► The Mercedes-Benz W123 is proving more popular than ever
► Values have softened through 2020 making them a good buy
► Richy Barnett explains why these drops are good news for you
► For all latest auction calendar, visit Classic Cars for Sale
Prices for Mercedes-Benz’ rugged W123 models have slipped back during this year’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – but demand for the smaller-engined entry-level models is picking up.
Analysis of examples being sold at UK auctions shows that the average price dropped back from £4662 in 2019 to £3100 for the examples sold so far this year, but with prices for the entry-level 200 and 230 variants and the saloons – which are generally less sought-after than the estate and CE-branded coupé versions, picking up during sales held during the lockdown.
However, market experts say that while the number of them coming onto the market is keeping values in check, the W123 range is proving consistently popular with buyers due to their usability, with many still being pressed into service as daily drivers rather than classics that make occasional show visits.
Over-engineering makes them perfect classics
Barons’ director, Peter Gascoigne, said: ‘Mercedes sold 2.7 million W123s, meaning they were popular new, and they’re still popular now. Made in saloon, estate, limousine and coupe form, the W123 was renowned for being bulletproof, because they were hugely over-engineered, and were the last of the “million-mile” Mercs. Even now they don’t look dated, they just look elegant, with an interior with a timeless quality.
‘W123s are wanted because owning one is easy, and there are plenty to choose from. So be picky, buy the best you can afford, repairing a Mercedes can be an expensive exercise. The coupes and the estates fetch the most money, but all versions are lovely to own.’
Director of online-only auction specialist The Market, Tristan Judge, said the W123 was an iconic classic, but one that’s still being pressed into regular service today.
He said: ‘The coupé and estate versions are particularly in demand, but with all W123s that’s only when the example is in cracking condition. Sometimes the mileage is irrelevant as people know how good these cars can be if serviced properly.’
Conclusion – buy now and enjoy later
CCW’s markets editor, Richard Barnett, said: ‘It says something that many owners regard this mid-sized model as just a reliable old car rather than a classic. To many Benz enthusiasts it’s the end of a long-line of models dating from when the company was controlled by engineers rather than accountants.
‘Coupés and estates are especially popular but saloons rightly have a good following, with the smaller-engined 200 and 230 models gaining in popularity in recent years.’
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