The body type only - there were four with
the 123 series:
Sedan, sedan LWB, coupe and station wagon
sedan is W123, LWB is V123, coupe is C123,
station wagon is S123
There are two more versions most people
do not know of:
F123 and VF123
F = F ahrgestell = chassis
VF = LWB chassis
Both were sold to body shops to manufacture
special vehicles like ambulances and hearses.
The chassis have no rear doors, no gas tank door,
no rear window, no trunk lid, no rear lights
and such - parts which typically would be
changed/exchanged by the body shops.
And although most products of the body shops
were station wagon-like vehicles (see above)
there were no 123 series T-model chassis.
With the successor W124 that was changed, all
chassis were based upon the T-models - ok,
enough of that, that is going really deeply
The bodies alos have sub-types like with
the engines explained below, my car is
a 123.123 - that says it all, the figure is
unique, e.g. the station wagon S123 240TD is
The engines begin with a leading M which
means M otor, a gasoline engine is a MXXX
where the XXX is a three-figure code
designating the engine model; the sub-model
starts with a leading dot and has three
diesel engines have a O (big o) in front
of the M, meaning O el M otor (oil engine)
is given by three additonal figures.
My W123 240D has an OM616.912 engine
240 is the cubic capacity in ccm rounded-up to
the next full hundred ccm and then divided by ten:
My 240D has the newest version of that engine
with 2376 ccm - rounded up it is 2400, divided
by ten is 240
Since some time there are exceptions like
300E 2.6 (in the US) or W210 E240 which indeed
has a 2.6-litre engine.
D stands for diesel.
No, that is the horsepower, I live in Germany
and here it is PS, not hp as in the US.
My car has 72 PS, for the US the car had 68(?) hp.
The W123 sedans were built from 1976 and 1985.
No - 86 mph is the top speed (8 km/h)...
The time of 24.7 seconds is the time the car
need to - ahem - accelerate from 0-62.1 mph
And YES, there are faster cars... ;-))))
It sounds very complicated in the beginning, but the
systems behind all those numbers are logical, except
for some model designations like S600 (which indeed
is a 5.8-litre engine).
BUT: If I was able to learn it, you are, too.
Kind regards from Germany
Juergen (driving W123 diesels back since 1983;
slowest ever was 200D 55PS auto sedan, top speed
was 125 km/h = 78 mph, 0-62.1 mph was 33.2 sec)
Thank you. It will take a little while, but I will get it. A friend at
work speaks some German.
His wife is from Germany and in fact is there now visiting. I think mine
is a 123.123 also.
W123 ? 1983 240D Sedan built in Germany, sold in the USA. I looked up
on the Internet and found the meanings for the 17 character VIN number
to be very interesting.
I don't plan to get into cars or mechanics excessively, but some basic
knowledge is helpful.
: Helen wrote:
: > Juergen W123 240D auto 72 PS top = 86 mph acc 24.7 sec ;-)
: > OK, W123 is the size/type engine
: The body type only - there were four with
: the 123 series:
: Sedan, sedan LWB, coupe and station wagon
: sedan is W123, LWB is V123, coupe is C123,
: station wagon is S123
: There are two more versions most people
: do not know of:
: F123 and VF123
: F = F ahrgestell = chassis
: VF = LWB chassis
: Both were sold to body shops to manufacture
: special vehicles like ambulances and hearses.
: The chassis have no rear doors, no gas tank door,
: no rear window, no trunk lid, no rear lights
: and such - parts which typically would be
: changed/exchanged by the body shops.
: And although most products of the body shops
: were station wagon-like vehicles (see above)
: there were no 123 series T-model chassis.
: With the successor W124 that was changed, all
: chassis were based upon the T-models - ok,
: enough of that, that is going really deeply
: into details...
: The bodies alos have sub-types like with
: the engines explained below, my car is
: a 123.123 - that says it all, the figure is
: unique, e.g. the station wagon S123 240TD is
: a 123.183.
: The engines begin with a leading M which
: means M otor, a gasoline engine is a MXXX
: where the XXX is a three-figure code
: designating the engine model; the sub-model
: starts with a leading dot and has three
: more figures;
: diesel engines have a O (big o) in front
: of the M, meaning O el M otor (oil engine)
: is given by three additonal figures.
