It’s been a while since my last Garage Corner post, partly because I, myself, can’t even keep up with the recent changes. Actually, there’s really only been one major change, but it happened so quickly that I’m still not totally sure what I did, or whether I’m happy about it. This week’s trip to Germany and England didn’t help much either, because I seem to have developed a taste for a few cars of a very different breed from my latest acquisition: this Anthracite Grey on Palomino MBTex 1983 Mercedes-Benz 300D Turbodiesel.
As per my norm, a few weeks ago I found myself casually reading classified ads in a number of places, recently feeling the tractor beam-like tug from my favorite standard youngtimer classic: the Mercedes-Benz W123. I am especially fond of the turbocharged 5-cylinder cars. They can get out of their own way, get reasonably good mileage, and if maintained have a half-life approximating that of uranium. Fantastic cars, through and through, and I know how to take a decent one and make it much better without too much effort.
So I stumbled across this gem – 182,000 miles, nearly no rust, no musty interior smells, and fully functional windows, locks, AC and cruise – somewhat unusual for W123s these days. The one rust spot present is in the bottom of the passenger side front fender – a typical W123 weak spot. There was some previous rust repair on one of the rear wheel arches, but it was properly cut out and replaced. The owner had also invested fairly heavily in front suspension work, and the car had a current Virginia state inspection. So I did the only logical thing, and I brought it home.
It was about 24 hours later that my friendly neighborhood accountant called to tell me in a very roundabout way that for the first time ever, we owed the government money above what they’d already taken out of our paychecks throughout the year. Crap. So I debated for about a day, and ultimately decided that since I’d more or less finished the “to do” list on the MX-5 Miata, I’d find a new home for that and play classic Mercedes for a while.
So with that, the Miata has moved to Richmond and is now in the capable hands of a military fellow who bought it to replace an identical one wrecked last fall. Meanwhile, I had immediate pangs of regret at not being able to jump in my tiny little back road thrasher and wind it out through the revs and power through the corners, opting instead for a more leisurely driving experience consisting of a lot of clatter and a lot of bulk. And then I went to Europe, and drove and rode in a series of impressive sports and performance cars, which made me not only long that much more for the Miata, but also for something maybe a little more hardcore – like the 1980s vintage Porsche 911 discussed in the blog about the Essen show. This is really quite a disease.
In the meantime, I’ll plod along with the diesel, until something else catches my eye. I’ve already ordered the European headlights along with a series of smaller bits and bobs. I’m contemplating the bodywork, and potentially a full body respray – but there is this lingering fear that I will over-invest myself. So if the right offer came along…….