1986 Mercedes 280 TE (W123)

The Car


This ’86 Mercedes 280TE is one of the last RHD W123 estates ever made. According to the build card it ran off the production line in November 1985. As a ‘run out model’ it is fitted with nearly all the options available at the time.


It is finished in possibly the best colour/trim combination of Petrol Blue (MB877) with factory biscuit leather. The car is very complete and still has the tool kit, first aid kit and warning triangle and comes with the original Blaupunkt Melbourne stereo.


Next to the already rich equipment list of the 280TE, this car is equipped with the following options:


Sliding sunroof (option 411)

Alloy wheels (640)

Anti-lock braking system (ABS) (470)

Tempo-mat Cruise Control (440)

Behr Air Conditioning

Electric windows front and rear (586)

Heated front seats (873)

7 seats option (folding seat in boot) (844)

Town and Country horn (452)

Headlamp wiper/washer (600)

Fire extinguisher (682)

Baggage rack on roof between the chrome rails (722)

Rear seat bench divided 1/3:2/3 (843)

Four-speed automatic gearbox (420).

Front Seat belt tensioners


The History


The car comes complete with extensive paperwork and completed service book up to 281,000 miles service in 2007 and now including the latest service at 289,000 in 2016.


The Pre-delivery inspection was done by Mercedes Dealer Normand Mayfair of Park Lane, London on 23-4-1986 and the car was delivered to the customer on 22/5/1986. The first owner used the car at his country house in Hertfordshire. The first services were done by Normand Mayfair of Park lane but the service history shows the car being serviced in Norwich in 1988 where it stays till 1991. It then moves to the Cambridge area and was serviced by Maloney & Rhodes Mercedes. The last recorded service in the original service book was at 137k miles in 1996 by Vardy of Cambridge before the booklet runs out of space.  


A new additional service booklet had been issued by Mercedes specialist Derrick Wells of Suffolk at 154K miles on 12/6/1997. The car stays in regular service with Derrick Wells until June 2007. A quick phone call to Derrick Wells told us that the car first served as Mr Wells’ private car and subsequently was used as a courtesy car for customers for many years.

The last service was done at 281K miles in 2007.


Post 2007 there are record of MoT’s but no record of service but the car had covered only 5800 miles between 2007 and 2015 when we acquired the car at an auction.




First impressions of the car after inspection, we could see a tired car, but at the same time a unique package of equipment options, a desirable colour combination and late production year


Following a thorough inspection of the car it became clear to us that this was a car to be preserved and we decided to do the restoration.


The body of the car needed repairs to the underside at the usual places the W123’s show rust; front sills and parts of the floor, rear sill corners and rear chassis rails and several other common areas that were starting to rust or were badly repaired in the past.

The body panels were in remarkably good condition considering its age. The good maintenance done by Derrick Wells had obviously paid off. Nevertheless some repair to the rear panels was necessary and the rear wheel arches showed some rust in places. So far, nothing unusual for a W123.


The front and rear suspension needed to be overhauled with new bushes, bearings, ball joints, front shock absorbers and seals. The rear suspension now has new self-levelling spheres. All brake callipers, flex lines and pipes are overhauled and/or replaced. Brake back plates have also been replaced along with the brake discs and pads.


The Air Conditioning has been overhauled with refurbished compressor, condenser, new dryer and expansion valve.


All car electrics are checked and repaired where necessary, incl. the cruise control and are now once again in perfect working condition.


The car now benefits from a new front and rear wind screen. All weather seals are replaced where needed.


All 5 alloy wheels are checked, re-aligned and refurbished and now fitted with new Michelin tyres, in the correct size for this car; 195/70-HR 14.


Paint work has been fully striped down by means of paint stripper as several old attempts of a respray had left the car with several layers of paints of unknown quality. After repair of all before mentioned minor rust issues and replacing front wings, it received a full re-spray in the car’s original colour (MB877 Petrol Blue). The double primer method was used on this car, where the car was spayed in a coat of primer before and after any bodywork blemishes were evened out.


All chrome work has been repaired / re-chromed.


Following a partial overhaul which includes complete strip down of the cylinder head and an assessment of internal parts and replacement of worn items the M110 engine runs beautifully with perfect oil pressure.


After the restoration is completed, the car went through an extensive testing period that took several weeks and about 500 miles of test-drive. The car was then independently inspected and has an MoT in November 2016.