The 2001 Mercedes-Benz S500 had the job of carrying on the legacy of being the best sedan in the world for the past 40 or so years. It failed miserably. Not only was the design a soft, mushy shape, but the materials inside were less than stellar. Thanks to unproven things like Airmatic suspension (as opposed to hydraulic), reliability wasn’t great and legacy buyers were jumping ship for cars and SUVs from rival brands. Don’t get me wrong, people still bought these but the S-Class was no longer than the standard of full-size luxury and technology and more-so just another blob sedan in a now very crowded market. So why am I featuring such a forgettable car today? Well the interior, of course.
Welcome back to Fail Friday! Today we have a 2007 Mercedes-Benz S550 that you can probably take one guess as to why I am taking a look at it. This first-year W221 has all your standard custom S-Class ”enhancements” with oversized wheels, custom interior, blacked out taillights and headlights, a color change but the biggest thing that sets this S550 apart: suicide doors. In today’s world, the full-size suicide door is only reserved for various Rolls-Royce models, but thanks to some actually really nice work, you can have them on your highly depreciated S-Class too. But is it worth it?
Finally. After so many times looking at aftermarket limousine conversions (with questionable build quality) on Mercedes I finally found a real factory Pullman. This is a 2001 S500 Pullman six seater with the AMG Advanced Mobile Media System. And here this whole time you thought AMG was just good at making cars that burn tires. This is a fully mobile office computers, desks, live televisions, DVD players and 43 kbps internet service. Well, maybe stick to your smartphones for the internet service. But this car is a great example how well a limo can be done with the right materials and planning. Lets check it out.
As a send off to the Mercedes-Benz W140 S-Class in 1999, Mercedes gave 600 S500s the treatment of the Grand Edition. All painted black, these cars had 18 inch AMG Monoblock wheels, the same hand stitched seats and steering wheel from the S600, a special birdseye maple woodgrain trim, privacy screens on the rear and back windows and illuminated door sills on top of all the standard things you got on the S500. Sticker price for these 600 cars was $89,500, a mere $2,000 more than the regular S500 — which is totally worth it in my eyes. Most of the time these older Mercedes-Benz ”special edition” cars haven’t had any impact on their value once they are past their warranty limit. But for this W140, it has been just a little different.
The final year of 1999 for the W140 Mercedes-Benz is one of those “hindsight is 20/20” things. At the time, no one probably had any idea that 1999 would be considered by many to be the last of the true over-engineered cars from Mercedes. From the mid-1950s, the S-Class was basically the standard for full-size luxury cars. So the year 2000 rolls around with the launch of the W220 and everything is status quo with the S-Class, right? Not really. I don’t blame Mercedes for going tech heavy with the W220, it is what needed to be done to compete with 7-series, A8 and the real killer, the Lexus LS. The problem was the early W220 didn’t live up to quality and reliability standards that S-Class owners were used to. Combine that with soft styling and a car that didn’t “feel” like a S-Class and you have a real problem. Now it’s 2017 and we look back on the W140 has the last true beacon of hope for feeling that old Mercedes charm while W220s languish for sale on Craiglist for $2,700. But right now these nice W140s aren’t being snagged up like W126 560SELs are and prices reflect that. So when a nice late-model W140 does come up for sale, is it time to buy?
Engine: 5.0 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 154,845 mi
Price: Buy It Now $8,995
Key features: Leather, 6-Disc CD-Changer, Bose Sound, Heated Seats, Moon Roof, Tinted Windows, Xenon Headlights
You are bidding on a 2nd-owner vehicle in excellent condition. The owner is motivated to sell.
This sedan looks stylish and drives nice and smooth. Come take it home! You will be thrilled to own it. Take a look at the detailed series of 36 pictures below.
