'Modern' Merc is Buckley's latest ridiculously cheap smoker


Author: Martin BuckleyPublished:

I know it’s rather letting the side down but as a ‘smoker’ I have just bought a Mercedes W210 300 Turbo Diesel with tax and ticket for absurdly little money.

I remember I quite liked this shape when it came out because of the sloping headlamps, but it seemed to date quickly and it will always be the Mercedes that reintroduced rust into the equation; you may recall there were lots of warranty claims when the water-based paint started falling off some of them.

But this one is nearly rust free, has leather and air-con (it needs a re-charge inevitably) five speed automatic gearbox and all the rest of it. Plus, other than the spivvy lowered suspension and AMG wheels, it looks pretty smart and goes well.

Tomorrow we will be making a trip to Gloucestershire Mercedes breaker SL Pagoda to get a switch for the heater blower.

What made me smile was the reaction it got when I took it to my local Albanian car wash across the road.

They always greet me with a smile and are somewhat bemused by my usual cars (‘Hey boss: why you only drive old car?’) but the silver 300 Turbo Diesel was thoroughly approved of, even lusted after... here’s a vehicle with performance and economy you can aspire to and if you are 25 years old and it’s probably a kind of classic.

They even bid me on it, but it's worth more to me as an everyday barge and possible tow car to replace the faithful Skoda Octavia TDi. Anyway enough of this ‘modern’ rubbish...



AD Crawford


I made this mistake a few years back...bought an e class tdi estate as the "old smoker" ... huge boot and very low price. I have had many old mercs in the past to fulfil the old smoker role but this one was simply the most shoddily built, unreliable, embarrassment to the three pointed star. Quite how they let these things out the factory gates amazes me they really are the worst built car to ever emanate from Germany and are cheap for very good reason.

W124s are held in high regard for the exact opposite reason. Mark my words...in ten years there will simple be no W210s left - all scrapped or expired of their own accord. I look forward to reading Martin's travails with this horror of a vehicle.

This same warning applies to anyone tempted by an early ML Class!

Pre 80s TVR

My Dad had a 2.2 diesel one, and to be fair it was never unreliable, despite the fact that he managed to put petrol in it 3 times (and this is a man who ran petrol stations for 20 years!)
However the body rot was unreal, no wonder it continued to record 50mpg, by the time it had passed 110k miles it only weighed half what it had originally.
How Merc recovered from this when Alfa and Lancia are still remembered for cars they built in the 1970s is beyond me.


TVR Car Club Pre80s Editor

Coventry Climax

I remember thinking what a great shape the W210 was when it first came out (apart from the rather bland tail), but tellingly they're already quite a rare sight here in Frankfurt these days. There are probably more W123s and W124s parked near my house than W210s.

cabbie 457

As you will know of course loads were used as taxis which can be picked up for pennies. If you ignore the aircon failure and can scrape it thru an MOT the car will go on for ever. The 2.2 diesel were much better on fuel if you tread softly.

Chris C

Chris Martin

I'll bet my 1985 W123 280E outlives it anyway. Cost me AU$2,300 last year, that would be about 1,500 pounds, with 300,000kms on the clock. Goes well, no rust, just had ball joints and timing chain done and fluids changed regularly. The good thing about them was they were made of heavier metal, not plastic, and there are basic electrical systems, not loaded with computers like the later models.The bad news is fuel consumption, but what I pay there I save in ridiculously cheap service and maintenance costs.
And, the air-con works and blows icy cold!
Chris M.



Isn't a smoker just a cheap old luxo car in need of a little tlc? Does it have to be seen as a real classic? I bet Martin paid peanuts for it, much less than he would a W123/4, so does it really matter if it expires in 6 months? I'm sure he'll get his money back one way or another...



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