: My W123 240D has an OM616.912 engine
: > 240D is the body style D means it's diesel
: 240 is the cubic capacity in ccm rounded-up to
: the next full hundred ccm and then divided by ten:
: My 240D has the newest version of that engine
: with 2376 ccm - rounded up it is 2400, divided
: by ten is 240
: Since some time there are exceptions like
: 300E 2.6 (in the US) or W210 E240 which indeed
: has a 2.6-litre engine.
: D stands for diesel.
: > Auto is the type of transmission
: > 72 is the year
: No, that is the horsepower, I live in Germany
: and here it is PS, not hp as in the US.
: My car has 72 PS, for the US the car had 68(?) hp.
: The W123 sedans were built from 1976 and 1985.
: > How am I doing so far?
: > What does PS top mph acc 24.7 sec
: > (That it can reach 86 mph in 23.7 seconds?)
: No - 86 mph is the top speed (8 km/h)...
: The time of 24.7 seconds is the time the car
: need to - ahem - accelerate from 0-62.1 mph
: (0-100 km/h).
: And YES, there are faster cars... ;-))))
: > Just wondering,
: > Helen
: It sounds very complicated in the beginning, but the
: systems behind all those numbers are logical, except
: for some model designations like S600 (which indeed
: is a 5.8-litre engine).
: BUT: If I was able to learn it, you are, too.
: Kind regards from Germany
: Juergen (driving W123 diesels back since 1983;
: slowest ever was 200D 55PS auto sedan, top speed
: was 125 km/h = 78 mph, 0-62.1 mph was 33.2 sec)
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com ).
That's why I choose a 240D:
Hah - I need only five days to accelerate from
0 to 100 km/h... ;-))
But to get serious:
From today's view all of the non_turbo W123 diesels
are _very_ slow - but when you know them all you get
a feeling that 24.7 secs is _considerably_ faster
than 33.2 secs and you even notice the difference
in acceleration of a 55 PS 200D to a 60 PS 200D.
What one learns from these cars - especially in
city driving - is to get them going, avoiding to
brake and trying to prevent to have to start again
This gives a good routine in driving farsighted
and also one learns that - at least in city
driving - it is much more important to know the
fastest route rather than to have the fastest car.
And when you are stuck in a traffic jam even the 500 PS
of a SL 55 AMG are of no use...
Juergen 1982 W123 240D 72 PS auto Euro sedan
My 1985 380SE has got its share of compliments...when it's freshly waxed.
One girl was smart enough to say that's the last of the good benz's..too bad
I wasn't there...my dad was using it that day.
Having driven a few SL55s now I can honestly say its like nothing
else, you get your fair share of attention, but you get a pretty hefty
share of everyone else's too ;-) and the acceleration...... If only I
had one of my own :-(
IIRC my car weighed about 1400 kg.
Of course you are right. I could reach an indicated 143 km/h. And of
course these engines were/are good for hundreds of thousands of kilometers.
I bet there are still lots of them in places like Egypt and parts of Africa.
It's a philosophy... I really like mine, especially as it was a company
Note to Jurgen: I had no choice re engine size, but who cared? A colleague
not eligible for a company car bought his own 240D precisely for the extra
drop of power.
NB: To reply directly replace "nospam" with "schmetterling"
In fact, in London there are still lots of W123s, though not that many
diesels as this engine type has gained popularity only in recent years.
New diesel sales are now taking an increasing market share in the UK.
NB: To reply directly replace "nospam" with "schmetterling"
Here in Germany diesel fuel is - since many
years - substantially cheaper than gasoline
so it's natural the share of diesels in the
W123 always was very high;
aniother point is that - illegally - some people
use very cheap heating oil which is nothing than
uncoloured diesel fuel (and lacks some additives,
but that is no problem with the old W123 engines).
Also it is noteworthy that many farmers drive
diesel cars - at its time the W123 was the most
popular car with them - and of course it has
nothing to do with the fact that farmers can get
diesel fuel much cheaper for their farming
With the gasoline versions the 230E was by far
the most popular one - but in city driving it
cost nearly exactly the double amount for fuel
cost compared to a W123 diesel: Higher fuel
consumption, higher per litre price.
