Mercedes S 123, Ford Granada: useful station wagon classics

No oldie fits so well into everyday life as a robust station wagon from the 70s and 80s. Welcome to the world in which classic cars are driven in everyday life because they offer the necessary space, comfort and reliability. And we have to try that out right away: Open the flap, that’s what they say four everyday station wagons!
You can even spend the night in these goods haulers (especially good in the Ford, which has almost two meters of loading space). The Volvo, Mercedes and Peugeot have significantly less space, but their trunk furnishings also appear much more homely, with wool loop carpets on the sides, clad C-pillars and carefully crafted piping and edges.

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Ford Granada 2.3 tournament

The Ford Granada with V6 is agile, its cargo space offers space

Ford Granada Tournament 2.3: Place without end

The Granada is only really suitable for everyday use with a six-cylinder. The smaller engines are overwhelmed with the heavy station wagon. Important: The machine will still run even if it already looks bad inside. If you want to be on the safe side, you should therefore measure the compression and not just listen to the running behavior. The “drive-to-the-end-and-hang-a-machine-from-the-scrap-piece”, which was often practiced in the past, now fails due to a lack of supplies.
A common one, but good solvable problem the V6 has worn spur gears. They are noticeable by grinding noises. The K-Jetronic of the 2.8i is prone to damage caused by standing. When it comes to transmissions, the four-speed manual switches are considered extremely robust, while experiences with the better five-speed transmissions vary. Even the three-stage automatic does not last forever. The bushings on the front axle wear out just as quickly as the brakes, but both are cheap to replace.

Where the rust strikes

If everything is so sturdy, where did all the Granada go? The answer: rusted away. Without the inner fenders, the front end of the car rumbles at the base of the A-pillars. Rocker tips, standing plates and the side members below the engine are also typical problem areas, and of course the “usual suspects” (jack supports, wheel arches and door edges) also deserve a close look. The classic among the Granada killers is a corroded crossmember above the differential, where it is barely visible. This applies to all years of construction from 1972 to -85, which are structurally identical.
Volvo 245 station wagon

Volvo built the 200 model for almost 20 years.

Volvo 245: The little truck

Here you sit upright – and that also expresses an attitude with the car: the model was built for almost 20 years. If Volvo has ever kept its promise that all controls can be operated by a driver with mittens, then here it is with these massive heating controls, toggle switches and mirror adjustment levers. With velor covers, a solid choice of materials and a high waistline, the Volvo even comes close to the Mercedes.
Even under the hood everything looks solid, Volvo’s 200 series is considered indestructible. That is not completly correct. First the positive: Much of the reputation comes from the “Red Block” engines with the internal name B230F. The gray cast iron blocks are good for very high mileage, as long as sloppy oil changes do not lead to clogged camshaft lubrication. The associated timing belt must be changed every 80,000 kilometers or six years. If there are cracks, however, there is no risk of engine damage: the engines are free-running. The M45 and M46 gearboxes (with overdrive) used from 1976 onwards will last forever. On the other hand, the M47 is sensitive with fifth gear in an additional housing. Even after a revision in 1986, it was unable to cope with the performance of the more powerful variants and was rightly always reserved for naturally aspirated engines.
Now for the worse: The windshield is glued in with butyl and can visibly slip off in summer. Penetrating water causes the fuse box to corrode, and then the connection between the inner sill and the vehicle floor. In the engine compartment, the upper edge of the bulkhead and the spring domes are rusting. The striker plate of the tailgate rattles through chafing as soon as the tailgate rusts and the seal shifts. There is also a risk of rust on the inside at the transition from the trunk floor to the wheel arch – be sure to look behind the side panels! Always check sills, door edges and wheel arches anyway.
Peugeot 505 SX

Intact Peugeot 505 can only be found in France.

Peugeot 505 SX: Sparkling, but rare

The largest is also the most agile: the Peugeot 505 SX is the king of tight corners and steers precisely. However, if you are looking for a conspicuous car, you are wrong with the Peugeot 505. The Frenchman has other qualities, in addition to high utility value, and above all an almost modern driving behavior, which he continues to like reliable everyday companion power. With its combination of stable chassis and robust naturally aspirated engines, the Peugeot can cope with tough use on the gravel roads of Africa to this day. But that calls for compromises: the sedan’s rear axle, which is more modern than the station wagon, is considered to be hard-wearing. In the past, the cylinder head gaskets of the turbo engines developed by Talbot burned out in rows – not fully throttle-proof.
The so-called Euro-V6 in the upscale variants is also annoying with high consumption with low revving and slow power output. The well thought-out body with up to eight seats is a strength, but was poorly protected against rust at the factory. The sheet metal therefore rags on the wheel arches, door edges and sills at an early stage. The A-pillar feet also deserve a critical look. A knockout criterion are rusted away rear axle mountings.

General problem of the 505 is: He doesn’t have a lobby. Advice and action are hard to come by. There are always traces of enthusiastic 505 fans on the Internet who are desperately (and unfortunately often in vain) looking for like-minded people who not only vaguely know the car from the past, but still drive it today. Even the activities of the French 505 Club fell asleep again after an ambitious start four years ago.

Mercedes 200T

The Mercedes is very high quality, but rare and expensive.

Mercedes-Benz 200 T: high quality & expensive

The Mercedes looks the most classic. The rounder shapes, the chrome jewelry and the upper class quality are strong arguments for the purchase. Until 1980, the only four-cylinder petrol engine available for the T-model was the old 230, called the M 115. A better choice, especially with regard to power development and economy, are the later M-102 engines with cross-flow head, offered as a 200 T carburettor version with two liters and 109 hp (as tested here) and as a 136 hp 2.3-liter -Injector 230 TE. The carburetor six-cylinder of the 250 T is considered a drunkard. The 185 hp top model 280 TE is expensive. Diesel? The legendary resilience (exception: 300 TD turbodiesel) contrasts with the taxi sound and tranquil driving performance of the Mercedes diesel engines.
The T-model is even more important than the engine Condition of the body. The biggest weak point of the entire series is the transition from the front apron to the fender – below the bumper. If things get bad here, the stiffening plates behind the bumper corners are often attacked. In the engine compartment, the rust is often hidden under the battery and brake booster. Jack supports, inner sills and wheel arches are also typical sources of corrosion on the 123.
Ford Granada 2.3 Tournament Mercedes 200T Peugeot 505 SX Volvo 245 Kombi

Every station wagon classic has a different focus. Unfortunately, none of them are really cheap anymore.

It is dangerous and expensive Rust on the side members at the rear in the transition to the wheel arch; advanced infestation amounts to a total loss. Station wagons rust early on on the lower frame of the rear window, on the lower edge of the tailgate and in the rear corners of the side windows. Typical T-ailments as well: cables and windshield washer lines break in the transition from the roof to the hatch and then have to be laboriously replaced over their entire length.

Picture gallery


Four station wagon classics with high utility value

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