Get ready for many more offers like Glens. I have received many, one of which I may have been a fool to turn down, but I love the car.
This dialogue is getting me fired up to clean mine up, put in a windshield and the few other cosmetics it needs. It will be difficult to keep it clean this Winter, but if my 240D isn't ready for the AutoWerks opening, the 300E will definitely need to be ready to stand tall for the trip.
I am just as surprised at the fuel mileage that everyone is indicating for their automatic cars as you all are at our fuel mileage with the 5 speeds. I hope I don't insult or hurt anyone's feelings, but that's one of the many reasons that I detest automatics.
One reason I believe that this is so, is that these cars were designed in Germany by Germans for Germans, and Germans typically don't have much use for an automatic transmission in this size car. The automatic is an engineering after thought which is added to a car that has been optimized for a manual transmission. It is added mainly for the US market. In Germany fuel costs about 400% more than in the US. Additionally cars are taxed in Germany based on engine displacement.
The engine/car combination was optimized for the five speed, and for the US market where gas is cheap, there was no need to spend any extra engineering money, when the fuel mileage with automatic was acceptable for it's place in the US market.
During this rambling I went to my records and looked at the original window sticker. It indicates 17 city and 25 highway. I would be interested to see what an '88 automatic car had as EPA estimates on the window sticker. It may be that they just put the same EPA rating on all the 300E's.
I keep a logbook of all service and all fuel stops in chronological order. I calculate fuel mileage at every fuel stop. I am always a bit disappointed when I see 25 or less. I haven't seen less than 25 very many times and that was always when I was doing a bunch of stoplight to stoplight driving. I would have to get my logbook out to verify, but I would be shocked if there is an entry of less than 22.
This all is my theory and opinion.
Have a great day,