1974 Mercedes-Benz 240D Manual

I spotted this vintage Benz yesterday at dusk and went back again today to 'check it out' in more detail. While I was taking some photos, the seller emerged from their house and kindly answered some questions about it for me. Basically, it's a U.S.-spec W115 '74 240 Diesel with a 5-speed manual transmission and over 250,000 miles on the clock. The seller is not the original owner, and didn't elaborate on how and when they acquired it, but said it runs fine.

The W114/W115 was produced from 1968-1976, resulting in over 1.9 million constructed. The W114 chassis signified the 6-cylinder models, while the W115 represented the four-cylinder models, including this 240D.

The body is credited to legendary auto designer Paul Bracq, and is a classic three-box shape, taught, conservative, squared-off and perfectly proportioned. Unfortunately, this being a 1974 U.S. model, it sports the heavy and unsightly 5-mph bumpers and lousy sealed beam headlights. Fortunately, it looks utterly charming in pale flat moss green, a relic of the 70s but still fresh looking today.

The '240D' signifies the 2.4-liter OM616 diesel-powered 4-cylinder engine that powered the rear wheels. These are not fast cars. I've actually read they are downright slow, even dangerously so, in modern traffic. Fortunately, this one is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission to bring both some liveliness to the engine and engagement to the driving experience. And what it lacks in overall performance it more than makes up in reliability. Mercedes-Benz diesels from the 60s, 70s, and 80s are some of the most durable engines ever released to consumers.

Cosmetically, the car is far from perfect, with obvious rusting and faded paint among other defects in the body. I didn't go inside, but the dark green interior sported what has to be that indestructible MB-Tex vinyl leatherette, as the seats looked really good.

The seller is asking just $2,500. This could easily be a great first car for someone, a temporary set of wheels for a college student until the end of the semester, or really just about anybody's beater car. It's good looking, diesel-powered, and has a stick-shift. What do my readers think? Thumbs up or down?

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