Of course driving in a 230E is more comfortable
than in a 240D as it is much faster, but with
that difference in cost the choice was clear
Juergen 1982 W123 240D auto Euro sedan
Re diesel fuel price, in the UK the price is about the same as petrol and
has been for a long time. Fuel price does not enter into the equation.
Probably one reason for relatively low percentage of diesels on the road.
Also considered very 'uncool'.
In Germany isn't the road tax on diesels higher than for petrol cars? I
mean the tax you pay for having your car on the public highway. In Germany
proportional to engine size, is it not?
NB: To reply directly replace "nospam" with "schmetterling"
I know - that's why I explicitly stated the
situation in Germany.
That of course is the logical consequence for
_Most probably_ I think.
Same here at the time the W123 was a current model.
Nowadays here in Germany diesels are declared as
_cool_ - but in reality that is only because of
the substantially lower fuel cost in conjunction
with the lower fuel consumption.
In case tomorrow diesel fuel would cost twice as
much as gas diesel cars would be declared by the
very same people as _uncool_: As always it is
money which really counts for most people.
I can also see that with the W123:
When I first drove W123s in the early 1980s
they were still the current MB middle-class
model and many people wanted to have one.
Then the W124 followed, the W123s went into
second, third, fourth and even more hand and
the reputation sank dramatically, even there
were times when people looked at them with
But since some very few years the W123 is
considered as _cool_ amongst young people
who in their childhood were chauffered in the
backseat by their parents and now like the
low-cost high-quality low-maintenance cars.
Then the W123 was exported in high numbers
to countries in Arabia, Africa or the former
Eastern Block - sure you can see a W123 still
every day on German roads, but the times there
were two or three parked at every corner
definitely are over.
So since some time I can see people begin
to turn heads for my W123 which is in good
shape, but definitely not in car-show
condition: Times are changing...
Once there were close to two million W123s
(ca. 2.7 million built) on German roads,
nowadays it is ca. 150.000 and the figure
is still sinking not so slow caused by
accidents, export and rust.
Yes - and depending on the emissions class the
vehicles meet the difference is outrageous:
An old car like the W123 240D costs ca. 800 Euro
a year - a W203 C180 Kompressor only exactly
..but everyone knows this is not because exhaust
emissions, but to boost new car sales.
Yes, it is, one pays for every beginning 100 ccm
displacement, e.g. with the 240D 24 times the
amount of the emissions class the car belongs to.
As the cost still comes from the DM time with
the 240D it is 65,10 DM x 24 = 1.562,40, one has
not to pay the ,40 so 1.562,-- DM remain, that
is exactly 798,64 Euro.
Depending on certain circumstances a 240D could
even cost 891,81 a year (73,10 x 24 = 1.754,40 DM,
1.754 DM is 896,81 Euro).
But as with Asterix the little village err: some
W123 diesel drivers like me refuse to buy new
cra err: cars and simply pay the horrendous car
And YES, I could buy a newer car cash down - and
some day I will have to, the 240D is 21 years old
and not getting better.
I don't agree with your explanation above. The displacement is not always
rounded *up* to the nearest 100 cc. In fact, generally it is just rounded up or
down to the nearest 100 cc (although, of course, there are exceptions to this
that were indeed rounded up). In the case of your car's engine, the
displacement is really 2399 (not 2376 which is Steuer displacement, or fiscal
displacement). Naturally, rounding to the nearest 100 cc, 2399 cc rounds up to
2400 cc. Afterwards you divide by ten to obtain 240. The original displacement
of the 240 D (in the 115 body and in the 123 body until July 1978) was 2404.
According to your explanation, it should have been called 250 D because 2404
rounded up would be 2500. The same thing goes for the 300 D which had
originally 3005 cc and later 2998 cc. 3005 rounded up is 3100 and would have
been the 310 D. :-) Similarly with the 450 models (4520 cc), 380 models (3818
cc, and later 3839 cc), 6-cyl. 230 models (including 230 SL, 2306 cc), 4-cyl.
230 models (2307 cc). These would have been the 460, 390, and 240 models (such
as 240 SL), respectively. Also, the displacement of the original engine of the
450 SLC 5.0 was 5025 cc. It would have been called 450 SLC 5.1. :-) The W 123
250 (2525 cc) would be model 260. Finally, the 300 SEL 6.3 (6332 cc) would have
been the 300 SEL 6.4.
