Back To The 80s: Mercedes-Benz 200-300

Fri 6th Dec 2019

When we think of the classic eras of motoring we might cast our mind back to stylish cars of the 1950s, the muscle cars of the 1960s or the super cars of the 1970s. What might not spring to mind however is the motors which were produced in the 1980s - an era which certainly favoured practicality over power, style and sophistication.

But the cars of today owe much to 80s, it was a decade which brought us turbochargers, multi-valve engines and hot hatchbacks, an era of the people-carrier and the rise of the SUV. Digital displays and electronic gadgetry, were the norm as designers pushed the boundaries of of what was capable in a production vehicle.

So let's celebrate the 80s, a period of huge change across Britain as a whole, and one which had incredible landmarks in the motor industry.

Mercedes-Benz 200-300
Regarded by many as the last of the great Mercedes’,  W124 Series was introduced in 1985 to muted applause, primarily because to the casual observer it didn’t look too much different to its predecessor, the W123.

Though Joseph Galitzendorfer and Peter Pfeiffer began the early design work on the project under Hans Scherenberg in 1977, it is design director Bruno Sacco who is widely credited with the refinement.
Sacco alone can take credit for driving the German company through three decades of design innovation with his Vertical Affiinity/Horizontal Homogeneity philosophy. His work on the W124 consisted of two main priorities, to reduce the weight and improve the aerodynamics of the German company’s mid-market saloon.

Able to use the very latest CAD software and high-strength steel, the W124 had improved rigidity but at the same down cut down on weight which was an impressive achievement. The W124 also had groundbreaking aerodynamics, with a drag coeffecient of just 0.28, which was fantastic in any car design, but all the more so in a saloon.

This quest for lightness and flight did not hinder the car’s interior essentials of space, comfort and visibility, with the company’s ethos of design following function, this was a car which lived up to its big price premium.

The 200E and 300E appealed to existing Mercedes-Benz fans, but due to its impressive durability, it was a car which won new customers throughout its 10-year-spell in production. This was a car which could easily clock up in excess of 250,000 miles and still showcase a touch of class. No surprise then to find that before its retirement in 1995 it had sold in the region of 2.5m units.


Manufacturer: Mercedes-Benz
Class: Executive Car
Designer: Bruno Sacco
Assembly: Bremen, Germany
Did You Know?: In its last year of production Mercedes released a ‘Masterpiece’ edition of the W124 which included the highest spec accessories found in their previous stock and also some unique elements such as a gear knob engraved with the word ‘Masterpiece’.