Hi, Olympic: the experience of owning a limousine Mercedes-Benz V123

Machine – to katabatic condition, with forty-year history – and what a! It may seem that it is destiny only collectors and restorers of the top-flight. However, miracles do happen. Elongated 123rd Mercedes, service first Moscow Olympics-80, and then the Garage special Kremlin purpose was accidentally bought at the price of second-hand “Logan”, and now the happy owners of exclusivity, historical value, and, as expected, surprised old German reliability.


Mercedes V123 – extended 7-seater sedan 1978 release, gained the Olympic Committee of the USSR among the parties, purchased for the Olympic Games 1980. Rear-wheel drive, 3-liter diesel engine OM617 88 hp manual gearbox. Mileage – 324 000 km. Appliances such bodies were used for meetings of official delegations, athletes and journalists, for distribution of their hotels and excursions to the sights of the capital.

The owners – a family of Muscovites Maxim and Natalia, entrepreneurs are big fans and lovers of cars in general and Mercedes – in particular. The machine purchased by them at least half a year ago, for the soul – but not as a monument, but as a quite rideable instance. If there is a family of two cars for summer retro Mercedes dashed off for at least five thousand – mainly in classical and romantic, like himself, routes: Esenina home in Konstantinovo, to Chekhov in Melekhovo to Tolstoy in Yasnaya Polyana in Kaliazin and similar places.



Many retro cars cause involuntary smile, but this Mercedes classic black looks quite seriously today.

The car – a rare ‘double-decker’ bumper, which were called “rabbit ears» – «Die Hasenohren». For the Russian hearing a strange nickname – not at all, frankly, are associated with the hare ears and two horizontal parallel lines shiny chrome …

Wheels are not native – 14-inch cast Penta from 126-th Mercedes. These disks recognized by all who understand design, very in tune the style and age of the machine, but the owners plan ever put native stamping with caps. The process slows down that no curves or wheels killed caps found, as it turned out, is not easy.

By the way, the car has a towbar, and this, strangely enough, not in a garage completion, and full-time option! If, say, you want to find from the airport in a group of five-six-seven, then the appropriate amount of luggage trunk of the car, of course, not together, so Europe such cars simply used trailers, without causing any surprise.


On the part of the driver and front passenger in our Mercedes – all, like any W123, whom millions. Everything is convenient, everything is rational and technologically – “praktish and gut.” The peculiarity of this particular instance – is that separate adjusting the stove to the right and left sides. But this is not a sign of long-version – is often found in the layout of standard machines.

Comfort rear passengers V123 by today’s standards can be called almost continuous austerity! The ability to fold the flap series, ashtray doors open so fortochki- “pages.” No electric windows, no air conditioning … Headliner – from perforated vinyl, as in the “Zhiguli” … However, here we must make allowances for the essence of the machine – many, as a rule, confusing the elongated body of the Mercedes, associated with personal limousine and ostentatious luxury. But V123 – not a limousine for an oligarch, he – the workhorse for the public although decent, but simpler.

The average number of sideniy- “strapontenov” folded forward like a book (in whole or in part, at a ratio of two to one) – in this case the rear easily accommodate very freely: Members of the basketball team may pull the legs! Well, if you need to transport seven – while the middle row of seats went up, and they are in close to “taburetochnoy” posture passengers sat medium-sized body.


This V123 is the D code 300, and under the hood it has, accordingly, the diesel motor. Upon learning of his age, coupled with the “Olympic” nature of the procurement, you can be surprised that the Soviet Union in 1978, has gained massively passenger diesels. Still, while the type of motor in our country was considered absolutely tractor and cargo. But the Party of diesel Mercedes was acquired not from a desire to join the extraordinary for our automotive technology, and fear that the fastidious German engines choke Soviet gasoline! Diesel engines are also considered more unpretentious, and it was assumed that ensure stable operation and no surprises on diesel will be easier than on gasoline …

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At the same time the Olympic Committee of the USSR chose the most powerful and surround the motor – 3-liter 5-cylinder in-line OM617, but saved in the set – instead of the leather interior of the car received a cloth and leatherette, manual transmission – instead of frightening domestic mechanical machine … In general, the Soviet IOC logic It was bizarre.

