I second Larry's opinion. I would go for a W123 300D or a 240D. The 240D may be a little too slow for a beginner to drive (can be dangerous in traffic, etc..) so a 300D Turbo would make a good choice. 1982-1985 models are numerous and are very reasonably priced. I'm not personally a fan of the 201 chassis. They never felt quite as safe or well built as other models (sorry 190 owners, just my opinion). Seems that after 150,000 miles, the 190s get tired out. A 124 chassis 300D would be a good choice or even a 300E. Both can be had for the money you're thinking of spending. Choose wisely though.