1991 MERCEDES-BENZ 300E-24V (2)

Sportline tweaks transform an otherwise conservative saloon built to satisfy a local race ace.

Mercedes sought improved performance without increasing engine capacity when it introduced the 300E-24v cars. It built fewer than 20,000 saloons in three years from late 1989. Extra breathing and variable valve timing lifted output to 172kW at a heady 6300rpm. Power delivery is strong and linear but the engine has a reputation for needing to be worked to deliver its best.

Former local racing ace Jim Palmer was upgrading from a regular 300E when he ordered this 300E-24v Sportline in Smoke Silver with bone leather and a five-speed auto. It offered the same great W124 values that Palmer appreciated but introduced more style, sportier handling, improved gearing and 140mph in overdrive fifth.

It might now be knocking on for 30 but like most scrupulously maintained Mercs, still drives beautifully and wears its years and modest mileage spectacularly well. The discreet Sportline badges on the front wing mouldings and gear shifter indicate a slightly lowered ride height and a specially tuned suspension including shorter, stiffer springs, struts, anti-roll bars, and bushings. Reduced ride height and 17-inch Mercedes alloys improve the stance appreciably. Inside, a smaller diameter steering wheel works the quick-ratio steering and the Sportline package extends to figure-hugging seats built for comfort on long journeys.

Own one? Driven one? Share your W124 Merc experience: keepers@kiwigarage.co.nz

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MERCEDES-BENZ 300E-24v

VARIANT W124 Sportline saloon

COLOUR Smoke Silver

UPHOLSTERY Bone leather

ENGINE 2,960cc straight-six

POWER 172kW (231bhp)

TORQUE 265Nm @ 4600rpm

TRANSMISSION 5-speed auto, RWD

0-100km/h 7.8 secs

WHEELS 17-inch alloy

LENGTH 4.8m

WEIGHT 1480kg

EMAIL keepers@kiwigarage.co.nz

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