Doylestown Auto Repair

Junkyard Gem: 1971 Mercedes-Benz 200

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A nice Mercedes-Benz W114 coupe or convertible can go for real money these days, but what about the four-cylinder version of the same car, the W115? Today’s Junkyard Gem proves that even a fairly nice W115 sedan couldn’t find someone to rescue it from the cold steel jaws of the crusher

The 200 wasn’t sold in North America (the cheapest new Mercedes-Benz available in the United States that year was the 220), and this car’s data plate says it started life with the 2.0-liter four-banger. It does have the U.S.-market headlights, though, so my guess is that it came over here as a gray-market car when it was new or nearly new.

With just 116 horsepower under the hood and not much in the way of luxury features on a W115, most American car shoppers didn’t get the point of the car in 1971; list price for the U.S.-market 220 came to $5,312 that year, about $34,150 in 2019 dollars. This European 2.0 engine made only 94 horses.

For that kind of money, Detroit would sell you a lot more car in 1971. A great big Chevrolet Impala sedan, with stylish four-door hardtop design, 1,100 more pounds of presence, a 245-horsepower 5.7-liter V8, and acres of cushy vinyl interior, cost just $3,813 that year. Hell, a new Cadillac Calais sedan listed at $6,075! However, nobody came close to Mercedes-Benz build quality during this era; those Americans who bought W115s knew they were investing for the long haul.

A four-on-the-floor manual transmission was considered quite sporty in 1971, when many three-pedal sedans still had three-on-the-tree shifting.

I found some nasty sill rust, probably the result of the car sitting outdoors for many Colorado winters and filling with snow-melt leaking past failed weatherstripping. Still, this is a perfectly restorable car, but not many would be willing to pay $25,000 to end up with a car worth $7,500.

Because I like to shoot junkyard cars with era-appropriate film cameras, I brought a late-1960s Soviet FED-2 35mm camera to this yard and took a few shots of the W115 with it.

A legend in its homeland, but overlooked here.

from Autoblog