Published on August 18th, 2020 | by Subhash Nair0
Remembering the Benz with the Highest Mileage: the W115
Mercedes-Benz is a brand that earned its reputation for legendary reliability from the 1970s to 1990s, with many cars from that era still going strong today. Back then, things were different for the brand. Being the oldest carmaker in the game, they had a head start in figuring out how to make vehicles run reliably for many years. In fact, a lot of older taxis were Mercedes-Benz vehicles, as these were expected to clock many kilometres without any fuss. And many of these taxis came with diesel engines.
One of the highest mileage examples was from a Greek taxi driver named Gregorios Sachinidis. This man had a 1976 W115 Mercedes-Benz 240D with over 4,600,000 kilometres on its odometer! Mr. Sachinidis drove bought the vehicle used in 1981 when it had 220,000km clocked already.
Many car buyers would consider this an already ‘end-of-life’ product with that many kilometres on it. He went on to use the car as a taxi until the mid-2000s, when it was donated to the Mercedes-Benz Museum, where it is now considered the highest-mileage Benz in existence.
While the car itself has seen a lot of use, it wasn’t running on its original engine. In fact, Mr. Sachinidis had gone through a few engine swaps. Some sources say 3 engine swaps, while others say 2 engine swaps. There’s even one source that claims he had 2 extra engines in rotation during months where the car was being driven extensively. This last story apparently happened in July 2004, when the car was driven 24 hours a day throughout the month. We’re not sure how accurate these stories are, but the common thread seems to be that the car wasn’t running on its original engine by the end of its lifespan. Which is still impressive.
Besides serving as a taxi in the Greek port city of Thessalonica, it apparently was also serving as a transport for medical supplies during the war in the Balkans. Mr. Sachinidis apparently made hundreds of trips to and from Belgrade to deliver these much-needed supplies throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.
When the car was finally allowed to retire in the Benz Museum, DaimlerChrysler Hellas president, Dr. Alexander Paufler offered Mr. Sachinidis a new Mercedes-Benz C200 CDI. A bit of a downgrade from the spiritual predecessor of the E-Class to the C-Class, but the C200 CDI of the mid-2000s was much more refined, powerful and luxurious than the stroke-8 W115. Personally, I’d like to see a reimagined W115 for the modern age.