I agree with all who like the 124 300E. I found an execellent 1987 example with 49,000mi for $10,500. This is my second 300E. Foolishly I sold the first and regretted it foever. Previously I owned an '84 300SD. It was a great road car but rather on the large side. While the fuel economy was great, it was not as much fun to drive as the 124. I sold it to buy my first 124 chassis. IMHO the first generation 124 (86-89) design is a classic. I don't care for the lower plastic moldings of the later models but that is stricly a matter on personal taste. I think you will enjoy whatever BENZ you buy, but you should seriously look at the 124 chassis.
Hope this helps