1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SE

Now that we are just about done drooling over Craig’s new 300SE, it’s time to take a look at another W126. This 1985 380SE for sale in Kentucky offers up another shade of blue on the S-Class, the darker Nautical Blue Metallic. This one also has two extra cylinders with the M116 3.8 liter V8. Fortunately for everyone, this Gen 1 W126 has been highly cared for and shows only a hair over 45,000 miles. But are you willing to pay the price?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SE on eBay

Model: 380SE
Engine: 3.8 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 45,100 mi
Price: $8,900

“ONE OWNER! Garage kept Only 45k Original Miles! Owner invested $6400 in upgrades recently…you will NOT find this year and mileage anywhere on the internet. Near perfect condition! Very Very minor paint chips…almost cannot see them. Trunk appears to have never been used. Leather is perfect and the overall interior is pristine. This is a one of a kind car and there is NOT anything like it on the entire internet for this year, make, and model. No fading in paint and the tires are newer. Chrome has no blemishes. Just a beautiful car. Mechanically it runs and drives like new. You will not be disappointed.”

From 1980 to 1985, the 380SE was sold along side the 380SEL, 500SEL and of course the diesel 300SD in the US. In 1984, the M116 in the 380SE/L was upgraded to a dual-row timing chain to fix chain failure issues that the earlier engines suffered from. The dual-row 380SE/L only lasted until 1985 until it was replaced by the 4.2 liter V8 M117 that birthed the 420SE/L that carried on until the end of W126 production. This being a 1985 car, it’s a far more desirable car in the eyes of enthusiasts and anyone who just wants to maintain these cars to go forever.

This car specifically looks to be a great example of a short wheelbase 380SE. Inside and out the car looks like a true 45,000 mile W126 should look. Another great sign that this car was cared for is that it rides on Michelin Defender tires which is the premier tire for 14-inch Mercedes wheels. (Unless you are insane and buy Michelin XWXs for $370 a tire!) People who don’t care about their cars usually don’t spring for the expensive Michelins when it comes to replacing their tires. The over $6,000 in recent repairs that was done in one swing is another great sign as well.

The Buy It Now on this one is set for $8,900 and while I can’t argue against it, you are paying a premium for a 380SE at that price. You can probably go find a nice Gen 2 560SEL for that kind of money or find a really nice 300SD if you want to go the diesel route.

– Andrew

Tuner Tuesday – Roll the Dice? 1980 Mercedes-Benz 380SE Euro-spec

Early AMG cars are always a bit of a gamble without proper documentation, but today’s example really had me stumped. The listing has a bit of misinformation and answers few questions about the history or build of this particular W126. The look of the car, too, is questionable mostly because of the poor photo quality. So, let’s see if we can take a closer look and figure out any of what’s here – is this car worth the gamble?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Mercedes-Benz 380SE on eBay

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1989 Mercedes-Benz 300SE

Oscar Wilde once opined “I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.” Every time I lay eyes on a Mercedes-Benz S-class from the 1980s, those words come to mind. The W126 was sandwiched between two worlds of luxury cars. That of the W116 S-Class and it’s evolving safety and emissions equipment and the W140 S-class with its girth and over the top engineering. The W126 hits the sweet spot when it comes to executive sedans. It’s advanced without being overly complex, stylish without being trendy and comfortable without feeling like you are driving a sofa down the interstate. The short wheelbase 300SE was the “entry” level S-class towards the end of the production run, perfect for someone who wanted something just a tad smaller who didn’t need the oomph of a V8 engine. This example spotted by our reader Craig is for sale in New Jersey and belies the fact that it’s about to hit six figures on the odometer. It’s appearance looks almost fresh as new.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 300SE on eBay

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1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SE

When it came time to shop for my first car, I wasn’t your normal teenager. Back in the mid 1990s when kids my age were souping up Civics and other Japanese subcompacts, I had my sights set on something bigger. Much bigger. In fact, this car you see here, the Mercedes-Benz W126. I had come across an ad for a gray market 500SE down the road from me that was in the local Mercedes-Benz Club flyer. Upon inspecting it, I was impressed. It was a medium metallic green with light tan cloth, an uncommon option for an S class in the US. After driving it, I was hooked. Heavy yet communicative, it had a commanding feel about it and felt tight even after 15 years of use. Ultimately, my first car ended up to be a 1988 BMW 325is, a choice which I didn’t lament too much. But that early W126 still sticks in my mind to this day. Probably why I’d have two Mercedes C class sedans over the course of ten years during my grad school and early professional life.

This 1985 380SE represents the final year for the 3.8 liter V8 before Mercedes switched to the 5.6 liter version. It’s harder to find these earlier W126 models in good shape as compared to their later counterparts, but this black over palomino beauty for sale in New Jersey looks impeccable and has just over 83,000 miles on the clock, which is a scant amount of distance for this robust sedan.

Year: 1985
Model: 380SE
Engine: 3.8 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 83,844 mi
Price: Reserve auction

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SE on eBay

1985 Mercedes Benz 380 SE finish in Black (040) and matched with a beautiful Palomino(274) leather interior. The vehicle has only 83k original garage kept miles and shows like a 20k mile car. Black exterior paint is exceptionally glossy and is well complimented with bright and clear chrome trim all around. The palomino leather interior is gorgeous and exceptionally clean. The carpets have no stains. The dash and interior trim shows no sign of sun fading, and the interior Zebrano wood is very clear and bright.

The car runs and drives beautifully and has no mechanical issues and does not drop any fluids. Brakes are excellent. The AC blows strong and ice cold. The car wears matching Pirelli P400 tires all around and have greater than 75% tread remaining.

All original books, window sticker, data plate, first aid kit and tools are present as well as the original spare tire. All door and trunk jambs are spotless, and engine bay is exceptionally clean. If you are a fan of W126 sedans this is a great opportunity to get a very clean and well maintained example in the best color combination.

This car was used very sparingly over the past 20 years and was only taken out on fair weather days and special occasions. It has been garage kept and covered in a climate controlled environment. The vehicle attracts attention wherever its driven.

Vehicle is located in Central New Jersey 07753. Contact Dean at 848-459-7776

The 3.8 liter engine isn’t the cream of the crop when it comes to Mercedes’ V8s, as it is down a bit on power from the later 5.6 and was known to be a little less robust than the 4.5 liter engine it replaced. But, for those who want more performance than the diesel engine offered this same year, this was your only choice stateside. There’s not a lot to dislike about this piece, but a little more information on service records and ownership history would be appreciated to go along with a nicely presented car such as this.

For a W126 of this caliber, the best of the best will run you somewhere around the $10,000 to $13,000 mark, with later model W126s fetching in the mid teens. While the mileage is closing in on 100,000, I wouldn’t consider that a detriment, as mileage like that would suggest this car has gotten the exercise it needs over the years. If this 380SE could be had at around the $10,000 to $11,000 mark, I’d consider it well bought.

-Paul