The W124 E Class cars, could they become the vehicle of choice for the shrewd connoisseur as the original '60s W111 coupes and cabriolet were in the '80s? I've co-owned a TE320 estate for the last ten years, bought as an uber-cheap but stylish hack. I quickly fell in love with the car for the unfailing reliability, starting first time after 8 months of sub-zero inactivity was the norm, and the ability to carry enormous loads without complaint. Attention to detail by Mercedes engineers is impressive, when raining the rear wiper triggering as reverse is selected was way ahead of its time and is just one of the details that pleases everytime it activates. The build quality on all W124 cars is outstanding, the Cabriolet in particular feels over-engineered with a re-inforced windscreen surround designed as a 'rollbar' aiding a complete absence of scuttle shake. With routine maintanence they just keep on going. Yet while the saloons will possibly for many be Stuttgart taxis or Marrakech minicabs, the coupes, estates and especially the cabriolets will either whisper old money or retro ride chic depending on the pilot. The cabriolet was an expensive proposition when shown at the Frankfurt motorshow in 1991. Initially offered with the 24-valve 231bhp engine, the straight six is quiet, powerful and smooth and mates well with the five-speed autobox with 'sportmode'. Forget manual Mercedes, its the autobox you want on a W124. These were generally highly specced cars when new, leather will have worn or need replacing on most examples by now but cloth is also stylish and exceedingly hardwearing. The fully electric hood folded flat and was fitted with pop-up rear headrest restraints as per the then current SL. Four cylinder cars followed, but its the full fat 6 cylinder 320 that we think is the best buy, both for usability and in terms of future values. The Sportline model is the one we'd plump for as it includes chassis, brake and suspension upgrades which make a noticeable difference in handling. We're still undecided about the AMG tuned cars with their branded bodyskirts, spoilers and rims as you get the same performance from the Sportline. Low mileage, late model Sportline cars are fantastic but if you can't afford an E320 a late E220 bought wisely at a classic car auction is a smart choice. Make sure you drive it first though, its the only way to pick up on a car that has been inactive and may need suspension work. This is not always an option at most classic car auction houses as the cars are not usually permitted to be driven prior to auction,.. making a physical auction house a bit of a lottery. So what to pay for a tidy, well maintained E320 cabriolet at online auction? £7,000 up to £25,000 depending on spec and condition - Early higher-mileage E220 up to low mileage E320 Sportline with full dealer history. The E320 cabriolet - newtimer for summer. Eclectic champagne at craft beer prices.