When I brought home a nautical blue W126 last month, I was pretty chuffed to find a car in such an attractive and unusual color. But ever since then, I’ve been seeing nautical blue Benzes pop up left, right and center. I hadn’t really noticed them before, but it turns out that color code 929 isn’t as rare as I first thought. Still, it is gorgeous, and looks just as nice on the C126 coupe as it does on my W126 sedan. This particular car was spotted by fellow contributor Andrew H. It’s a Euro-spec 500SEC, powered by a version of the 5.0 liter M117 motor unsaddled by US emissions restrictions. That means it should be good for about 250 hp, give or take. Performance won’t be blistering – the SEC is more of a grand tourer than a sports car – but that motor is definitely more potent than the one offered in the US-spec 500 from the same period.
As readers will know, I’ve been on the lookout for a 300SE for a while now. In fact, one of the first cars I wrote up for GCFSB was a 300SE, which should tell you something. After a couple of false starts, I finally have a W126 I can call my own.
I found it on Craigslist while looking for cars to write up for the site. It stood out because it was in exactly the spec I’d been looking for. It was a 1989, a Gen II car with the more modern looking leather seats and updated exterior side cladding. It was in a great color combination, nautical blue over mushroom cream leather. And, unusually for a 1989 six cylinder, it was equipped with a passenger side airbag and upgraded Bose sound system, options that are more commonly found on the V8s. It also had only 116k miles on it, and was priced fairly. Unfortunately, it was located in Austin, TX, while I’m in Washington, DC.
After a lengthy back and forth with the seller, apparently an enthusiast who assured me it was in excellent running condition, I decided to buy it sight unseen and have it shipped to me. After a couple of weeks of delays on the shipping company’s end (I went with the cheapest option, and it showed), the car finally arrived. At first I was thrilled. It looked great.
But my excitement soon turned to disappointment as the hauler tried unload it. The car wouldn’t start. To be more precise, the car would start with a puff of black smoke out the back and die immediately. It did eventually start on the fourth or fifth try. It then ran rough for a minute or two, like it was misfiring, then smoothed out. My heart sank.
We eventually got it off the transporter and I gingerly began driving it, uncertain what the problem was.…
I’ve made no secret of my love for the W126 on these pages. Produced between 1979 and 1991, they date from a period when Mercedes-Benz produced over-engineered cars with an unrivaled reputation for durability and quality. The W126 sat at the top of the range, offering the highest levels of luxury, safety and refinement that money could buy. Whenever I see one on the road today, especially if it’s in nice condition, I immediately think “old money.” Many well-heeled owners, too attached to part with them and wealthy enough to afford the upkeep, simply held on to their cars, replacing parts as necessary. It’s not unusual to see them being driven by their original owners, and buyers usually don’t have to look too hard to find one-owner examples in good condition. With a $20k price tag and only 28k miles on the odometer, this one falls into “collector” territory.
I probably don’t feature as many vehicles from the other side of the pond as I should, but today’s car is a great starting point. This 1990 500SEC for sale in London sports the amazing color of Nautical Blue and to make it even better, is for sale at a reasonable cost. But because this is a right hand drive car, there are a couple different things than what you are normally used to seeing on the C126.
Engine: 5.0 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 169,021 mi
Price: £6,250 ($7,840)
Flagship from the 90’s Mercedes W126 500 SEC pillar-less Coupe. Finished in Nautical Blue, automatic gearbox. Covered 169,021 documented miles. HPI Clear. Options on this car from new include. Heated seats, electric front memory seats, air conditioning, self levelling steering wheel, electric mirrors, sun roof, cruise control and two tone horn. Tool kit and first aid kit present.
Recently acquired this car however, due to business commitments it has to sell. The previous owner lovingly looked after the car and had it in his ownership for the past 12 years. The vehicle was dry stored in a garage, hence it presents in very good condition with 169,021 miles. It has its original book pack and service book including 3 sets of keys. The service book is fully stamped (Mercedes history up to 96k and independent specialist thereafter) and there are accompanying service invoices to verify the provenance of this outstanding car. In addition, the service file has old MOT certificates.
The Mercedes-Benz W126 was a series of S-Class automobiles manufactured by Mercedes-Benz between 1979 and 1992. Premiering in September 1979 as the successor to the W116 line, the W126 was the second generation to officially bear that prestigious designation, an abbreviation for the German Sonderklasse or “special class.” It introduced many Mercedes-Benz safety innovations, including the first seatbelt pretensioners.
If you want a fast tuner small sedan from the 1980s, you basically have two options: Alpina is the go-to favorite, and if you’re a bit different you find a Hartge. That’s it, really, because while companies like Abt modified Audi 80/4000s and occasionally you might run across a Callaway Turbo Jetta GLi, there just wasn’t much else out there. For Mercedes-Benz, you could of course buy their in-house tuned Cosworth 190E, but AMG seemed to focus on the larger W124 and W126 chassis instead of the W201. That is, of course, except for their 911-fast 190E 3.2 and 3.4 – cars seldom seen. Before we go any farther, this isn’t one of those mega-motored cars, from everything I can tell. What it appears to be, though, is a clean and tidy looking 190E in a quite rare color with some pretty awesome period AMG details; in this case, the ultra-rare widebody kit from Affalterbach: