Mercedes-Benz celebrates 30th Anniversary of the C 124

Article by Christian A., on January 21, 2017

Mercedes-Benz has revealed that in 2017, its series 124 coupé will be celebrating its 30th anniversary. While this itself is a significant event, it will also mean that this model will now be eligible to carry Germany’s historic license plate, also known as the H plate.

It was back in March 1987 when the brand first unveiled the coupe version of the 124 model series during the Geneva Motor Show held in that same year. Though coupe versions have long been considered as classics by many enthusiasts, this particular model continues to be considered as such even long after it was originally shown.

In the brochure that was released way back in 1987, the Mercedes-Benz mid-sized 124 coupe was described as having an impressive combination of a vehicle that had exclusive form, made use of innovative technology, delivered excellent fuel economy, featured high safety, and of course, boasted a remarkable performance. It was a model, the brochure continued, that can be reliably driven on a daily basis but is also a competent vehicle for long journeys.

A distinct feature was the lines on the exterior as they not only exhibited its unusual style but also showed that the way it was designed was perfect. Even today those words still ring true. If anything, the change implemented made it better, especially with the qualities that made this one of the most sought-after models released by the brand.

When they were first released, the models were then called as the 230 CE and the 300 CE. Similar to what occurred in the past, this coupe had a lot to offer. One of the main qualities that it delivered was how this two-door model was designed. Though it did have a design that was unique and elegant, there were features that remained to make it related to the other models in the 124 range. It even had the characteristic rub strips that were integrated to the longitudinal door-sill panels.

Placed on the same level as the bumpers and in the middle of the wheel cutouts, it served as a visual link of the apron in the front and the one in the rear. Helping highlight this is the fact that they come in contrasting colors. This design element is the one that ensured that the 124 coupe was different from the other versions.

As expected, the coupe also had many of the technical details observed in the estate and the saloon. These include the highest level of standard when it comes to safety and the use of sophisticated suspension. It even had the emission control system that followed a closed loop and included a three-way catalytic converter.

For the 300 CE in particular, it had the anti-lock braking system as standard. Combined, these are all the qualities that made this coupe a model that was highly desirable. With the addition of being able to carry the H-plate, the status of the 124 coupe is raised even higher.

Press Release

Sought-after young classic: From 2017: classic with H licence plate: the series 124 coupé turns 30

It was almost 30 years ago, in March 1987, that Mercedes-Benz brought out the coupé variant of the mid-sized 124 model series. This means that, from 2017, in Germany for example, the first vehicles will be ripe for the coveted H (historic) licence plate. Yet the coupé models have long been classics – for some aficionados, they have held that status since their very debut at the Geneva Motor Show in 1987.

Stuttgart. "The new coupés of the mid-sized Mercedes class a harmonious blend of exclusive form and powerful performance, ground-breaking technology, high safety and economy. The flair of the exceptional with the relaxing comfort of a vehicle that one drives every day and also uses on long journeys. The external lines: sporty elegance – distinct styling, perfectly designed in every detail." This was how the first brochure from 1987 described the series 124 Mercedes-Benz coupé. Looked at today, these words are still appropriate. The only thing one might add is that these are precisely the characteristics that make the coupé a sought-after classic of the brand.

230 CE and 300 CE – these were the names of the debutants 30 years ago. Then as now, the coupé has a lot going for it. One of its principal attributes is the design of the two-door models: elegant, distinctive and yet closely related to the other vehicles of the 124 model series. A characteristic design element that highlights the distinctiveness of the coupés in comparison with the other body variants is the rub strips with integral longitudinal door-sill panels. Positioned between the wheel cutouts on a level with the bumpers, they form the visual link between the front and rear aprons and, like these, are painted in contrasting colours.

Of course, the coupés also featured all the technical details of the saloon and estate variants, such as the high safety standard, sophisticated suspension and the (then already standard) closed-loop emission control system with three-way catalytic converter. The 300 CE even came as standard with an anti-lock braking system (ABS). The sum total of their characteristics has for many years made these vehicles sought-after young classics. The fact that they now qualify in Germany for the H (historic) licence plate even further ennobles the status of these vehicles as classics in that country.

In their further history, the coupés benefited from all the facelifts of the 124 model series. For instance, from 1989 they were optionally available with the "Sportline" package, which was already familiar from the compact models. Launched in the same year, the top-of-the-line model was the 300 CE-24, which was powered by a four-valve six-cylinder engine rated at 162 kW (220 hp). From June 1993, the model designations conformed to the new nomenclature with a prefixed letter to denote membership of the E-Class. The 320 CE thus became the E 320 Coupé. Over the years, there were various four- and six-cylinder engine variants. Launched in September 1993, the most potent coupé variant was the E 36 AMG, which was powered by a 195 kW (265 hp) 3.6-litre four-valve AMG engine. It was also one of the first models to be jointly developed by AMG and Mercedes-Benz after the two companies signed a cooperation agreement in 1990. In total, 141,498 units were manufactured of all series 124 coupés between 1987 and 1996 at the Sindelfingen plant.

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