Here are the only two exceptions (that I know of) in which the displacement was
indeed rounded *up*: the 450 SEL 6.9 (6834 cc) and all the 280 models that used
the M 110 engine (2746 cc). According to the usual rounding these should have
been 450 SEL 6.8 and 270 E/CE, etc.
I admit I simplified matters - but with Germany
and tax nothing is simple.... ;-)
Ok, the long way:
EFFECTIVE displacement in ccm is calculated by
Pi * bore * bore : 4 * stroke * cylinders : 1000
(* = multiply, : = divide)
With the cars you mention the results are
(calculated with MS Excel 2002, Pi as an Excel
240D W115 2404 ccm
(3,141592654 * 91 *91 :4 * 92,9 *4 : 1000 2403,834857828440 = 2404)
240D W123 2399 ccm
(3,141592654 * 90,9 *90,9 :4 * 92,9 *4 : 1000 2398,554607126370 = 2399)
However, the TAX displacement is calculated much
different and that is what the model designations
on the trunk lid are coming from, rounded-up to
the next full 100 ccm and then divided by ten.
The calculation for the TAX displacement is:
For Pi : 4 exactly 0.78 is assumed and bore and
stroke are rounded down to the nearest 0,5 mm or
full mm and then from the result everything behind
the comma is _cut_ (no rounding here).
Sounds complicated but comes from the 1950s when
there were no computers used for calculation but
printed charts and that way it was much easier.
240D W115 2376 ccm
(0,78 * bore tax * bore tax * stroke tax * cylinders
: 1000 = 0,78 * 91 * 91 * 92 * 4 : 1000 2376,97824 = 2376)
2376 rounded-up is 2400 divided by ten is 240
240D W123 2350 ccm
(0,78 * bore tax * bore tax * stroke tax * cylinders
: 1000 = 0,78 * 90,5 * 90,5 * 92 * 4 : 1000 2350,92936 = 2350)
2350 rounded-up is 2400 divided by ten is 240
With the designations MB sticks to the TAX
displacement - and displacement tax was 2376 ccm
with the 240D W115; rounded-up to the next full
hundred ccm is 2400 divided by ten is 240.
Right, displacement effective for that is 3005 ccm
(3,141592654 * 91 * 91 :4 * 92,4 *5 : 1000 3004,793572285550 = 3005)
but displacement tax is 2971 ccm
(0,78 * 91 * 91 * 92 * 5 : 1000 = 2971,2228 = 2971)
2971 rounded-up is 3000 divided by ten is 300
With the newer version the figures are
(3,141592654 * 90,9 * 90,9 : 4 * 92,4 * 5 : 1000 2998,193258907960 = 2998)
but displacement tax is 2938 ccm
(0,78 * 90,5 * 90,5 * 92 * 5 : 1000 = 2938,6617 = 2938)
2938 rounded-up is 3000 divided by ten is 300
Displacement effective is 4520 ccm
(3,141592654 * 92 * 92 : 4 * 85 * 8 : 1000 4520,374837397280 = 4520)
but displacement tax is 4489 ccm
(0,78 * 92 * 92 * 85 * 8 : 1000 = 4489,3056 = 4489)
4489 rounded-up is 4500 divided by ten is 450
380 models (3818 cc, and later 3839 cc),
Old effective 3818,
(3,141592654 * 92 * 92 : 4 * 71,8 * 8 : 1000 3818,387215589700 = 3818)
new effective 3839
(3,141592654 * 88 * 88 : 4 * 78,9 * 8 : 1000 3839,036275783220 = 3839)
old tax is 3776
(0,78 * 92 * 92 * 71,5 * 8 : 1000 = 3776,29824
3776 rounded-up is 3800 divided by ten is 380
new tax is 3793
(0,78 * 88 * 88 * 78,5 * 8 : 1000 = 3793,32096
3793 rounded-up is 3800 divided by ten is 380
6-cyl. 230 models (including 230 SL, 2306 cc),
M127 II has 2307 effective
(3,141592654 * 82 * 82 : 4 * 72,8 * 6 : 1000 2306,748335098960 = 2307)
and tax is 2281 ccm
(0,78 * 82 * 82 * 72,5 * 6 : 1000 = 2281,4532 = 2281)
2281 rounded-up is 2300 divided by ten is 230
Yes, effective is 5025
(3,141592654 * 97 * 97 : 4 * 85 * 8 : 1000 5025,071697196480 = 5025)
but tax is 4990
(0,78 * 97 * 97 * 85 * 8 : 1000 = 4990,5336 = 4990)
