Mercedes-Benz's old-school diesel engines are famous for their reliability and can easily take hundreds of thousands of miles of use on the road. Want proof? Check out this video from Estonia of one starting up after sitting for years.
The mill doesn't spring to life immediately. It takes a little maintenance and a whole lot of cranking before the engine returns to running condition. However, there's no major work necessary. Once the mill starts idling, the powerplant has no problem rattling along.
Mercedes experts might be curious about seeing this engine in a W116 sedan, the S-Class equivalent in the 1970s. The diesel originally available in this four-door is an inline-five cylinder, but this one clearly only has four cylinders. In an earlier video showing the Mercedes still sitting, the description says that the vehicle originally had a 2.8-liter gasoline-fueled inline six.
In a long conversation in the comments on YouTube, a discussion said that these four-pot diesels were readily available in this part of Europe. If something went wrong with the original inline six, then installing the diesel would have been an inexpensive way to keep the luxury sedan on the road.
The car had quite a life before it started rotting away in a field, too. A glimpse inside shows over 372,000 kilometers (231,150 miles) on the odometer.
It's amazing, but once the engine springs to life, there's no problem getting the car moving. Put the automatic transmission in Drive and the four-door motors away with a cloud of white smoke behind it. We would probably replace the belts before and get a fresh set of tires before going on any trips, though.