1991 Mercedes-Benz 300TE 4-Matic Station Wagon (pre Mercedes E320; W124 Chassis)
Price: - Item location: Olympia, Washington, United States
- Condition: Used
- Make: Mercedes-Benz
- Model: E-Class
- SubModel: Wagon
- Type: Station Wagon (Estate, Touring)
- Trim: 300 Series
- Year: 1991
- Mileage: 182,053
- VIN: WDBED90E4MF160720
- Color: White
- Engine size: 3.0 Inline 6 103.985
- Number of cylinders: 6
- Fuel: Gasoline
- Transmission: Automatic
- Drive type: AWD
- Interior color: Gray
- Drive side: Left-hand drive
- Safety options: Anti-Lock Brakes, Driver Airbag, Passenger Airbag
- Options: 4-Wheel Drive, Leather Seats, Sunroof
- Vehicle Title: Clear Want to buy? Contact seller!
1991 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 300 SeriesWelcome to the sale of my family's 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300TE 4-Matic Wagon. Built on the legendary w124 chassis, this two-owner example is extremely clean and, with regular maintenance, ready to serve for another 200,000+ miles. This is our fourth w124 and in many ways is the best that we've found, but as our family ages we find that we now have different needs. (Incidentally, our first was this car's identical twin, and we sold it with 330,000 miles. It didn't need a damn thing and I still see it around town 11 years later, but I "had" to buy a Land Rover. The fates punished me for my hubris.)
Absolutely everything works in this car. It is supremely comfortable--better than any modern car I can think of--and has a fantastic ride. It's very quiet, the climate control works a treat, and there's superb visibility. The rear self-leveling air suspension works perfectly and has no leaks or maintenance concerns. The transmission shifts better than my creampuff 420SEL with 70,000 miles. It's not quick, but easily keeps up with traffic, and I once averaged nearly 90 miles an hour from Vancouver, Washington to Olympia, a distance of over 100 miles. Brakes and steering are excellent. The seats are every bit as comfortable as the best Volvo or Recaro chairs--another area where this car is superior to my "fancier" w126.
Options/Luxury Standard Features:
- Leather seats, front and rear. This option is relatively rare on wagons. The grey perforated leather is soft, pliable, and luxurious.
- Power front seats. All motors work perfectly with the exception of the passenger headrest. This you can set manually as you would in any car, and it will stay where you set it.
- Heated front seats. This is a very rare option on wagons
- Automated climate control, which works effectively across the temperature range. The A/C system is fully charged with R-12 coolant. The fan makes no weird noises at any setting.
- Leather steering wheel, with a fat rim, in contrast to most other Mercedes of the era
- Driver and passenger air bags
- Zebrano wood trim in very, very good shape. There's the slightest bit of crazing in the flat console panel, but no hazing or deep cracks. A stereo installer chipped a pencil-eraser sized spot from it.
- A modern Pioneer AM/FM/Bluetooth/MP3 unit, with excellent, easy-to-use Bluetoothconnectivity and hands-free calling. All speakers work great. Lots of Mercedes cut from channel to channel, but this works consistently
- Roof rack with moveable/removable cross rails
- Sliding and tilting sunroof, which works perfectly--no binding, no noises, no slowness
- Antilock Braking System, with four-wheel disc brakes
- Stability control, linked to an on-demand all-wheel drive system. Under normal use, the car is rear wheel drive. When slip is detected, the front wheels engage. We tested this feature last year in the snow and it works seamlessly and effectively
- Soft-close rear tailgate
- Rear washer/wiper
- Central locking
- Power windows, with driver controlling whether back seat passengers can open their windows. None are slow or bind
- Mercedes wool floor mats
- Goodyear deeply patterned rubber mats
- Bridgestone Potenza tires, with approximately 33% remaining front, 60% rear
- Factory alarm system
- Self-leveling air-ride rear suspension
- Locking cubicle on the console. These often have broken wood sections--this one is perfect
- Retractable, removable load area cover and dog divider
- Rear seats fold down for a perfectly flat loading area that easily fits a bicycle with both wheels in place
- Please note: this car does NOT have the third-row seat in the rear, to bring the carrying capacity from five to seven passengers, but these can easily be retrofitted with parts from craigslist.
I'm going to be as transparent as possible, knowing just what a leap of faith it is to buy a car online. My reputation is worth more to me than a few bucks I might gain momentarily by fleecing someone. I'm making a long list of issues, but I guarantee that a similar tough examination of almost any mid-90s German car would prompt a much longer list.
