It was the icon of luxury in its day and is now a collectible car (or a regular taxi cab in France). The Mercedes-Benz W123 300D was the first car I ever drove, repaired, and tor apart and it will always be a classic example of the durability a good Mercedes-Benz could offer.
The Mercedes-Benz 300D started production in 1976 and made their last car in 1985. Despite this relatively short run and age of the car (between 24 and 33 years old) you can still see the 300D out on the roads today. Diesel engine were still a fairly new idea for North Americans but it was cheaper to buy than gasoline. So when the gas crisis occurred in the late 1970′s many people turned towards the 300D as an alternative.
Anyone who had to drive a diesel car back then will now that the smell of burning sulfur and heavy black smoke was something that took some getting used to. You also had to find a way to get your car started in the cold winter months. The 300D needed to always be plugged in over night to keep the engine warm and the glow plugs had to be primed at least twice before starting the engine.
You also had to get used to the lack of power a 300D could provide. Despite being a luxury car it was no where near as powerful as the regular Chevy, Ford or GM of the time. Compared to the pony cars and heavy sedans the the time, the 300D was kind of that sissy at the playground who always gets picked on cause they never fight back. The engine was big – a 3.0L 5I a feat for diesel engineering in its days but not powerful and could only get you at best 88 hp. The engine may have been weak but it proved to be lasting. When cars normally break down after a few years, the 300D are still going today with some surpassing the 1 million miles mark.
Image: Wikipedia.org & Mercedes-Benz.com