To round out my week of posts I thought it would be appropriate to post the top dog of the W126 lineup, the 560SEL. I found a couple pristine examples with rather lofty prices that I considered writing up but in the end it was this example that needs a bit of cosmetic love that captured my imagination. The seller notes that they’ve handled a number of issues and that the only concerns are the state of the hood, top and trunk paint and the A/C system needing service. Other than that, this Bavarian living room on wheels is ready for a whole lot more use, either as a daily driver or weekend warrior.
All posts in Mercedes Benz
The W126 380 SE I wrote up yesterday got me back on a Mercedes kick and I quickly came across this badass ’87 560 SEC. I’ve long thought that Benzes look best in black or white and I think this car in a garage next to yesterday’s 380 SE would be a perfect garage. The big white cruiser for you and your friends and then this black coupe for you and one lucky passenger. The back seat can accommodate grown adults if need be as only 3 inches was shaved off the W126 SE chassis and the large doors make for easy passenger entry and exit. However, I think the vibe of this car is best honored with two people riding in style up front. The 560 SEC was Mercedes’ statement car, the kind of vehicle reserved for the executive with a wild side. It cost more than its rivals like the Porsche 928S, BMW 635i and Jaguar XJS, something that I think actually helped it succeed. At this level of luxury there are those people will automatically assume the most expensive option is the best and I think in this case they would be right. I would rather have a 560 SEC than any other personal sport coupe from the era, even the M6. While I love that car, I don’t think it has quite the same presence as this black beauty and sometimes presence (though rarely) beats performance. Sure we couldn’t get our hands on a manual option here in the states but I honestly think that’s ok because it this car is more of a mean city cruiser than a country road carver. Besides, the 4 speed automatic in this was quite ahead of it’s time in that it had a topographical sensor that would let it know if the car was on an incline or decline. This allowed for impressive engine braking when coasting downhill and smooth starts without using the brake pedal when going uphill. Just one of the many pieces of technology that we take for granted today that was pioneered on the W126 chassis.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Mercedes Benz 560 SEC On eBay
Having recently written up a number of performance oriented vehicles I thought it might be a good idea to switch it up and do something different. I’ve had my eye on this super cruiser down in Naples, FL for some time now and honestly I’m surprised that it hasn’t sold already. The W126 is an absolutely timeless chassis, an 80s icon known around the world for its luxuriousness and durability. This example is finished in rare Glacier White paint over Dove Grey leather which cranks the Euro luxo-barge vibe up to 11. Personally I love it, more often than not you see these in black or grey, both of which are handsome but I much prefer this look.
This being an ’85, it represents the end of the first cycle of the W126 run in the States. The 3.8L V8 isn’t the most exciting power plant fitted to chassis, I’d have to give that honor to the M117 5.6L V8 found in the 560 SE that we didn’t get. Still, it is a capable motor that was able to move the hefty 380 SE up to a comfortable cruising speed with ease and isn’t that really the purpose of a car such as this? In a way I enjoy the fact that this was the only choice for U.S. buyers who wanted more performance than the 300 SD offered with its oil burning inline 5. Made things simple, you either got a diesel W126 because you truly didn’t need the power or you got a gas W126 because you did. Sure a whole lot of people snapped up grey market W126 cars during the 80’s and enthusiasts of my generation have benefited from the availability of federalized 500 SE and 560 SE models but clean ones are few and far between. So when you come across a clean example of a 380 SE like this one, it might be time to start arranging travel to Florida.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 380 SE on Cars.com
The first modern classic that my father purchased when I was growing up was a 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL. He had often talked about the SLs and how much he wanted one, so when an example of the W113 popped up he grabbed it. We shared many adventures in that car; I was a young teenager, and traveling to vintage car shows was a treat. Back then, although it was regarded as a pretty car, the W113 was already two generations old and was generally overlooked as a classic; indeed, it was easy to find plenty of clean examples well under $20,000. As the market progressed, times changed – the W113 came back into vogue as appreciation for the classic design matured into a greater market presence. It was no surprise, then, that the successor to the W113 – the R107 – slipped in value. To me, the R107 was always stuck a bit in no-man’s land. The W113 hadn’t been particularly sporty, but it was really quite a beautiful design. The R129 that replaced the R107, on the other hand, was a modern convertible with sporty engines and angular design language that brought the SL into modern times. So for many years the R107 languished, unappreciated despite the handsome if understated design and solid build quality. Languish it is no more, though; as the market begins to awaken to the classic style of the SL that carried Mercedes-Benz through two decades, prices have begun to rise – especially on pristine examples such as this Euro-market 1986 300SL:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 300SL at The Last Detail
Modern Mercedes Sprinters are some of the most versatile and capable vehicles out there, and we’ve taken a few trips down memory lane to look at the history of Mercedes vans. This example comes from the first generation of Mercedes mid-size van, the 319, which came in a variety of van and truck bodystyles. This Panoramabus comes with the windows up, down, and all-around greenhouse that many lust after in the 21-Window VW Bus, offering as much sunlight as you can handle. It’s been around the block, originally living the US before heading to Holland to become a tour bus for the unfortunately-named Inn at Fawnskin and then transitioning into a camper (though the Fawnskin decals remain). I find it truly astonishing that it’s covered 164k miles given that it shares the meager 1.9-liter inline-4 which powered the diminutive 190SL. It has a very funky look and could be an epic van once restored, but is also being sold for an epic price at nearly $40k.