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40th anniversary of Mercedes C123, the E-Class Coupe grandfather
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40th anniversary of Mercedes C123, the E-Class Coupe grandfather

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Home Classic 40th anniversary of Mercedes C123, the E-Class Coupe grandfather

Mercedes C123, the model which can be considered the modern precursor of today’s E-Class Coupe celebrates its 40th birthday. The mid-range two-door was launched in 1977, at the Geneva motor show.

The cutting-edge technology and elegance so characteristic of Mercedes-Benz have always been expressed in a very special way in coupés. The three 230 C, 280 C and 280 CE models linked into this tradition. Today the model series C 123 is embedded in the history of the E-Class Coupés. The attractive coupés in the model series C 123 1977 were premiered a good year after the saloons (W 123).

For the coupés from model series C 123 are among the popular young classics from Mercedes-Benz. This is why they are also part of the fixed offer from ALL TIME STARS, the vehicle trade section of the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Of course the museum can only make this offering available to brand enthusiasts when the market releases a vehicle. For anyone who owns one of the now rare coupés is never keen to give it up.

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Despite a close visual kinship to the saloons, the coupés are autonomous creations. Their body is 4 centimetres lower and 8.5 centimetres shorter. Then there is the modified silhouette: “The unmistakeable character of the three models is down to the more steeply raked front and rear window plus the fully retractable side windows which are not separated by a centre post”, is how the description in the press kit went 40 years ago. “The result for the observer is a long and more dynamic-looking profile. For the occupants this means outstanding visibility not hindered by a thing.”

Some body details corresponded to the superior design on the 280 and 280 E saloons: all three coupé models had rectangular broad-band headlamps, chromed air inlet grilles in front of the windscreen and chrome trim beneath the rear lamps. As of the facelift in September 1982 the air inlet grilles were in black.

An important technical improvement compared with the direct predecessors of the “Stroke Eight” model series (W 114) was the even more stable safety passenger cell with a stiffer roof frame structure, high-strength roof pillar and reinforced doors. The energy absorption of the front and rear crumple zone was significantly increased through the controlled deformation capability of the front end and rear area. A further safety innovation came in August 1980: Introduced as a world first in 1978 in the S-Class of model series 116, the anti-lock braking system (ABS) was available on request for all models in model series 123. From January 1982 a further optional extra followed in the form of the driver’s airbag.

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For the coupés from model series C 123 are among the popular young classics from Mercedes-Benz. This is why they are also part of the fixed offer from ALL TIME STARS, the vehicle trade section of the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Of course the museum can only make this offering available to brand enthusiasts when the market releases a vehicle. For anyone who owns one of the now rare coupés is never keen to give it up.

Despite a close visual kinship to the saloons, the coupés are autonomous creations. Their body is 4 centimetres lower and 8.5 centimetres shorter. Then there is the modified silhouette: “The unmistakeable character of the three models is down to the more steeply raked front and rear window plus the fully retractable side windows which are not separated by a centre post”, is how the description in the press kit went 40 years ago. “The result for the observer is a long and more dynamic-looking profile. For the occupants this means outstanding visibility not hindered by a thing.”

Some body details corresponded to the superior design on the 280 and 280 E saloons: all three coupé models had rectangular broad-band headlamps, chromed air inlet grilles in front of the windscreen and chrome trim beneath the rear lamps. As of the facelift in September 1982 the air inlet grilles were in black.

An important technical improvement compared with the direct predecessors of the “Stroke Eight” model series (W 114) was the even more stable safety passenger cell with a stiffer roof frame structure, high-strength roof pillar and reinforced doors. The energy absorption of the front and rear crumple zone was significantly increased through the controlled deformation capability of the front end and rear area. A further safety innovation came in August 1980: Introduced as a world first in 1978 in the S-Class of model series 116, the anti-lock braking system (ABS) was available on request for all models in model series 123. From January 1982 a further optional extra followed in the form of the driver’s airbag.

The production of the “123 Coupés” ended in August 1985 after a good eight years and a total of 99,884 units, 15,509 of which had a diesel engine. The rarest variant was the 280 C with 3704 vehicles produced.

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