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1990 Mercedes 300E-24 Sportline

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1990 Mercedes 300E-24 Sportline


The Mercedes W124 is legendary for its bulletproof engineering, bank -vault construction and no-nonsense reliability: the cars might not be especially sporting or economical to drive but they will plod along quite happily on the merest sniff of an oily rag once a year. 

But, that staid exterior hides a surprisingly sophisticated chassis: the entire W124 range is far more aerodynamic than its boxy shape would have you believe and the multilink rear suspension - complete with self-levelling suspension as standard on the estates – is reliable, refined and gives a very good ride. 

The straight-six petrol engine we are looking at here is reliable, powerful, refined and far more fun to use than most mid-market estate cars thanks to the optional five-speed automatic gearbox and 231bhp engine, a combination that yields a 0-62mph time of around eight seconds and a cruising speed of well over two miles a minute. It handled too, thanks to the Sportline-fettled chassis and the unfettered rear-wheel-drive layout.

The Vehicle

First registered on the 3rd of April 1993, this W124 300E Sportline 24V was clearly specified by someone with impeccable taste as well as very deep pockets because it features the rare five-speed automatic gearbox (almost all had only four speeds) and the straight-six, 24-valve high-performance petrol engine.

As the even rarer Sportline chassis model, it also features seven-inch wide wheels and lower-profile tyres, quick-ratio steering, a slightly lowered ride height and tuned suspension that includes shorter and stiffer springs as well as uprated dampers, anti-roll bars, and bushings. This little lot, plus air-conditioning and cruise control, make this a real driver’s car. 

In the care of the same family since new and part of a Mercedes-only collection, it’s spent most of its life in dry storage so is still showing under 10,000 miles on the odometer, a quite remarkable feat and one that explains its staggeringly good condition.

Very clean and still showing signs of the original Waxoyl treatment, it is finished in Pearl Blue metallic with a grey leather interior. Freshly MOT’d, a feat it accomplished without drawing the attention of the MOT tester, it is in need of nothing other than a new owner.

On the Outside

The Pearl Blue metallic coachwork looks every bit as good as you’d expect of a W124 with fewer than five figures on the odometer. With ultra-tight shutlines and ripple-free flanks, the alignment is nothing short of miraculous for a 30-year-old car.

The two-tone blue paintwork is good too being vibrant and fresh. The black trim is still glossy and dark too, and the limited chromework still gleams and the badging, light lenses, and glazing look like new. This really is a very well preserved car indeed.

Fitted with 15-inch alloy wheels and matching 206/60ZR15 Goodyear Eagle NCT tyres, all four are in great shape apart from the usual scuffing to the nearside front wheel, you know, the one everyone kerbs when they park. 

Plus, as we will never tire of explaining, our experience shows that matching high-quality tyres are an infallible sign of a caring and mechanically sympathetic owner who is prepared to spend the appropriate amount in maintaining their car properly. Their presence does not, of course, preclude the need for a thorough inspection - something the vendor would welcome, by the way – but it does perhaps give you a shortcut into their attitude towards maintenance.

Other problems are few. Aside from the inevitable stonechips and minor marks that even a car as carefully conserved as this will collect over the years, the front grille is slightly damaged and there is a bit of a mark along the top of the offside front wing. Slide numbers #43 and #146 refer.

On the Inside

The interior is typically restrained and impressively pared down but what there is in there is beautifully fitted and very well-maintained. The grey leather seats, for example are barely creased and still as supportive and comfortable as the day they were fitted.

The wooden veneer trim is still glossy and unmarked, and the carpets, ruched door cards, and headlining are all still time-warp fresh. The white lettering on the switches and dials is still bright and clean too, and they still operate with the sort of precision that made German cars a byword for engineering fastidiousness back in the day.  

It really is a joy to see such a clean, minimalistic interior, one that proves in the clearest way possible that luxury cars do not need to be overloaded with gizmos to make them appealing. (That said, we do like the button that flips the rear headrests down to give better rearward vision…)

A modern Sony headunit has been fitted but fear not, because the original Blaupunkt Paris was retained and comes with the car. Everything works as it should too, including all the electrical toys, and the (sometimes troublesome) sunroof. 

The boot, which contains the spare wheel, tool roll, jack, warning triangle and a modern Sony CD multi-changer is very clean and well organised. Lifting the carpets, which are all good, shows metalwork that is as fresh and rust-free as the floorpan inside the cabin.

Work to do is minimal. You might like to shampoo the carpet in the centre cubbyhole and hoover under the carpets but other than that you’ll be free to sit there basking in the glory of having beaten the system. 


The engine bay is pretty darned good, too. While the rusty exhaust manifolds might draw your eye initially, the closer you look the better it gets. It’s very clean and the engine itself starts and ticks over very well. Having 231bhp at your disposal might not raise the hairs on the back of your neck now we’re used to seeing 300+bhp in out hot hatchbacks, but it was a mightily impressive power output at the time and one that is still more than even for even the most spirited drivers.

Because, that 224bhp and 188lb/ft of torque isn’t to be sniffed at yielding a top speed of around 135mph after dispatching the sprint to 62mph in around eight seconds. You should get upwards of 30mpg too, which, in combination with ultra-low depreciation and classic car insurance, means there are few cheaper ways of getting from A-to-B is such style. 

The underside is ridiculously clean and solid. Free of anything bar the lightest surface corrosion, it needs nothing other than a round of applause.

History Highlights

The 300E’s MOT certificate, which is valid until November 2021, was gained without a single advisory point, something it’s been doing, well, since records begin.

It has a number of expired MOT certificates including one from 1994 and 4,710 miles, reinforcing the accuracy of that mileage reading.  

We are told that it is a one-family owned car: the original owner transferred it into the name of his company before falling ill at which point it was moved into his wife’s name. As such, it won’t surprise you to hear that it still has its original owner’s handbook, book pack, and storage wallet plus two sets of keys.

Please visit the documents section of the gallery of this listing where you will find photos of this and other paperwork to support our claim that this car has been maintained to a good standard. 

If you’d like to inspect the car prior to placing a bid – something we would encourage – then please use the Contact Seller button to arrange an appointment.

What We Think

As a museum-quality example of a perennially popular Mercedes-Benz saloon, this 300E 24V Sportline would make the perfect centerpiece to a modern German classic car collection.

And modern classics really are starting to take off among the sort of folk who want classic lines and an analogue driving experience but aren’t prepared to compromise on reliability and safety to get it – and few cars demand fewer compromises than a well-fettled 224bhp W124. 

So, why not consider it as your new daily driver? That straight-six petrol engine will run forever and you’re going to need a dictionary to understand the meaning of the word depreciation.

It’s also still going to be running long after you aren’t and is all the car you need. But, best of all, you’re only going to need to find somewhere between £10,500 and £20,000 to make it yours. 

That truly is a case of having your cake, eating it - and then having Kylie deliver another slice wearing nothing other than a smile…

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’. 

If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance, Classic Concierge for storing your car plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping.  

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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peter elton

  • Location: Abingdon, Oxfordshire
  • Odometer Reading: 9,924
  • Engine: 3000
  • Gearbox: Auto 5 Speed
  • Colour: Blue
  • Interior: Grey Leather

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