Opinion sought

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Yeh, I second that, from experience.
cp
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Richard Sexton wrote:

Sorry, it's not true. US does allow the vehicles more than 25-year-old to be imported without modification to meet the safety regulations. However, the vehicle must be modified to meet the EPA pollution regulations of the year manufactured.
On other hand, if you insist on importing and registering the vehicles younger than 25-year-old, you must arrange for the registered importer to modify the vehicle and to sort the paperwork for both DOT and EPA.
If the vehicle has same body chassis and same motor-gearbox combination officially sold in the USA, the cost is considerably cheaper. For instance, if you want a C55 station wagon which is not even officially imported to the USA, the registered importer can obtain all of required parts and do the conversion work easily.
In that case of smart cars, Zap, Inc. of Santa Rosa, California contracted a registered importer for $10million to 're-manufacture' the smart cars for US market with unique components that were fabricated by the registered importer.
We do have a category called 'historical and technical' importation which allows the owners to import the specialty vehicles without any modifications to meet safety regulations. The rules for pollution regulations for the year manufactured still applies here. However, the owners are not allowed to drive more than 2.500 miles a year. NHTSA will verify the odometer annually as to ensure the compliance. The rule is that the vehicle must not have shared a common chassis with the vehicles that are officially imported. Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR, McLaren F1, and Porsche 959 fit that category. But, Audi RS6 station wagon doesn't.
It's time to push for the switch to ECE R 29 (international de facto safety regulations). We've have enough of restricted choices of models and motors for the US market. We've have enough of inept NHTSA trying to reinvent the wheel once too often. Australians have it lucky than the Americans as they have harmonised their safety and pollution regulations with ECE R29 which made the vehicles cheaper and widely available in Australia.
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Tiger wrote:

Very well said, the W124s are modern enough (ABS, airbags), simple enough (non-CDI diesel engines) plus high quality materials used.
Also a wide choice, here in Germany from 72 PS 200D to 320 PS E500 (not counting E60 AMG), sedan, T-model, coupe, cabrio.
Juergen
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    Juergen, I'm puzzled about your last comment. Are you saying you prefer the 300 TD in the late 90's for example to the new CDI models... is it mostly because of the simpler engine etc?
cheers, guenter
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He is saying exactly that... 1998 or 1999 E300TD is the last of the classic turbo diesel before the CDI engine... are probably the most reliable and powerful diesel engine before the CDI came out in 2003.
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CDI has been out longer than 2003.
cp
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cp wrote:

Yes, definitely.
Weren't the W210 CDIs 200CDI and 220 CDI available from July 1998??
And wasn't C-Class W202 first with the C220CDI in 1997?
Juergen
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Hi Guenter
Guenter Scholz wrote:

Looking at reliability, simplicity, ease and cost of repair plus longevity as well as durability: Yes, I do.
But of course I'm not mainstream with my thoughts and wants plus there's another thing, that's the sound of the engines.
When I drove a w124 300D (sedan, auto, 109 PS) for a year, which now is more than 10 years ago, I not only liked the power - yes, POWER, compared to the 55-80 PS 4- and 5-cyl W123 diesels - but especially the sound of the engine. I know that's _highly_ subjective and in realistic terms the car was not _fast_ (185 km/h//115 mph, 0-100 km/h 0-62.1 mph = 14,1 s), but I also found the power delivery of the 3 litre-inline 6-cylinder (OM 603.912) smooth and even. It's for me like giving a bit of the impression some ship diesels make on me.
And the sound was different from all the competition, they were all _way_ behind in any aspect (W124 300D was built starting in 1985, except maybe Audi, but the MB cars were way better in any respect - then).
Everytime I drive a W210 E270 CDI (station, auto, 170 PS, OM 612) I'm underwhelmed by the noise, inside it is acceptable, outside it is loud and the sound is _cheap_. The engine is the same as all the competition makes', no advantage compared to them in power, sound or longevity or anything.
Of course the latter engine (OM 612) is better as it has identical fuel consumption to W124 300D in city driving and the car is much faster, too: 212 km/h = 132 mph, 0-100 km/h = 0-62.1 mph = 9.5 s, sedan = 222 km/h = 138 mph (some influence on the Vmax of course comes from the better drag coefficient of the W210).
What I definitely do not like regarding longevity and durability is the added electronics in the CDI engines, also not the VTG, the turbo with V ariable T urbine G eometry, but of course both are key components for the excellent fuel efficiency (besides the fact it is no pre-chamber engines, but direct injection ones).
I have taken several chances to talk to Taxi company owners and operators, and most of them can tell true horror stories, esp. regarding the CDIs and the W211. The majority of these stories have to do with electronics - and engine electronics has a big share in that. And even if you are under factory warranty, every failure costs money - and taxis only earn money when they are on the road, not at the dealership.
So it's no wonder the MB market share in the German taxi business has come down from ca 70 per cent to ca 50 per cent (the latter depends on the source) and if you look around you find a lot of VWs (Passat, Sharan, Touran and some T4 and T5 vans). Some German language reading here http://www.abendblatt.de/daten/2006/01/03/519322.html The search string for google is MB taxi marktanteil
And also with other things there are more problems with the W210 than with the W124, many of them related to the heavily added electronics, but also the known rust problems due to cheap fabrication are nothing I like (e.g. door frames rusting - DC fixes that for free, but you can't use the car for three or so days and most customers do have to pay for a loaner car. And YES, I know very well of the W124 typical problems, from the windshield-wipers over the ignition lock to to the rear axle).
So again, that's my very personal opinion only and I know the majority thinks different, they want (note: _want_, NOT _need_) more power. And of course for not-so-good drivers a faster car is better as it's easier to compensate for their multiple inabilities than with a slower car: With the latter you have to look a long way ahead of the MB star to keep it running as acceleration is so slow - I have learned my lessons more than 20 years ago with 55 PS and 60 PS 200D auto sedans.
Juergen - 72 PS W123 240D, sedan, auto, mechanical steel sunroof, power steering, central locking, center armrest front, stereo cassette radio, right- hand outside rear-view mirror, metallic paint, that's all... And as an exception to my usual habit to talk in the usenet about the 240D only: Also a 130 PS VW Passat 3BG Variant Diesel TDI with lots of gimmicks like Navi, Xenon, heated seats, auto climate control, tiptronic auto trans, power glass sunroof, ABS, ESP, ASR, CD-Changer, multi- function display, tempomat, front and side-airbags, remote central locking, auto dimmable rear-view mirror, factory alloy wheels, chromed roof rack rails, sports seats etc. blah blah blah...
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From here and a previous comment you made you are saying that the 72 PS car is a 200, not a 240D? I.e. 2.0 l engine?
DAS
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Dori A Schmetterling wrote:

W123 200D = OM 615.940 = 2L = 55 PS, later 60 W123 240D = OM 616.912 = 2,4L = 65 PS, later 72 W124 200D = OM 601.912 = 2L = 72 PS, later 75
Juergen
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The cars a worth owning. Look in Atlanta.
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