It was one of many phone calls I receive offering cars but this particular call in late 2014 from Calgary, Canada was unique. The fellow on the line was offering me a 1982 300SD. He mentioned ‘low mileage’ which to most diesel sellers often means ‘only 175k miles’ but the mileage he quoted was shocking. Extremely shocking: 1,500 miles or, to be precise just over 2,500 km. Really?
So, how did this happen? MB Diesel buyers usually plan to run the wheels of their cars to take advantage of the inherent longevity and durability this type of car has offered since the 260D debuted in 1936. Well, after looking over the hand written logs that the recently deceased original owner of this champagne/tobacco SD kept, it was apparent that the ownership experience was more of a mechanical fetish than in actually using the car.
It’s rare that I can answer every question about the condition of various sections of a car with an unequivocal “it’s perfect” but such was the case with this unique SD.
Mind boggling low kilometers for any 1982 automobile, much less a 300SD. Note the clarity of the gauge faces.
One of many carefully crafted personal notes regarding every step of owning the SD: contemplating the purchase, the purchase, chronicling each liter of fuel consumed, etc. Automobile fetishism at its best.
A deal was struck and after quite some paperwork to import the car to the US and some weeks of sorting out shipment, this freak of diesel perfection arrived at my office in early 2016. To say entering the car was like stepping back in time would be a serious understatement.
Every square inch of the car was essentially untouched perfection. The aroma of the interior. The supple perfection of the brown leather. The hardware on the seat rails. Door latches. Undercarriage. Gauge faces. All perfect.
Stepping back to 1982. The quality of the unblemished interior was astonishing. Quick reference placards hung from the turn signals switch. Note the orthopedic seat pneumatic adjustment bulbs and heated seat switches. No sunroof however.
Compared to how franchise dealers ordered SDs in the US, this car was a rather different specification. It lacked a sunroof but was fitted with orthopedic seats, heated seats and a block heater. It all made sense for chilly Calgary.
How did it drive? Well, how about like a new SD? With zero steering free play, silky smooth shift points and the legendary vault-like 126 structure isolating the vices of the road, this SD was simply a phenomenon
We saw perfection underneath as well. Every nut and bolt was spotless, and all original chip coat finishes were perfect. Wheels, lug bots? Perfect.
On to a new owner
After some marketing I found a client who wanted a new feeling/appearing 300SD but had given up what he felt was an unreasonable expectation. Until he found my listing. It’s rare that I can answer every question about the condition of various sections of a car with an unequivocal “it’s perfect” but such was the case with this unique SD.
Probably should have kept it and showed it but business needs are always pressing. But I think I just may have bragging rights to owning the finest original 300SD on the planet. Oh well…
roy spencer/editor mercedesheritage