Mercedes reminds us the successful W123 model has been around for 40 years image

Mercedes-Benz has decided some celebration is in order – the W123 has been introduced four decades ago and the model is a very proud predecessor of the new generation E Class.

The W123 was first offered across dealerships back in January 1976 and it was such a success that a full year’s production run was actually sold shortly after being introduced. The demand was so high that initial owners that sold their car throughout the first year were asking for the original sticker price of the car. A full array of different versions were launched during the following years – coupe and station wagon – but also a long-wheelbase sedan that was 24.8 inches longer than the standard model. The regular model also had a wide range of variants – from the 200 D to the 280 E. Engines were also plentiful: 2.5-liter six-cylinder petrol with 127 horsepower and a five-cylinder turbodiesel with 123 hp were among the widest praised. Mercedes even went for the alternative power niche as it introduced a bi-fuel engine that could run on petrol or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) but also more high-tech options such as an electric concept and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle that dates back to 1983.

And because we’re talking about Mercedes, the luxury company was also interested in increasing safety for its passengers – they researched and developed a robust passenger cell and bigger crumple zones, while engineers introduced airbags as an option way back in 1982. The model was succeeded back in the mid-1980s and when production wrapped up the brand had already sold almost 2.7 million units.

Mercedes reminds us the successful W123 model has been around for 40 years