As the models continue to grow older, the Ford Crown Victoria is slowly but surely disappearing from US cities as the prevailing taxicab. The same thing is happening in Morocco with its huge fleet of Mercedes-Benz W123-chassis taxis thanks to a little help from the government. The authorities cite safety and environmental reasons for the decades-old sedans to be removed from the road in a cash-for-clunkers-style program slated to start by the end of the year.

According to Ran When Parked, there are about 55,000 W123 taxis operating in Morocco. The body style was built throughout the '70s and '80s with a variety of gasoline and diesel engines, and they earned a reputation for doing high miles with great reliability. The cab drivers like them because they can cram several people in and still fit on the crowded streets. To stop the stream of old Mercedes cabs, the country's government made it quite expensive to import vehicles more than five years old.

In addition to improving air quality, the cash-for-clunkers program might stimulate local business. Renault and Dacia operate a factory in Tangier, Morocco, that builds some vans, including the Dacia Dokker. Ran When Parked claims the authorities would give drivers about 50,000 Dirhams ($6,100) to trade in their cars, and Renault would provide an additional 10,000 Dirhams ($1,200) to switch to one of its vehicles. Maybe it's finally time for the W123 to pass the torch...


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  • 16 Comments
      throwback
      • 7 Months Ago
      W123 Benzs are like Crown Vics, they can run forever with regular maintanence and parts swapping is easy.
      domingorobusto
      • 7 Months Ago
      Send them over here to America! We can always use 123 parts. Just please, please don't crush them. So many awesome cars got crushed in America's worthless C4C program, I don't want the same to happen anywhere else.
      Winnie Jenkems
      • 7 Months Ago
      NOOOOOOO Long live the W123!
      Hampton
      • 7 Months Ago
      The Current Mercedes E250 L (long wheelbase)Bluetec Diesel ,45 MPG ,would be something Mercedes should consider importing to the USA for Limo fleets who are in need of a executive car to replace the Lincoln Town Car. Especially since diesels are so durable in the E Class
        wilkegm
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Hampton
        The E-Class, no matter how long the wheelbase, is too small for livery work in the States. Better answer would be an Ecodiesel 300. If the Towncar could have escaped the chopping block somehow, it would have been sweet with the new 2.7 EB/6speed.
          Winnie Jenkems
          • 7 Months Ago
          @wilkegm
          A LWB E-class would be plenty big for livery work in the US; the problem is every single thing on the car will break and cost thousands of dollars to fix. Agree that Lincoln never should have killed the Town Car, and desperately needs a new one.
          Brodz
          • 7 Months Ago
          @wilkegm
          You're right. A flatbed truck would be better for carting Americans around.
          Brodz
          • 7 Months Ago
          @wilkegm
          You're right. A flatbed truck would be better suited to lugging Americans around. Well... as long as it has a crane attached.
      Teleny411
      • 7 Months Ago
      The w123 laughs at government attempts to kill it..,
      Brodz
      • 7 Months Ago
      Time to fly for Morocco for a top gear like adventure, and do a cheap car challenge with the W123
      Beetles
      • 1 Month Ago

      The body style works for the place of use. A hybrid retrofit or clean diesel retrofit might be a reasonable option. Thirty years and still intact says a lot for general build quality, in livery use, no less.

      DaveMart
      • 7 Months Ago
      As some here may know in many places I am dubious of the merits of renewables. Morocco however has excellent resources. Not only has it very good solar resources, but its wind resources are some of the best on the planet. Of course, being a relatively poor country it is not in a position to subsidise them to the same extent as richer places, so progress there may represent a much more realistic litmus test of true economic viability than all the theoretical calculations about grid parity elsewhere. Even in places like Morocco, renewables are still relatively expensive, but the gap sure is closing.
        Younes
        • 7 Months Ago
        @DaveMart
        What does renewables have to do with taxi cab?
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