- There are some small scratches and door dings commensurate with a well-loved, well cared-for two-owner car of this age that has never been repainted
- The bumpers (a weak spot on these cars) are in excellent condition. There may be scratching on the lower edge of the front air dam, but not visibly so
- The lights and lenses are all good. The foglight/"headlamp doors" are a little speckled, but there are no cracks. Please note that one of the photos shows three tailights turned on--there's only one rear fog lamp fitted, per German practice, and everything is working as designed.
- There's a nickle-sized spot of rust (still covered by white paint, but raised) adjacent to the rearmost, passenger-side window.
- Alignment of all doors, the hood, and the hatch are excellent. I believe all to be original. They all close with minimal effort
- All outside trim and weather stripping is excellent. There are no broken clips.
- The doors' check-straps are quiet and well lubricated.
- The power antenna works well except that it doesn't retract the last four inches (see photos)
- All glass is unmarked. The windshield has been replaced, and has no chips or sandblasting.
- The wheels have slight road rash and the clearcoat is lifting at edges, but they aren't nearly as bad as most Mercedes of this age.
- Some dye is worn from the driver's seat left bolster
- There's a 2.5 inch fold in the driver's seat cushion on which the dye is worn
- The spring inside the passenger seat's heater switch is missing, so it defaults to the "low" setting. You can manually set it off or to high as needed. The switch is just a few dollars, but I ordered the wrong generation and never rectified the error
- There's a pencil-eraser sized chip at the edge of the wood console trim.
- The passenger headrest motor does not work, but the headrest can be set manually
- The interior c-pillar covers are slightly cracked, and you must take care when lowering the rear seat so as not to foul and tear them
- The carpets are clean except for two spots which I'm sure would respond to shampooing
- The headliner is unmarked and has no sags
- There are no squeaks or other noises as the car drives
- There are no water leaks
- The car smells good. It's never been smoked in
- The orange paint on the instrument panel is the best I've ever seen, which is how you can tell that this car has always been garaged (this fades to yellow in MBs kept outdoors)
- The center console locking cubby is intact, the wood-and-fabric segmented cover is perfect, and the lock works
- All lighting is perfect
- There's a squeak in the steering column when applying lots of steering lock (e.g., right-angle turns); it doesn't squeak when going down the road
- Seriously, folks, this is an interior you could happily live with for the rest of your life. Comfortable, classy, clean, and wears like iron. I think it compares favorable to that of any $60,000 modern car, particularly when you factor the outward visibility, which new cars just don't provide.
- Wiring harness--a weak point on these cars--was obviously replaced at some point. I've had zero electrical issues, and can find no areas where the insulation is broken
- Perfect cold starts, always by second turn of the key, and usually by the first
- Hot starts may require an inch of throttle, and two or three turns of the ignition; otherwise fine
- Oil pressure takes 1 second to rise, according to gauge
- Oil pressure at hot idle is lower than ideal; approx. .8 bar
- Oil pressure when driving is fine; at top of gauge
- Car leaks oil. I add a quart approx every 1,000 miles. If it's burning oil, it's not visible, either as a cloud when driving behind it, or as residue on the paint
- Engine operating temperature is normal under all conditions. I don't have records, but this car has a Behr radiator with a steel (rather than plastic) top, meaning that it was replaced at some point.
- All hoses (cooling, oil, hydraulic, brakes) look and feel like new
- Power steering is quiet and doesn't leak
- Belts are all good
- Timing chain is quiet--guides seem good
- At parking lot speeds, applying lots of steering lock (e.g., turning into a parking space at walking speeds) causes front driveshafts to bind a little. I've felt this in other AWD cars, and it's probably just an irritant common to AWD.
- Here's the biggie: last summer, on a 95 degree day when I was driving up Snoqualmie Pass and was at altitude, the transmission locked into third gear, and would neither upshift nor freewheel. On the ride home, it did this again, even on flats, and so I took backroads. I had it checked out but the mechanic didn't find anything to fix. Those were extreme conditions and it hasn't reoccurred, which leads me to think that a piece of debris may have blocked a valve or something (NOT A MECHANIC AM I). However, because this hasn't been positively resolved I'd be reluctant to say come on up to Washington and drive this home to Florida. I can't guarantee that it won't reoccur, even though it hasn't happened to me again in the intervening 11 months.
- Parking brake is slack and needs to be adjusted, and I think the rear pads are near needing replacement.
- I purchased the car from a truck dealer who'd bought it from the original owner's estate, after he passed away. (I'm not counting the dealer as an owner when I say this is a two-owner car.) As a result, there are no service records from his multi-decade ownership. Please see the photos for a spreadsheet showing the service I've had done and the parts I've installed.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or would like to see any additional photos or videos.
Thank you, and happy bidding!