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Old 06-03-1999, 04:34 PM
Alastair Mackay
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Do any of the european members have any knowledge of the import of new and unregistered (but old shape - W124) E klass cars now available at non-MB dealers?

The story is that they are/were built from knock-down-kits in India, supplied from MB Germany, for the Indian/Pacific market, but were overstocked because of the high local price. Only problem seems to be lowered compression to 8:1 to combat poor fuel.

The car also has reinforced and lowered suspension for roads and consequently weights about 60kg more. Fuel consumption is a couple of mpg worse because of de-tuned engine - but that seems to be all.

Prices are extremly attractive, especially for a long term ownership - anyone with experience or observations?

Old 06-03-1999, 06:10 PM
Lee Scheeler
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Hmmm....8.0:1 compression, perfect for a set of turbos! j/k I seem to remember hearing a blurb about some Asian company using W124 chassis and many other corporate parts to build a car for the Asian market. I don't remember much more and I have not heard anything more until your post.

Importing any non-federalized car for on road use (non-racing) will be a headache by itself. Once you have it here you may have some difficulties getting it serviced anywhere. If you were a Benzmac wanting to build a turbo E-class, then it might not be too bad. j/k Beyond the two problems I listed above, I can't really say much more. Do you have any other information on these cars?

Old 06-13-1999, 04:21 PM
Alastair Mackay
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Bit the Bullet!! Bought the car!! Its great and much more solid than the C Klass Sport that we also run. It appears that MB supplied kits to many countries such as India and South Africa etc, to allow them to trade there.

No problems so far and I will shortly have the cylinder head gasket replaced to bring the comp ratio back up and fit lower (actually the standard) coil springs to bring the ride height down from the higher India level - for the very poor road. Lots of aditional strengthening underneath too so weight up, but its made it all a real Panzer!!

Just for your own passing interest, here is the advice I got from Juergen the Mercedes Enthusiast Site -

1/ What I can say for sure is that indeed in India such W124 E220`s were assembled - as far as I know they changed to the newer W210 body some months ago, but I`m not completely sure about that.
I can give you the following information from
German _Auto Katalog 97/98_, which is the yearly car catalogue from German`s car magazine _Auto Motor und Sport_:
Since 1996 Mercedes assembles in India two
models of the former E-Class, the four-cylindre E220 and the five-cylindre diesel E250D from completely delivered parts. At first both were to be had with five-speed manual transmissions only, but as of late the four-speed automatic trans can be ordered as an option. The cars are
currently the most modern of all cars produced in India, but the sale is slow due to their high prices.
That`s why Mercedes-Benz took the distribution in his own hands and additionally bought a big area in Pune -
directly besides the current assembilng plant which is owned by the Indian partner Telco._
End of cite

I have checked the technical data of both German and Indian W124 E220 and here`s the differences of the engine (again from _Auto Katalog_):
German Indian
Combustion 10.0:1 8.5:1
Horsepower 150 146
Max. torque 210Nm/4000revs 210/4000
Empty weight 1370kg 1460kg
Max. weight 1940kg 1960kg
Payload 570kg 500kg
Fuel 8.8 11.9
consumption litres/100km
UK mpg 32.2 23.7
(mix city/motorway)
As you can see the engine has been adapted to the lower standard Indian fuel - this results in an increased fuel consumption of roughly 30 per cent although that figure may be different with your individual use of the car.
What`s a bit contrary to the much increased fuel consumption is that right-hand drive W124 E220`s some years ago also were manufactured in South Africa and the engine`s specifications are the same as
for the Indina cars, but _Auto Katalog 1996_ for these cars only state the same 8.8 litres as for theGermany cars.
Anyway, it`s technically found that lower compression engines consume more fuel, I personally would at least expect 10 per cent more, maybe even up to 20 - but that`s my guess only based on experiences with 1980`s
W123 200`s.
Before buying I`d check further with the car:
Every Mercedes-Benz carries a small metal plate on the cross member above the car`s headlights close to the hood`s lock - you have to open the hood for that.
I attach a photo to this email where you can see the plate is located exactly.
On the plate there`s a lot of numbers, first is the
VIN (vehicle`s identification number).
It reads 1240xx6yzzzzzz:
124 is the body type, W124
0 = Gasoline engine
xx = subcode for E220, I don`t have it at hand actually
6 = Right hand drive, not manufactured in Germany
(cars for the UK do have a 2 here)
y = 0 for manual transmission, 2 = automatic transmission
zzzzzz = serial number
Another possibility is you write doen the VIN
and contact
Mercedes-Benz India Ltd.
Pune-Mumbai Road
Pune 411004
(Sorry that`s from _Auto Katalog 1998_ only
and I don`t have any URL or email nor phone
or fax)
Also note that on many plastic parts of modern cars a time stamp is imprinted, looking a bit like a clock`s face with the year in the middle and an arrow pointing to the month.
In these times of just-in-time production normally plastic parts are manufactured by the suppliers only short to the manufacturing date of the car,but take in mind that with CKD cars (CKD = Completely
Knocked Down, the type of W124 production in India) there`s much likely some time lag.
Another very obvious sign of the date the car
was manufactured is the so-called DOT (=American Department of Transport) stamp, the first two figures are the week of the year and the last one is the year, e.g. 148 means 14th week in 1998.

But on the metal plate there`s many more numbers, watch out for a 708 which clearly designates CKD cars for India - a 704 stands for South-African CKD cars.
A 709 would designate SKD (=semi knocked-down) cars for India, but I think 708 is for Indian W124`s.
If there`s a 80x number existent on the plate, the last figure shows the modelyear, e.g. 808 would indicate it`s a 1998 modelyear car - but note that such a 80x number might not be on the plate, that`s ok, too.

If the above figure of the empty weights in my little comparison listing are correct that would indicate that the Indian cars are somehow reinforced to better suit the needs of the sometimes bad indian roads; I couldn`t find anything about ground clearance butI think it`s not unlikely the Indian car`s is higher.

Generally a W124 is one of the very best cars MB ever made, but I can`t say if the Indian cars really are 100 per cent the same quality as the German-built cars (although I really have no to very little doubt they are).
Another point is the higher fuel consumption and the non-existence of a genuine MB-guarantee.
And the very last point is that at least some of the parts are different and that may cause trouble of getting them when needed - may, and: Of course most parts are identical.

In my point of view the dealer got the cars very cheap as they must have been something like overstock in India once the W210 production began.

With other Britain specific things I can`t say anything about it (official papers, MOT) as I live in Germany.

Greetings from Germany

Juergen (who in 1976 very much enjoyed his holidays in the beautiful Scottish lowlands)

(Does this guy knows his MB stuff or what !! Keep up the good work on your site - I hope you get more European input as more of us dicover you !!)

Alastair Mackay

Old 06-14-1999, 10:04 AM
Posts: n/a
I just rode in a UK taxi, that was CLD model 250d (5 cylinder multivalve)w124 from India, according to the driver, new ones actually manufactered in 96/97 are still being sold and available as some dealers here in the UK.

He aslo stated that because of the poor conditions of the roads in India the ride height was increased slightly, and the springs are stiffer. Also they come with a thicker metal skid plate under the engine. Only manuals were available when he bought his.

He said new ones with delivery milage are around 19,000
Old 06-14-1999, 10:32 AM
Posts: n/a
a relative of mine from the philippines own an MB imported from Korea - it is full size van!!!
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