One way or another, but the engine OM617, leading his race from 1968, pre-chamber, with chain-driven timing and two valves per cylinder, has been so successful engine that is available to this day almost unchanged – it is still tied for Gelendvagen Army which does not need direct injection and gentle pump-injector with high environmental standards … Over the years, this engine has a lot of modifications, different diameter cylinders, piston stroke adjustment pump, including turbocharged.

In our case, OM617, combined with a simple manual 4-speed transmission, has a capacity of 87 hp (65 kW) with a torque of 172 Nm at 2400 rpm. In this case, the Russian MTS had recorded very different figures – 138 hp and 100 kW. With a “ceiling” and they are taken when there – now no longer know … In the line OM617-tyh version with a capacity of not – 121 “strength” only developed turbo modification.

On the dashboard, near the left stalk is a small swivel controller. It operates within a small range idling diesel engine in the warm-up mode, doubling through wire rod from the gas pedal to the fuel pump. And gaining momentum while rotating counterclockwise, and not vice versa, it would be logical …

Mechanical fuel pump the Bosch, the heart of any “tractor” – a simple and very reliable, this does not fail suddenly, as opposed to the modern diesel systems. Like any old diesel engine, it has a lever forced jamming «stop» – if denied a vacuum actuator or jammers for some reason, the engine went racing …

Even here there is a separate pump for the brake servo and pneumatic actuator locks the doors and boot. Now, however, the system is faulty locks and doors work purely mechanical principles.

purchase history

We have at various times been a lot of 123’s Mercedes, we long-time fans of this classic model. Six months ago, we found the V123 ad, came to see – and just fell in love!

In the USSR, this machine was among the hundreds of Mercedes purchased Olympic Committee to serve the Olympics-80. According to Natalia and Maxim, information about Olympic Mercedes strongly “walks” in different sources – someone said that there were 350 other – 1200, sound and other figures … Of the total number (again, based on inaccurate data) extended seven-seater V123 were not less than 30, not less than 50 machines. Some of them are really often flashed on the frames of the Olympic chronicle of those years.

After the Olympics, the Mercedes was in charge of “GON” – the Kremlin’s “Special Purpose Garage” (aka “Autobase №1”, also known as transport complex “Russia”). A few years ago the car written off in age, the residual value of the car on the driver bought it and after some time has resold certain avtostariny connoisseur. Connoisseur soon died, and his children did not know what to do and did not penetrate into the instance value. As a result, the car has got to avtoperekupschiku …

And now, attention, drumming – declared figures! The current owners, Maxim and Natalia, purchased the car from dealers for a completely ridiculous for such a historic car of 300 thousand rubles, and the middleman altogether caught it from the heirs of the 100 thousand “wooden” … In this story believe it is simply impossible, but miracles happen!

At present day, according to the base traffic police (we checked through a friend!) Such elongated V123 7-seater 7 pieces remained in Russia, including our sample. The machine draws the attention on her react violently to the street, photo shoot begins, show thumb, etc. We have somehow been Bentley Arnage – but it did not cause such a furore ever! ? Recently, a man on the new Gel ndewagen so gazed on our “Olympian” that drove into the car in front … victim of love for the retro-Mercedes was the Kia Rio – well at least it had a little speed.

Repair and service

The machine is owned by the current holders of less than six months, and until the repairs to the old gentleman, nothing was done – because of problems requiring immediate intervention, simply was not in a Mercedes. This is when a middleman is not lying, and the car was really able to “sat down and went.” Therefore, Maxim and Natalia only making plans for the 40th anniversary of his “Olympian”, to which the plan to give the veteran a serious restoration with full authenticity. From abnormal completions want except that deliver automatic transmission, but it is extremely mild intervention in originality as complete set with “automatic” at this car exist, and a box will be home to 617 th diesel.

However, asking prices for spare parts already account – although the usual W123 repairs neobremenitelen on Long version more expensive and rare. For example, the rear doors, the original only for this body – a large deficit; On eBay, one door is not in perfect condition is worth 50 thousand in terms of rubles, but still have to search. Rear air vents rotted, they cost about 16 thousand rubles each and every step they, too, can not be found.

the machine also requires a work package chrome finish – something lost, something should be given to electroplating on recoating. On the doorsteps of the car is still in the period of his “civil service” for some reason, were removed laths, which eventually disappeared – it is necessary to look for the same …

Plus, as mentioned above, it is necessary to restore the original door lock actuators, which clearly have been converted specifically for ease of maintenance. In general, the future scope of work has been gradually formed.

