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This Barra-Swapped Classic Benz Wagon Can Crack 200 mph

This Ford-swapped straight-six Mercedes-Benz 300TD can haul ass while also hauling cargo. 

The W123 generation of Mercedes-Benz is perhaps best known the world over for its stout reliability and indestructibility, but it can incidentally be capable of some substantial speed and power too. Especially when there lies a boosted Barra under its hood, which thus sees this very 300TD wagon be capable of launching itself from 0-200 mph (322 km/h) in a standing mile. 

And yes to the Merc nerds out there, this particular vintage Germanic long roof is indeed to manage a higher V-Max than what is to be capable by the latest and greatest AMG-spec fast Benz wagon today (186 mph/300 km/h). In fact, it would actually take the flagship thoroughbred Black Series AMG GT for a modern standard Mercedes to match what this very speedy W123 300TD has achieved!

This hypercar-baiting straight-line speed machine here is the creation of Finland-based Valtonen Motorsport, with the main change performed on this classic wagon being the engine swap that saw the ol’ reliable 3.0-litre OM617 inline-five oil burner be replaced turbocharged 4.0-litre Ford Barra straight-six. 

Further details regarding the other modifications performed on the Aussie equivalent of an LS are unfortunately not disclosed by its makers thus far, with the exact horsepower and torque figure also remaining a closely guarded secret as well (to the point that the dyno numbers on their uploaded video has been deliberately blurred out). It is nevertheless safe to say though that given its subsequent top speed achievement, those numbers will likely be somewhat stratospheric. 

Paired to the wagon’s Barra six is an 8-speed ZF-sourced automatic gearbox transmission, in order to help it be adequately geared in hitting the V-Max target. Also observed on this remarkably stock-looking long roof is a set of (presumably BBS LM?) alloys and a rather large but discreet front chin spoiler, with perhaps the only distinctly obvious giveaway to this Benz’s top speed potential being the parachute bag round its rump.  

Based on the video published by its makers to mark the achievement of this old Merc getting into the 200 mph (322 km/h) club, this standing mile top speed attempt took place on a runway at Halli airport in southern Finland. In its first pull, the vintage wagon managed to crack 315 km/h with no issues reported during the run. 

On the second pull meanwhile, more power was added while in 7th, which saw the speed rise by 7 km/h to the requisite 322 km/h (200 mph). Front end lift did however lead to some instability at those high speeds, with runs faster than that then called off for the present moment.  

More runs were in any case still performed to fine tune its half mile performance, and there was  supposedly good progress made to that end. So who knows we might be seeing this green wagon be back again in the news soon, with it to perhaps match the AMG One’s top speed of 219 mph (352 km/h)?

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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