Once I got the 240D home to Seattle, it was time for a good sorting. This is something I do with pretty much every used car I buy: take it to the best specialist in the area for a complete evaluation — from hood ornament to exhaust tip — and have them take care of any outstanding needs.
No matter how well-kept it is, a used car almost always has a few items to address, whether it’s aging tires or worn out shifter bushings. Some people take a fix-it-as-you-go approach to this stuff, tackling a few things here and a few things there over the course of their ownership. That’s understandable. It certainly prevents facing a big repair bill right off the bat. But I prefer to get everything done all at once. That way I can enjoy the car in its full glory from the get-go.
Even if the mechanic finds nothing, knowing that all the major systems have been inspected and given the stamp of approval provides great peace of mind.
In mid-May, I flew to Monterey to fetch the new-to-me 240D. It was a surprisingly easy flight — just over two hours from Seattle, nonstop. The car’s seller, Bill, had graciously offered to meet me at the airport. Based on everything I’d learned about Bill and his careful caretaking of the 240D over the last 44 years, I wasn’t at all surprised that he arrived exactly on time.
Bill appeared in a clean TJ generation Jeep Wrangler. With its classic styling and robust 4.0 liter inline six engine, it shares many workhorse-like qualities with the 240D. I would soon learn that he also is the proud owner of an insanely nice FJ80 generation Toyota Land Cruiser, which of course he also bought new in 1993. Man, this guy really knows how to pick his cars.
We got to know one another a bit on the way to his house, which enjoys a commanding view of the Monterey peninsula. Bill had been a veterinarian in the area for decades, and the 240D was his daily commuter throughout his career. He even had custom plates for it — IFIXK9S — which have since passed along to his daughter, also a vet.
When it was time for the big reveal, I gave myself a little pep talk. I didn’t want my expectations to be overly high. It’s easy to paint too pretty of a picture in your mind when you’re scouting a car, only to be disappointed when you finally see it in person.
In April of 2021, I purchased a 1977 Mercedes-Benz 240D from its original owner, who had special ordered it, picked it up at the factory, and then used it as a daily driver for some 44 years and 250,000 miles.
Here I’ll be chronicling my own adventures with the car, including how I came to buy it, what it’s like to live with, and how much it costs to run.
Welcome to Life in the Slow Lane.