Monday, January 8, 2018

Family Machine: 1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 wagon

The W124 Mercedes-Benz chassis was the first Benz given the official E-Class nomenclature and one of the finest examples of German engineering & build quality you can find.  These cars are nearing 20 years old, but still feel/drive/look modern, something you wouldn't say of most early '90s American or Japanese luxury cars. Find this 1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 wagon offered for $4,450 in SF Bay Area, CA via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck

From the seller:

1995 Mercedes E320 wagon 4Sale, Low Miles & Clean

For sale 1995 Mercedes E320 Wagon, Very good condition, low miles for the year, clean title & CARFAX vehicle history report. ( see report ) I bought this car for family but, wife wants a minivan instead. Recent serviced & smogged by local MB/BMW service center in Berkeley, CA (see receipts) Just want to get my money back. I paid $4,450 and that's all I want.

Clean body line and interior, 3rd seats to seats 7, never on accident, garaged all the time, all system works, power locks/ windows and sunroof. All four tires are good, the service receipts and clean CARFAX vehicle history report will say it all. Just want to sell fast to get a minivan for my wife & kids. Just registered recently, only owner transfer is needed. Please email or text to check the car.

Asking $4,450

See a better family hauler?


  1. These rust like crazy in the NE.

  2. my buddy, Rick, the mercedes nut, said the following: "The best Benz were built before 1990... after that, Lexus arrived, and Mercedes cheaped out on parts and materials... If you want an old MB, buy one that was built before nineteen-ninety... they are tanks! But still, very expensive to maintain!"

    1. In a sense, he's correct, but it's for different reasons than he speculates. Cars built before the 90's, particularly German ones, were over-engineered and over-built. For example, suppose the engineers were designing a metal component with a desired 15-20 year life span. Their approach then was "our calculations say we need 4mm of steel here to achieve this, let's go with 5mm to be safe.

      In the 90's, AutoCAD and similar programs became the norm, and software could tell you EXACTLY how to engineer a component of a car right up to the edge of that desired usable life. Ever wonder why so many things seem to break on modern cars at a) right after the warranty expiration and/or b) 100k miles? This is why. Cars aren't built with "better safe than sorry" in mind from an engineering it's "just enough and no more".

      That's a huge part---the other piece is Mother Earth. I'm not offering a good/bad commentary here, just pointing out facts. Once it became mandated that a certain percentage of a car's components be recyclable, the quality of parts (particularly interior parts) took a nose dive. Disintegrating, crumbling wiring harnesses in everything from Benzes to Volvos, Door panels delaminating and glove box trim falling off e36 m3's, you name it.......super high quality plastic/vinyl parts from the 80's and prior just aren't as recyclable as the parts that succeeded them in the 90's.

      The one area your friend is closer to the truth actually concerns Japanese cars. Through the mid-90's, the build quality of most Japanese cars (particularly Honda and Toyota) was second to none. The first LS400 is an engineering and production marvel. Then in the mid-90's, a phenomenon called "decontenting" hit the industry. Toyota execs realized they could take out gold plated electrical connectors, sound insulation, and make their plastics harder and lower quality and 90% of their customers wouldn't notice---their profits soared and their car's quality ultimately suffered.

      Anyhoo, interesting topic, just wanted to throw in my .02.

    2. Thanks for the lesson, Fleetwood. And your points are exactly congruous with my observations, as well. Decontenting especially hurt the typically staid luxury brands, in my experience.

  3. The W124 cars debuted in 86 so half of the production run was after the Lexus debut. You can look toward the replacement W210 E class as to when things took a turn for the worse- OM606 td engine excepted...

  4. I had a 1999 w140 (last year) and it was built so well. One of the best cars I have owned.

    1. yup...IMHO, the w140 is probably the last of the "built to a standard" Mercedes. Not to say later Benzes are bad cars, just not what I'd ever call "overengineered" anymore.


Commenting Commandments:
I. Thou Shalt Not write anything your mother would not appreciate reading.
II. Thou Shalt Not post as anonymous unless you are posting from mobile and have technical issues. Use name/url when posting and pick something Urazmus B Jokin, Ben Dover. Sir Edmund Hillary Clint don't matter. Just pick a nom de plume and stick with it.
III. Honor thy own links by using <a href ="http://www.linkgoeshere"> description of your link </a>
IV. Remember the formatting tricks <i>italics</i> and <b> bold </b>
V. Thou Shalt Not commit spam.
VI. To embed images: use [image src="" width="400px"/]. Limit images to no wider than 400 pixels in width. No more than one image per comment please.