4990 rounded-up is 5000 divided by ten is 500 = 5.0
Effective is 2525 ccm
(3,141592654 * 86 * 86 : 4 * 72,45 * 6 : 1000 2525,087453727130 = 2525)
but tax is 2492 ccm
(0,78 * 86 * 86 * 72 * 6 : 1000 = 2492,15616 = 2492)
2492 rounded-up is 2500 divided by ten is 250
Effective is 6333
(3,141592654 * 103 * 103 : 4 * 95 * 8 : 1000 6332,539727767480 = 6333)
The 6332 come from the fact that for Pi exactly
four digits after the comma are used, that gives
6332,352965, but as soon as one uses five or more
or the Pi function in Excel it is at least
6332,534379 which is rounded-up to 6333 - but that
is another story...
Pi Effective ccm
Excel function 6332,539728
Tax is 6289 ccm
(0,78 * 103 * 103 * 95 * 8 : 1000 = 6289,0152 = 6289)
6289 rounded-up is 6300 divided by ten is 630 = 6.3
Effective is 6834 ccm
(3,141592654 * 107 * 107 : 4 * 95 * 8 : 1000 6833,937915280410 = 6834)
but tax is only 6786 ccm
(0,78 * 107 * 107 * 95 * 8 : 1000 = 6786,9672 = 6786)
6786 rounded-up is 6800 divided by ten is 680 = 6.8
The reason here is simple:
The Rolls-Royce Silver Shadows and the Camargue had
engines with effective 6.75 litres ((bore = 104,1,
stroke 99,1, V8, 6747,687820037850 = 6748 ccm)
which would be rounded-up to 6.8 litres in normal
speaking (although German tax ccm was only 6681) -
MB simply wanted to have a bigger number than 6.8
on the trunk lid so it became 6.9.
Effective was 2746 ccm
(3,141592654 * 86 * 86 : 4 * 78,8 * 6 : 1000 2746,402917235300 = 2746)
and tax 2717 ccm
(0,78 * 86 * 86 * 78,5 * 6 : 1000 = 2717,14248
2717 rounded-up is 2800 divided by ten is 280
As said my former post simplified matters -
when you calculate German car tax displacement
(so-called _Deutsche Steuerformel_ = German
tax formula) it is clear that traditionally
the designation on the trunk lid comes from
the tax displacement rounded up to the next
full 100 ccm and then divided by ten, see the
Or am I missing something?
Also kind regards to you from sunny Germany
A good hour or so - the point is to have the
formulas at hand.
Some time ago - three years? - I had a private
conversation with Danny about the subject.
At that time I got the tax formula which to my
surprise was not so easy to get and I did some
calculations then - if I remember right the
point asked by Danny was why there were
differences in the effective displacement of
the very same engine at different sources and
so a longer discussion about the calculations
The point with effective displacement is Pi,
depending on how many digits after the comma
you use, the result differs slightly, best to
see with the 6.3 and 6.9 M100 engines.
For the 6.3 I mentioned the results, they
range from 6329 ccm to 6333 ccm.
Many sources state 6332 ccm so they use Pi
as 3,1415 because 6332,352965 is rounded-down,
but calculated with the Excel function
(16 digits after the comma?) one gets
6332,539728 which is rounded-up to 6333 cccm.
In that discussion we also noticed that German
tax displacement is somehow different, we both
could not work out ourselves in which way, but
finally I got hold of the exact formula:
One simply has to know how it is calculated...
I did some spreadsheet calculations then and
so all I had to do is to dig out these
calculations and add the engines Danny
mentioned in his recent posting to the group.
So you see no problem - once all the preparation
work is done of course! ;-)
Juergen ccm eff 2399, ccm tax 2350
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.