Okay, he’s white and in the late 1980s white was a lot of things, but it was certainly not a cool color, but a sign of sheer stinginess. No engine name on the rear, no headlight wiping and washing and then those plastic hubcaps that send a anything but pleasant shiver down the spines of even fans of boring accountant equipment. Okay, this S124 has tinted windows and if something is irritating, it’s the 4matic lettering on the right side of the boot lid – fake or real? The condition of the Mercedes station wagon is obviously in top condition, but otherwise the applause upon first contact was limited. A small but nice detail on the right front fender finally changes the mood. Who cares about the gray plastic rims when they see five narrow horizontal gills in the fender?

Five small gills of the 4.77 meter long model 124.393 stand for a turbo diesel and then for the big thing, the 300 in-line six-cylinder; At the time, it was one of the most expensive ways to drive a Mercedes E-Class, even before the Swabians’ luxury model was officially given this name. The T-model as the 300 TDT with 4matic all-wheel drive is the really big thing – the engine, which is sometimes accused of being a little sensitive to temperature, was the answer to the powerful BMW diesel, which at the time gave the diesel engines from Stuttgart a lot in terms of consumption and performance Mining Neckar water. If you’re looking for a long-termer with plenty of torque and lots of space inside, which – when appropriately equipped – can almost rival an S-Class in terms of value, then the Mercedes 300 TDT 4matic is exactly the right choice.

These vehicles were expensive and mostly magnificently equipped. This only applies to a very limited extent to the white classic station wagon in the parking lot, because whoever opens the doors sees black leather seats, which have the pneumatic comfort function and are at least heated, but can only be adjusted manually, which is not very luxurious. Electric windows, which have long been a given in this league even in the 1980s, are missing, as is the popular electric sunroof, cruise control or other comfort features of the time. At least the 300 turbodiesel offers manual air conditioning and a radio with a basic speaker set – the original owner apparently didn’t want to waste any money; But even with this equipment it was noticeably more expensive than the 77,805 D-Mark base price in the year it was introduced in 1989. But the first customer has taken good care of his station wagon over the years, because the white T-model is still in good condition even after more than 250,000 kilometers – autumn and Winters can come.

The image does not change after turning the ignition key – on the contrary. The six-cylinder diesel type OM 603 D 30 A with its 108 kW / 147 HP shakes and shakes as was the order of the day back then when the diesel engine was cool. Rough, but with loving sound potential, because if you bring a four or five-cylinder engine to life in the same model, you will experience a completely different picture. After a noticeable turbo lag right from the start, the half dozen cylinders are more powerful than you would have expected and the all-wheel drive engine pushes hard. This is ensured by the torque of 273 Nm, which was more than impressive at the time, which ensured a corresponding urge forward from 2,400 rpm. In contrast to the normal station wagon versions, the three-liter pre-chamber diesel in the 4matic transfers its power not only to the rear axle, but also 35 percent to the front. The curb weight of more than 1.7 tons at the time is no problem for engine performance and torque – things were completely different with the four-cylinder diesels of the time – in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the 300 TDT was on the market, an absolute rarity and therefore often what SUVs and crossovers offer today for their owners. In addition to its suitability for winter and significant long-distance potential thanks to a top speed of 188 km/h, the TDT 4matic is truly for all occasions.

Even today, the S124 has lost none of its timeless design charm from the entertaining decade change of the 1980s / 1990s – on the contrary, because only today can we find out how far the Mercedes station wagon was back then with the combination of sober elegance, all-wheel drive, travel comfort, befitting understatement and efficiency . The 72 liter tank ensured that you could cover 750 or more kilometers with your foot on the accelerator before the gas station attendant saw you again. The seats were and are top notch by today’s standards, while you got used to the indirect recirculating ball steering after the third junction more quickly than you would like. The white 300 is just as well powered uphill as it is on the motorway or country road. A whisper diesel, with its countless pre- and post-injections using the common rail process, undoubtedly sounds different and even when the in-line six-cylinder is warm, it runs along happily while standing at the traffic lights, while the four-speed automatic transmission doesn’t just do all the work for the clutch foot.

Anyone who wants to own a real rarity like the Mercedes 300 TDT 4matic will have to look for a long time, because only 2,317 vehicles of this model were produced in the S124 series from the end of 1986 to the beginning of 1995. A well-preserved model with appropriate equipment and less than 200,000 kilometers is difficult to find. It’s sometimes worth taking a look at the used car markets in Switzerland, Italy or France, because here the large diesel all-wheel drive with 124 was a popular winter vehicle for everyone who didn’t want an off-road vehicle like a Range Rover, a G-Class or an elegant Land Cruiser . You can hardly do anything for less than 25,000 euros. By the way: contrary to what many people think, the 300 TDT is also available as a sedan. At almost the same price.