1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC

Last week I looked at a low mileage 1991 560SEC and explained while I think they are amazing cars, buying a ultra low mileage one isn’t the best decision if you want to fully enjoy them. Today’s C126 for sale in New York has a little more miles and is a little less pricey that maybe makes it a little better option if you are looking for a great SEC.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC on Craigslist

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1983 Mercedes-Benz 300SD

Powered by the legendary five cylinder OM617, the sort of motor for which Mercedes-Benz earned their reputation as manufacturers of “million mile engines,” the W126 300SD was a classy and reliable ride, offering a frugal option for S-class owners not perturbed by a clackety-clack sound coming from the front end of their luxury car. This engine would be replaced in 1985 by the OM603 six cylinder unit (later enlarged to 3.5 liters) that, while offering more power, was susceptible to a number of very serious problems (a fault with the trap oxidizer – part of the emissions system – that could ruin the turbo, cylinder heads prone to overheating and cracking, bent rods and head gasket failures). So those looking for a diesel W126 would do well to consider an early, first generation car like this one.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 300SD

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1991 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC

The Mercedes-Benz 560SEC quickly went from another used, old Mercedes to a modern classic that everyone suddenly wants. Yes, the W126 coupes have always been more desirable than the sedans but recently a huge demand gap has grown between the two. Finding a coupe for sale at typical well-used Mercedes prices is rare or when you do find a really nice one, be prepared to shell out a lot of money. The latter is the case today for this 1991 offered for sale in California.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC at Mercedes Heritage

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1983 Mercedes-Benz 500SE AMG

“Pre-merger” AMG cars date from the period when the company was not yet officially part of Mercedes-Benz and instead existed as an independent tuner (it would be folded into the MB family in the early to mid 1990s). Back then, customers could upgrade their cars with AMG parts by choosing from a menu of cosmetic and mechanical upgrades and having them shipped from the production line to Affalterbach for modification (or, if they were in the US, having those parts installed by a locally authorized dealer, like the storied Beverly Hills Motoring Accessories). Early period AMG cars that show up for sale today offer a neat slice of the exotic 80s tuner world, but they present a number of difficulties when it comes to authentication. This gray market, seemingly AMG modified 500SE is a good case in point.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500SE AMG on eBay

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1985 Mercedes-Benz 280SE

The other day, Carter wrote up a gray-market, Signal Red 280SE. The Euro options and unusual color made for an attractive proposition, but that particular car had some mechanical needs making it a light project. This car, on the other hand, appears to be in need of no such work. Available in Europe but not sold in the US, the 280SE paired the 2.8 liter, six cylinder M110 gasoline engine with the short wheelbase version of the W126 chassis. While that might seem a small motor for such a large car, it made about 185 hp in Euro guise, a perfectly adequate, though certainly not blistering, amount of power. Like the US-spec 300SE/SEL, it might need a bit of shove at the low end, but once up to highway speeds it should cruise around capably.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 280SE on eBay

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Winter Project: 1982 Mercedes-Benz 280SE

While Andrew and Craig have been the typical purveyors of all-things Mercedes-Benz over the past few months, I’m always drawn to the clean, simple and classic look of the 70s and 80s MB products offered in the rest of the world. Today’s 1982 280SE is a perfect example of this. A W126.026, this European specification S-Class is powered by the M110 double-overhead cam inline-6 which was never offered to U.S. customers. Admittedly, the engine looks a bit lost in the bay you’re used to seeing V8s in, but it’s a proven unit with adequate power – 185 raging ponies, to be exact. However, the 280SE is the short wheelbase model and with European bumpers and missing some of the heavy luxuries, performance should be on par with some of the U.S. spec early V8s, if not better. Even if buying the short wheel base, six-cylinder model may sound a bit ego-deflating, these Euro-spec cars always get my attention:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Mercedes-Benz 280SE on eBay

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1986 Mercedes-Benz 420SEL

4I have an itch to buy a W126. Yesterday I test drove a 420SEL that popped up for sale on my local Craigslist (not today’s car – we’ll get to that in a moment). The one I drove was offered at a fair price and when I noticed that it was parked only a few blocks away from my house, I felt obliged to take a look. I had never driven an SEL before. Here are my first impressions: 1. They really are huge. The hood alone seemed to stretch out for miles in front of me. I dreaded to think how far back the trunk extended. “What a nightmare this must be to park in the city,” I thought to myself, as I delicately threaded the car through DC morning traffic. 2. They look glorious in person, even when a bit dinged up, as this one was. 3. When you push down on the throttle you don’t so much surge forward, as waft gently toward the horizon on a magic carpet of dignified torque. Despite being smitten with the car I let it go in the end, concluding that, with snow and ice season just around the corner, I couldn’t justify picking up a RWD, nose-heavy V8 as a daily driver. But I did spend the afternoon gazing wistfully at other 420s for sale on the internet. That’s how I stumbled across this lovely, low mileage example for sale in Florida.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 420SEL on eBay

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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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1981 Mercedes-Benz 500SE

6If you wanted a V8-powered, short wheelbase W126 in America, you had one option: the 380SE. Unfortunately, the 3.8 liter M116 V8 under the hood was a bit of a dud. Thirsty and somewhat underwhelming, it was eventually phased out in 1985. From then on, US-based customers had to buy a long wheelbase 420 or 560 SEL to get a V8 in their S-class. The Europeans, however, got the 500SE, which combined the more impressive 5.0 liter M117 V8 with the shorter and (in my opinion) more attractive chassis. But it was never officially offered over here. Nonetheless, some of them made it to these shores via the gray market. Presumably that’s how this one ended up in Michigan.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Mercedes-Benz 500SE on eBay

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1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SE

1The other day I wrote up a Euro-Spec 190E 2.3-16, noting that the seller must have good taste in cars since there was a W126 pictured in the background. It turns out that W126 is also for sale. It’s a 300SE. These are my favorite old Benzes. Imposing and timeless, these old S-classes still look beautiful today and remind you of an era when Mercedes built stately cars of bank-vault solidity. It’s a real treat to see one in mint condition, which is not that uncommon. Many of the original, wealthy owners have held on to these since new and maintained them at whatever cost necessary. Looking like it just rolled out of the factory, this appears to be such a car.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SE on eBay

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