AM.

You know you are in Gujarat when the only stall open way past midnight is an Amul stall!

An unexpectedly long day, which started at 5AM, had finally come to an end when we crashed into our beds.

The serene Sabarmati waterfront clicked way past 2:00AM. I believe that this time shows the absolute obverse version of any bustling city, be it Mumbai, Ahmedabad, or Delhi.

Continue reading BHPian ///Rman's report on how he travelled to GJ to pick up a W123.

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