Ads on Test: 1997 Mercedes-Benz E220


Classic Cars magazine

by Charlie Calderwood |

This Mercedes needs a bit of touching-in here and there, but Charlie Calderwood reckons that it’s a great investment.

We reckon this grand old two-owner Mercedes – from the final year of W124 cabriolet production – is only just coming out of mainstream service. It has been well maintained but the paint has gone a bit dull and the engine bay could do with tidying. It’s begging for an enthusiast to take it on and make it perfect.

The exterior condition suggests that it hasn’t been driven excessively but has probably been parked outside for much of its life. The bodywork itself is straight, but the paintwork is showing its 24 years. Most panels have a small mark, chip or similar in them and the plastic panels covering the car’s lower third have faded. There’s also a little bit of bubbling where the bonnet ornament is mounted and on the door mirror surrounds. Crucially, however, there’s no rust on the front wings – a notorious W124 rot spot. The hood is in good shape and operates perfectly and the alloy wheels are in very good condition.

Classic Cars magazine
©Classic Cars magazine

The impression of interior luxury is helped no end by the outrageous equipment of what isn’t even a top-spec car. The electric windows, rear head rests, seats and hood all work though the motors on the front windows are a bit sluggish. The seats, door trim and carpets are in good order with just a bit of minor creasing on the driver’s seat and a few spots on the carpet. The dashboard has aged well; everything works and the only wear we could see was some scratching on the wood-veneered centre console lid and the top of the gear lever. The original stereo still works, likewise the dual-zone climate control and heated seats.

Classic Cars magazine
©Classic Cars magazine

The engine’s cam cover is heavily oxidised and the slam panel could really do with having its surface rust cleaned off and a re-paint. That said, the hoses are in good shape, there are no visible leaks and the wiring is tidy. In other words, the engine bay is in sound but not pretty condition – though even a novice DIY mechanic could make it look much better with a weekend’s worth of elbow grease.

This soft-top E220 drives like any other W124 – with all of the sturdiness and comfort that this entails. They were never sports cars and we found that the gearbox pretty much refused to kick down unless it was switched to ‘sport’ mode. The engine pulls well once roused with the appropriate gear, however, and is more relaxed at high speeds than the numbers would suggest. The brakes pull the car up well and the steering and suspension feel in good order. Water temperature and oil pressure behaved perfectly on our test drive, and the roof seems well sealed with no wind whistling.

This car still has all of its original literature, including a service book showing a full Mercedes-Benz main dealer service history up to 2010, after which accompanying paper invoices show the car’s maintenance history. The vendor promises to service the car before selling it on to its next owner.

This Mercedes C220 is one of four Ads on Test in the latest issue of Classic Cars.

Engine 2199cc four-cylinder, dohc Power 148bhp @ 5500rpm Torque 155lb ft @ 4000rpm Topspeed 127mph 0-60mph 11.7sec Fuel consumption 25-33mpg Length 4655mm Width 1740mm

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