Scam Alert: Mercedes-Benz E300 Diesel with Odometer Rollback

Today’s find is actually a warning and not a recommendation. In our daily hunt for used car gems, we came across this clean looking W124 generation E Class diesel, which is listed for sale on craigslist in the Sacramento area. With a claimed 57k miles and a clean vehicle history report, it was looking like a pretty strong buy at the asking price of $9500.

However, a little digging revealed that this was not such a great buy at all. In fact, it is quite clearly a scam.

The W124 series is one of the most beloved of Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts. With handsome lines, excellent all-around performance, and remarkable build quality, it has not only passed the test of time but graduated with honors.

That’s why we got pretty excited when we spotted this (apparently) low-mile example of the one-year-only E300 Diesel for sale.

These cars may not have a ton of power — just 134 hp, in fact — but their OM606 inline six cylinder diesel engines are legendary for racking up the miles as well as delivering decent fuel economy (25 mpg combined) for a midsize luxury sedan.

At the car’s US debut, the Los Angeles Times noted, “With a fuel tank holding 23.8 gallons, that translates to a minimum of 750 miles between fill-ups–or traveling from Los Angeles to Albuquerque without stopping for anything but coffee and personal recycling.”

These qualities, combined with the rarity of the one-year model, have made the E300D a desirable used car find, especially in good original condition. And one with barely more than 50,000 miles? That’s almost unheard of.

Looking a little closer, though, revealed some issues. For instance, the steering wheel shows some unusual discoloration for a car with such low mileage. Also, despite the listing’s claim of “zero issues whatsoever,” the photos seem to show a ripple in the sheet metal on the passenger front door.

But the real doozie came from a Google search on the VIN, which brought up a recent charity auction listing, showing the same car with over 100,000 miles.

Turns out that swapping out the gauge cluster in these older Benzes is a pretty simple thing to do, and unfortunately it seems that somebody decided that would be a good idea here in order to try to make an extra buck.

It’s too bad, really, because despite the flaws noted, this car is still an unusually nice example, and 108k miles for one of these is still relatively low.

That said, we would never even remotely consider a purchase from a seller who has clearly misrepresented a car for sale.

And neither should you.

Vehicle Details

  • 1995 Mercedes-Benz E300 Diesel
  • claimed 57k miles — actually 108k miles
  • 3.0 liter inline six cylinder diesel engine (134 hp)
  • 4-speed automatic transmission
  • Smoke Silver exterior on Parchment (beige) leather
  • for sale for $9500
  • Rancho Cordova, California
  • link to craigslist listing HERE
  • WDBEB31E6SC092128

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Notable Replies

  1. mark


    FYI, the seller has re-listed this one HERE.

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