1986 Mercedes Benz W123 Coupe 280CE


  • Sophisticated colour combination
  • Practical and economical engine choice
  • Great build quality

The Appeal

With its W123 series coupes, Mercedes brought its ‘masterbuilt’ quality to its mid-sized models. Overengineered and with a keen eye on the detail, they were cars for people who wanted enduring quality but didn’t to shout about it.

The 280CE was the more powerful of the two versions offered. It was an easy and practical car to live with, and, as a ‘pillarless’ coupe, it offered the facility of fully lower the side windows and the B-pillar. Coupled with the generous sun roof, this made for a very open car – though without the wind buffeting of a full convertible – on longer trips and tours. All qualities the 280CE offers its owners today.

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The History and Paperwork

  • Extensive invoices from previous owners
  • New radiator
  • Variety of spares comes with the car
  • New MOT

The Mercedes has hefty sheaf of invoices (Mainly from main agents and specialists), showing it has been well looked after throughout its life. The present owner has also undertaken work where necessary, sending it to local classic specialists for a new radiator, as well as trim work to the rear of the cabin. 

The car had an odometer change and the mileage currently showing on the odometer is mileage accrued since its change. From the paperwork the calculated mileage is approximately 127,318. This change can be seen online on the DVLA MOT records. The condition of the car also supports this mileage. The current owner believes this to be a true record of its mileage.

Opening the boot, you will also find a variety of spare parts sitting alongside the original and complete tool kit.

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The Exterior 

  • Paintwork retains a good gloss
  • All panels straight 
  • New rubber window surrounds

This mid-Eighties Mercedes presents well in its deep metallic red. Overall, the gloss across the paintwork remains deep, though there are small areas of fading with a patch on the boot lid and a small area near the rear roof pillar on the nearside. The bodywork is in good shape – certainly no rust showing in the wheel arches or below the rear window – and panel fit remaining largely very good all around the car, save for the bonnet, which doesn’t sit quite flush on the driver’s side. 

Shut lines are otherwise narrow and the chrome/rubber beltline trim runs smoothly from panel to panel. The C123 series were still quite heavy on the chrome, and most of this remains bright and very straight, with the rubber strips sitting firmly in place and hugging the shape of the metal. (Indeed, the strips around the window surrounds are new.). Window and windscreen surrounds are likewise good. The only notable pitting to the chrome is on top of the radiator grill. Light lenses are clear and badges bright and firmly mounted. The all-important three-pointed star on the bonnet sits proudly and firmly in place.

The Interior

  • Rich wood veneer trim
  • Original velour

All the original textures and patterns are present in the coupe’s velour interior. There is some wear to the material with some darkening to the driver’s seat cushion and arm rest, but overall, the cabin retains its air of understated sophistication and luxury. Carpets are clean, and there is a full set of Mercedes-logo’d over mats. Rear seats appear almost unused. The leather/plastics of this generation of Mercedes were always tough while retaining a quality look and feel That remains the case here, with neither the gear selector nor the steering wheel – or the door furniture for that matter – showing any real signs of wear. The sturdy door handles and pockets are firmly mounted and do not wobble.

A nice feature of the interior is the warm and distinctively grained wood veneer. Its lacquer retains an excellent gloss and all panels fit snugly within the broader structures. You may or may not notice that the Mercedes sports a DAB Blaupunkt radio system (the original is included in the sale) coupled to a Hertz speaker system with a sub-woofer in the boot.

The car’s headlining is pretty clean with absolutely no signs of sagging. The panel under the sunroof shows no signs of water ingress and the sun roof cassette itself runs smoothly and sits perfectly in place when shut.

Remember also that the C123 is a ‘pillarless’ coupe with all side windows and their surrounds totally disappearing (very smoothly) from sight.

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The Mechanics 

  • Solid underneath
  • Tidy engine bay
  • Refurbished wheels

Although the engine looks somewhat weathered, everything appears to be very much intact and in its proper place. Some ancillaries/brackets show oxidation or light surface corrosion, but there appears nothing to concern. Hoses and H/T leads are supple and of a good colour, as are the surrounding seals to the engine bay. The wiring looks healthy and has not perished. The radiator and the battery are pretty new.

The metal around the bay looks robust, with suspension towers looking strong and clean seams along the inner/outer wing joins. Similarly, the boot seals are in good shape and the floor area here solid.

Similarly, the underside of the car appears weathered but healthy. Undersealing looks fairly intact and there are no signs of significant rust or any collision damage. One floor panel was replaced, and some welding has been performed at the jacking points, which remain strong.

One rather nice feature of the car is the original – and very period alloys, which have recently been refurbished.


Discreet, comfortable and reliable motoring was always the promise of the 280CE, and that remains so today – though it’s getting harder to find that promise as solid examples are becoming rare. 

When you do find a robust and honest example – as here – you’ll have found a characterful and versatile classic tourer that might even convince you to use it every day.

Notice to offerers

This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1986
  • Make Mercedes
  • Model W123 Coupe 280CE
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 127,318 Miles
  • Engine size 2746
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Sheffield
  • Location Yorkshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
10 bids from 7 bidders
  • GT•••• £7,600 31/05/23
  • ro•••• £7,500 30/05/23
  • ro•••• £6,500 30/05/23
  • to•••• £5,700 30/05/23
  • ma•••• £5,600 27/05/23
  • da•••• £5,500 26/05/23
  • mi•••• £5,000 26/05/23
  • da•••• £3,500 26/05/23
  • mi•••• £3,000 26/05/23
  • Fa•••• £2,000 26/05/23

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