Introduced in 1985 in North America, the W124 Mercedes-Benz E-Class was a smash success. The 300 E was essentially the only option available for us over here, but was offered as a sedan, coupe, wagon, and a convertible. We had the opportunity to review a 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300 E sedan with AMG suspension and appearance packages.
The drive was expected for a 30 year old car, and that wasn't a bad thing. I've driven my share of cars older than I and this one was easily my favourite. There's no issue starting it up and that bullet-proof engine roars to life when you ask it to. Speed and acceleration aren't the strong points for a car of this age, but it's sufficient to get where you need to go.
During it's initial run, the W124 was considered to be one of the most reliable luxury cars available on the market, and continued into the resale market as well. As these cars hit 3 decades of age that can still ring true if they've been well maintained and cared for over the years. Late model W124s had biodegradable wiring harnesses which eroded after a couple years, but most should have been replaced. You can tell quickly by looking for exposed/bare wires where the insulation would normally be.
What seems to be a common problem amongst older Mercedes are window regulators, so check if those work and replace all if you need to. Climate Control was introduced on these cars and was a relatively new technology that ends up killing the A/C. Mixed with non-functioning windows and you've got a serious heat problem during those summer months. We've also found that despite the large amount of room under the hood of a 300 E, the water pump and serpentine belt tensioner aren't easily accessible.
There aren't a lot of these W124s left out there, as parting out a car is becoming more cost-effective than selling it whole. There are diehard enthusiasts out there and during our time searching for unique and interesting Mercedes-Benz models we've met several local W124 owners. We hope to feature a few more over the summer and assemble enough data to put together a full Buyers Guide on these cars.
If you want to know more about our Spotlight on this 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300 E AMG you can check out our video on YouTube.