Against the background of serious and costly work lost some little things that need to pay attention too. The dashboard is embedded Zhiguli lighter – probably, electricians GON tired of fighting with the standard socket inside the ashtray and receive power over her sled, which over the years are oxidized and no longer normally carry current … Under the hood is screwed rusty Soviet contactor from the truck as a mass switch – apparently off battery parked demanded GON rules. The windshield washer reservoir over the years proved to be lost heater …

Mini Test Drive

The car literally exudes an aura of confidence. “We are in it went on long routes, and do not believe it, believe in it more than in our daily Audi A8, which a few years … And our ten-Touareg that Mercedes has had to bail out when the Tuareg on the Third Ring died petrol pump ‘ – Natalia said.

First, of course, I sit in the back seat – in a car wants to feel the sensation of the passengers. Willingly I pull the legs, that when my meter eighty-six to make the majority of machines is impossible. Heavy Mercedes passes speed bumps, as if they were not, practically do not penetrate the noise from the street – double door seals gum retained its elasticity, can only hear the growl of a diesel engine.

The soul wakes uncharacteristic gentility, I want to gently tap the driver on the shoulder and inappropriately blurt something like “a ezzhaj-ka you, my dear, to Yar ‘… However, I dumped obsession and transplanted to the folding line. But that’s not what my friends! After back sofa man feel like second-class citizens – back rigid and too vertical, pillow is not very … In general, do not zasiditsya.

Now – for the steering wheel. After starting a cold engine revolutions have to add a handle under the dashboard. Warming up, touch it. The car accelerates vyalovato – even by the standards of a modern 100-horsepower gasoline budget models. His head pops up the name of the movie “Mercedes away from the chase” was released, which is typical, in the 80 is the Olympic year. This is clearly a Mercedes from the chase no escape, because, according to the rating plate under the hood, the total permissible vehicle weight is 2280 kilograms … However, the “hippopotamus” rides, and rides confidently – old “gelding” was not created for a hurry!

Maneuvering requires some getting used to, but a large angle of rotation of the wheels of the front axle makes it easier. In our sample clearly requires attention rocker CAT – course of inclusion of transfers is very large, hand literally rests on the console when sticking the first and third; possibly in the wings PPC worn rubber vtulochki. But the brakes pleased – crisp and tenacious – the caliper is clearly time passed prevention!

model history

W123 series was produced from 1976 to 1984. She was replaced by a very successful series of the W114 / 115, recognizable by their characteristic “vertical” headlights, she herself was subsequently superseded by a series W124 – Mercedes to have a much more recognizable and familiar to us appearance, departed from the typical design of 70-80, and by the way also later deservedly received the people the title of “eternal” and “neubivaemy”.

W123 – very high quality made by vehicle; of the nearly 2.7 million cars produced, the youngest of which is now 32 years old, and the oldest, respectively – 40 years, a lot is still on the run, especially in countries with warm climates, where the body does not rot, and walked the half a million engines often without the need to run after such proshlifovke necks of the crankshaft.

while driving comfort is provided fully independent suspension all wheels (the drive, of course, rear, with the transfer of torque from the gearbox to the wheels through constant velocity joints), the brakes on the rim – disk; In general, the car was quite advanced for its time, but was not considered innovative – solutions used mainly only tested. Is that a turbocharged diesel engine has become a novelty for cars automotive industry. Complete set of “one hundred and twenty-third,” there were enough empty – even without power steering, and there were enough “stuffed” – with numerous heating devices, ABS, catalytic converter, etc.

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Interestingly, 53 out of every 100 cars sold were diesel – W123 line finally secured the diesel engine image probably the best engine for passenger cars. Anyway, the best for machines designed to calm the vast runs – that’s for sure. And although the “one hundred twenty-three” was not the pioneer (first diesel passenger Mercedes appeared before World War II, and the OM617 engine installed on the machine from this article came at her with the previous series W115), the harmony of the reliability of the engines and the whole car in general gave rise to the popular opinion that the 123rd series was the best of all, it created a Mercedes-Benz, and remains the best to this day.

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