In my opinion, the W140 coupe didn’t age particularity well. That isn’t a huge knock on it because not a lot of cars from the early to mid-90s did age all that well. I think in some angels the C140 looks very handsome, not very offensive. But from other views, mainly the front profile like you see in the photo above, it all looks very odd to me. I totally get why I think it looks this way, you have massive flared fenders up from and a giant rear quarter panel in the back. This is all very good except for the fact that the 16 inch wheels don’t fill out these spaces. The car looks almost top-heavy to me. This of course can be fixed with a proper set of wheels and some suspension modifications. (I still regret not buying that car.) Then again, the main reason you bought this massive coupe is to relax, not worry about bending a $2000 wheel on a minor pothole. You can see the how much I think about this stuff.
Engine: 5.0 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 76,500 mi
Price: No Reserve Auction
· Mileage: 76,500 Color: White over gray exterior/Grey leather interior Owners: 5 Clean title and Carfax
· W140 series (last of the “because they could” big cars built by MB). Classic design coupe; rare, less than 15,000 total production from 1992 – 1998. Car spent the first 18 years in California and Florida.
· Legendary 5 liter M119 V8 engine (last engine to win overall at Le Mans for MB): 315 hp at 5600 rpm and 347 ft/lbs of torque at 3900 rpm. 4-speed automatic transmission/no shift problems.
· California/Florida car.
It has been a while since I featured a nice W140, but this example outside of Detroit has given me a perfect excuse to check out another one. This 1992 500SEL in Arctic White with the outstanding Saffron leather interior has everything you would want out of an early W140 and a few extras that I think are great additions. Of course, all this comes with a price tag.
Engine: 5.0 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 104,898 mi
Price: Buy it Now $8,000
1992 S500 Immaculate. White over Palomino. All options including self closing latches on doors, power rear view mirror, self closing latch on trunk . . . . . . . . . . The vehicle has never been driven in the winter and has been kept in climate controlled storage. The car has never been through a car wash, only hand washed. I bought it with 99,000 a decade ago, and now it has 104,898 miles on it. It has been a summer Sunday driver. Living in MI does not afford me the opportunity to enjoy the vehicle as much as I’d like to which is the reason for selling the car. As a Benz aficionado you would know that all big body big engine Benz’s were 500SEL’s in 1992. In 1993 they became S500’s. The second owner, a physician in Myrtle Beach SC, bought the 20 inch AMG wheels and low profile tires you see on the vehicle in 1996. He also had the fascia’s on the front and back bumper and side fascia all pained white to match the rest of the car, and re-badged it an S-500. Since the wheels came out in 1996, and the all one color “Euro” look came out at the same time, most think its a 96 car or later.
New Jersey: Strip malls, used car lots and Bon Jovi.
Somehow these things lead me down a convoluted path to talk about a 1994 Mercedes-Benz S500. What’s the connection?
From the title, you’ll know of course this is not just any W140. It is a W140 once owned by Jon Bon Jovi, and now it is for sale in New Jersey. At a secondhand used car lot, across from a strip mall. Bingo!
Limousine conversions can go either way. The way I enjoy them are the factory conversions which Mercedes-Benz calls the “Pullman”, a term carried over from railroad cars that were built to be relaxed in. Their fit and finish is totally perfect, which makes sense because these cars were usually built for heads of state like
Boris Yeltsin Vladimir Putin to be the ultimate in chauffeured transport. On the other end, companies have taken the standard production car, sliced them in half, lengthened them, stitched them back together then added their own interiors in the passenger compartment. These cars were mostly used as shuttles for kids to puke up their Jägermeister on the way to the prom. Today’s 500SEL for sale outside of Boston is one of those types of limousines. Yea?
There are few things that fit together better than a W140 Mercedes with AMG Monoblock wheels. Just like the car, the wheels are big and flat. There are no thin lines, no 18 different curved spokes with fake bolts – just wide but simple 5-spoke wheels. I’d really like to own this combination, but I’d certainly have an aneurysm from my passengers slamming the doors like it’s a 1987 Ford F150 with the word ‘FARM’ spray painted across the tailgate no matter how many times I tell them they are soft-close. If you have friends that take direction better than mine, then you are in luck with this 1999 S500 for sale in San Diego, California.