What Does it Take To Restore A W123 Diesel to Become a Reliable and Enjoyable Daily Driver

Jun 17, 2021

The W123 Diesel, manufactured by Mercedes-Benz in the late 1970s and early 1980s, has become an iconic classic car. Known for its durability and timeless design, restoring a W123 Diesel to its former glory is a rewarding and enjoyable project. At Grafco Electric, we have years of experience and expertise in W123 Diesel restoration. In this article, we'll share the essential steps and tips to help you transform your W123 Diesel into a reliable and enjoyable daily driver.

Step 1: Comprehensive Inspection and Evaluation

Before embarking on the restoration journey, it's crucial to conduct a thorough inspection of the W123 Diesel. This will help identify any potential issues, determine the overall condition of the vehicle, and create a detailed restoration plan. Our expert technicians at Grafco Electric meticulously inspect every aspect of the car, including the engine, transmission, suspension, brakes, and electrical systems.

Step 2: Mechanical Overhaul and Upgrades

A reliable and enjoyable daily driver requires a robust mechanical foundation. During the restoration process, it's essential to overhaul the engine, transmission, and other mechanical components. This may include rebuilding or replacing worn-out parts, upgrading to modern systems for improved performance and efficiency, and ensuring optimal functionality. Our skilled technicians at Grafco Electric have the expertise to handle all mechanical aspects of the restoration process.

2.1 Engine Overhaul

The heart of any vehicle, the engine, requires special attention during the restoration process. Our team of professionals at Grafco Electric performs a comprehensive engine overhaul, including cleaning, inspecting, replacing worn-out components, and fine-tuning for optimal performance. We ensure that your W123 Diesel's engine meets or exceeds the manufacturer's specifications.

2.2 Transmission and Drivetrain Upgrades

Upgrading the transmission and drivetrain is another essential step in transforming a W123 Diesel into a reliable daily driver. Our experts at Grafco Electric can recommend and install modern transmission systems, such as manual or automatic transmissions with improved gear ratios for better acceleration and fuel efficiency. Additionally, we can upgrade the drivetrain components to enhance overall performance and reliability.

Step 3: Bodywork and Paint Restoration

The W123 Diesel's timeless design deserves a meticulous bodywork restoration. Rust and corrosion are common issues that need to be addressed during this stage. Our skilled team at Grafco Electric carefully removes any rust, repairs body panels, and prepares the surface for a flawless paint finish. Using high-quality paint and expert techniques, we ensure that your W123 Diesel looks as stunning as it did when it rolled off the production line.

3.1 Rust Repair and Prevention

Rust is the enemy of any classic car, and the W123 Diesel is no exception. Our technicians are well-versed in rust repair and prevention techniques. We use industry-leading methods to remove rust, apply rust inhibitors, and provide long-lasting protection to keep your W123 Diesel's body in pristine condition.

3.2 Paintwork and Finishing

The final touch of any restoration project is a flawless paint finish. At Grafco Electric, we have a state-of-the-art paint booth and highly skilled painters who can match original paint colors or apply custom finishes. We pay meticulous attention to detail, ensuring a high-quality, durable, and visually pleasing paint job that will stand the test of time.

Step 4: Interior Restoration and Comfort Upgrades

To make your W123 Diesel a comfortable and enjoyable daily driver, the interior must receive proper attention. Our team at Grafco Electric specializes in interior restoration and upgrades to enhance comfort, convenience, and aesthetics. Whether it's repairing or replacing seats, restoring the dashboard, upgrading the audio system, or adding modern conveniences like air conditioning, we ensure that your W123 Diesel's interior is a place you'll love spending time in.

4.1 Upholstery Restoration

Preserving the original charm while ensuring comfort is our goal when it comes to restoring the upholstery of your W123 Diesel. We can repair or replace worn-out seats, restore leather or vinyl surfaces, and ensure that the interior perfectly complements the overall restoration.

4.2 Dashboard Restoration

A well-restored dashboard not only adds to the visual appeal but also ensures proper functionality. Our experts at Grafco Electric meticulously restore dashboards, repairing or replacing damaged components, and ensuring that all controls and instruments are in perfect working condition.

Step 5: Electrical System Overhaul and Modernization

Electrical issues are common in older vehicles like the W123 Diesel. As part of the restoration process, it's essential to overhaul and modernize the electrical system. Our skilled electricians at Grafco Electric inspect the entire electrical system, identifying faulty wiring, connectors, and components. We replace outdated components with modern equivalents, ensuring a reliable and efficient electrical system.

5.1 Wiring Harness Replacement and Repair

Wiring harnesses are prone to wear and corrosion over time, leading to electrical malfunctions. Our technicians are well-versed in diagnosing and repairing faulty wiring harnesses. We also offer replacement options with upgraded wiring harnesses to enhance durability and reduce the risk of future electrical issues.

5.2 Upgrading Lighting Systems

Modern lighting systems provide enhanced visibility and safety. We can upgrade your W123 Diesel's lighting systems with brighter, energy-efficient LED lights, ensuring optimal visibility on the road and a vintage aesthetic.


Restoring a W123 Diesel to become a reliable and enjoyable daily driver requires expertise, attention to detail, and a passion for preserving automotive history. At Grafco Electric, we have the knowledge and experience to transform your W123 Diesel into a masterpiece that will turn heads and provide you with years of driving pleasure. Contact us today to start your W123 Diesel restoration journey with the leading experts in the industry!

Kent Walker
Looks like a fun project! 👍
Nov 8, 2023