Mercedes Benz AMG 300TE
Let me ask you a question: When you think “station wagon” (or “estate car” or “shooting brake,” or whatever you want to call it), what do you think of?
A big, bland, lumbering load hauler or people sled, right? Not a machine to make your blood hot or to light your afterburner, right? And certainly not a car that itself might have afterburners, or at least a very respectable 0-60 time, right?
Well, if that’s what you think, I’ve got to tell you that you’re obviously not getting out much these days. Gotta get some fresh air, mate. You’ve got to broaden your car horizons. I speak from experience. Growing up in Canada (too many) years back, I used to think that station wagons were about as un-cool as you could get. My Dad had one and dads are all un-cool, right? Sports cars and muscle cars were cool. Wagons were tubs.
Now, to be fair to my Dear Old Dad, he had just one wagon and it was during an un-cool period in his life. It was a horrid, saggy Dodge Aspen that rotted to death in our driveway. Other than the Aspen, every car my Dad has ever had has been a sports car (Miata, Karman Ghia, etc.) or a muscle car (his first Mustang, his second Mustang, and his third Mustang). All his cars were machines to light your tail and spark you up, and a “station wagon” like this Mercedes Benz AMG 300TE, would have got a clear thumbs up from him and a “Ja, das ist gut. Tolles Auto!” My response to this car, in my modern, slangy English, goes more like this:”Hot, mean metal, Man!”
And now this AMG station wagon (a left hand drive / LHD unit, by the way) is heading to the USA. On seeing this car come up at one of the Japanese used car auctions, our customer asked us to grab it right away.
When you work with us at Japan Car Direct you get auction access and can see in advance what cars are going to come up for sale at the auctions here in Japan. This gives you time to think and search out what is the ideal car for you to import for yourself, whether to the USA, as in the case of this AMG Benz, or to the UK, Canada, Australia, the EU, or other destinations. When the car comes up for auction, the actual bidding process is lightening quick (as you can see in our live auction video here), but by having an advanced look before the bidding via our auction access, you can take more time for yourself, we will translate the auction inspector’s report, and we can also arrange a second, independent inspection of your target vehicle (see here).
It’s a good system and you can find out more about it here.
Turning now to this car itself, this “station wagon.” Click on the photos above and you’ll find yourself looking at a very clean, well cared for, high spec, and low mileage car (118,393km / 73,565 miles on the odometer). Rich, yet sporty interior and serious load capacity is what you’re seeing on the inside, and the hard-ass AMG body kit, tinted windows, lowered suspension, and fat, road-grabber alloys is what you’re getting on the outside. You can growl down the highway in this guy, that’s for sure, and you’ll just scare the people out of your way on looks and cool factor alone! Under the bonnet you’ve got one of Mercendes Benz’s silky smooth and muscular straight six gasoline engines, the M103; in this case the 3.2 liter version. (The 103.983 to use Benz’s nomenclature.) These engines give good grunt but are not particularly highly stress units, with compression ratios under 10:1. They’ll last forever and Mercedes-Bens parts availability is excellent.
On a side note, a couple of years ago a buddy of mine here in Japan picked up a 1969 W108 S-Class with the 2.8L carb engine. He just found it at the local dealer and was told: “Old Benz is no problem for parts.” He’s done a bit of work on the car since and has, in fact, had no trouble sourcing parts. Good road!
This raises the question of buying a used car from a Japanese used car dealer: Does Japan Car Direct buy from used car dealers? Indeed we do. Especially when it comes to used European classic cars, everything from BMW Alpinas to Lancia Deltas, many fine, clean cars come up at the specialist dealers that we work with. Once in a while a shop may be a bit reluctant to sell a European classic if they know it is going to be shipped out of Japan, but in the end they will sell to another fan of classic cars when they know the car is going to a good home. Only once was I ever refused. There was this perfect, clean, low mileage Alpina that a collector in Germany had his eye on, it was a nice car, and I mean NICE, but the shop wouldn’t let it go. Sigh!
So, yes, we source good used European cars from both the Japanese used car auctions (as with our lovely and mean-machine-serious Mercedes-Benz AMG 300TE station wagon here) and from the Japanese used car dealers.
And this car is a perfect example of what is best to import from Japan to the USA and Australia (since 2019). Very simply, you want:
1) Just over 25 years old
2) Low mileage, but not too low (if it’s too low you’ve got to ask “why?”)
3) Solidly built vehicle
4) Clean and well cared for
These cars are the best value in used vehicles from Japan and they are the “keep cars.”
And so, after seeing this AMG, are station wagons stodgy to you now? Not to me anymore, and no doubt about that. In fact, powerful and mean looking station wagons joined my personal “cool classification” the day I test drove a used 1996 Subaru Impreza WRX STi (Verion III) wagon here in Japan. That car could do 0-60 in mid fours (a few power mods on him). I bought that car, and driving a “station wagon” (or “estate car” or “shooting brake,” or whatever you want to call it) became a whole new, and very cool, driving experience.