TG chats to the Aussie race driver about how he specced his stunning Porsche 918 Spyder, and how he uses his fleet of lightweight Porsches
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Is this the world’s coolest Mercedes?
In the 1970s, Mercedes-Benz launched the W123 series; a precursor to the E-Class. It’s a very cool car, virtually indestructible and even served as James May’s chariot for the TG Botswana special.
In the 1980s, Bill’s Auto & Body converted a W123 series Mercedes-Benz 300TD into a pickup truck, and in the process made it possibly the coolest Mercedes… in the world.
Well, if not the coolest, then at least one of them. Details about the build - or indeed the reasoning behind it - are scant, but it appears the 300TD’s estate rear was chopped, and replaced with a proper working tailgate from a “1980s era Chevrolet El Camino bed”, including the rear window and trim.
And anyway, reasoning schmeasoning; it looks fantastic. Apart from a transmission rebuild in 2010, the car’s drivetrain is completely unchanged - and if you know these cars - completely bulletproof. Underneath is the classic 3.0-litre five-pot diesel, producing around 120bhp (from new). Some horses may have escaped in the process.
The current seller bought the car in 2004 and it had 142,500 miles on the clock - in the last 10 years it’s now only creeped up to 149,800 miles, so it has lived a pampered life.
Saying that, the wood on the tailgate does need varnishing (it’s very old), there are a couple of cracks and chips in the paint, the A/C needs looking at and there’s a small rip in the carpet near the accelerator pedal. But these are minor things.
It’s got an effortlessly cool dark grey exterior, proper wheels (unlike the retro-modified 300SL Gullwing you lot got sniffy about) and at the time of writing, is being listed on ebay for $8,300 (though the reserve hasn’t been met yet). There are five days left on the bid. You know what to do.