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Flash Back Of The Day:  History Of The Mercedes 123 Series
Posted on December 28, 2005 at 12:15 PM CST

1977 Mercedes-Benz 123 Coupe Side View

Every once in a while, Mercedes gets all nostalgic on us and puts out a press release detailing various facts and figures from earlier in their illustrious history.

Yesterday, Mercedes put out another such press release detailing the history of the 123 series, a car that the company says was not a "revolutionary automobile, but rather a thoroughly mature mid-range car combining the latest engineering with tried and tested design features."

The product of almost of eight years of development, the 123 series provided owners greater safety, more comfort and improved serviceability, all while keeping the trademark Mercedes-Benz image.  In the end, Mercedes sold about 2.7 million 123 series, a clear sign of the model's success.

For the full history of the 123 series, you can view more photos and the full press release below.

Mercedes-Benz 123 Series Coupe, Station Wagon and Sedan models
Three friends: Group photo of coupe, sedan and station wagon from the 123 series.
Mercedes-Benz C 123 Coupe Front View   Export success: The new Mercedes-Benz from the upper medium category – in this case a C 123 coupe – sold well not just in Germany but also abroad. Some 1,080,000 cars were exported.
1977 Mercedes-Benz 123 Coupe Side View   Sporty silhouette: The coupe from the 123 series came onto the market in 1977 with impressively dynamic looks.
Mercedes-Benz W 123 Side View   For vacations out in the country: The W 123 cut a fine figure, be it in the yard of a noble restaurant out in the countryside, on skiing holidays or in everyday use.
Mercedes-Benz 123 Sedan Front View   Six-cylinder-engined touring car: In the first years, the powerful top models from the 123 series were distinguished by their rectangular broad-band headlamps which became a characteristic feature of all model series at a later stage.
Mercedes-Benz 230 C, 280 C and 280 CE Side Views   Sporting trio: In 1977, the 230 C, 280 C and 280 CE were launched onto the market.
Mercedes-Benz 123 Station Wagon Side View   Sporty and elegant: With the station wagon from the 123 series, Mercedes-Benz appealed to a new target group which was looking for a stylistically refined car with a large load compartment.
Mercedes-Benz W123 Side View   Plenty of space in style: The station wagon from the 123 series set new standards for leisure-time and family cars.
Mercedes-Benz 123 Seriers Interior View   Modern interior design: The cockpit of a Mercedes-Benz sedan from the 123 series.


A Constant Factor In The Intermediate Class – The Mercedes-Benz 123 Series (1976 To 1986)

A poised and assured representative of its class presented itself to the public for the first time in January 1976: the lights played on the classic lines of the body of the new Mercedes-Benz W 123. The Stuttgart carmakers did not introduce a revolutionary automobile, but rather a thoroughly mature mid-range car combining the latest engineering with tried and tested design features. The new model immediately met with an enthusiastic reception from experts and customers. Today the 123 series as a classic car plays a most important role among the new arrivals to the vintage car scene.

The new model from Stuttgart for the intermediate class stood in the tradition of the W 114/115 series, commonly known as the “Stroke Eight”. But the design pointed to the future: in technical respect, with numerous innovations in the area of safety; aesthetically as well, with looks suggestive of the new S-Class W 116 and the then current SL models R/C 107. One indication of this is the horizontally arranged headlamps which replaced the previously customary vertical lamps, which had a classic touch.

Greater safety, more comfort and improved serviceability were the demands which the Mercedes-Benz design engineers were called upon to meet when the specifications for the new series were formulated in 1968. The result almost eight years later showed that these stipulations had been implemented in a convincing manner. The high standard of the safety engineering and the mature overall design assured the model the attention of the trade press and buyers. But it was not just the innovations that made the new car a success. The W 123 gained believers with its high standard of workmanship, its practicality, and particularly the broad range of body variants and engines. For instance, from 1977 on a station wagon based on this series and built by Mercedes-Benz itself could be had for the first time.

The 123 series was manufactured from 1975 to 1986 – just about 2.7 million units in total. The sedans with 2,375,440 units made up the bulk. But 199,517 units of the new station wagon were produced, no small number, along with 99,884 coupes, 13,700 extended-wheelbase sedans, and finally 8,373 chassis for special bodies. About 1,080,000 cars of the series went into export.

Copyright © 2005, DaimlerChrysler AG

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