1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC

While I’m sold that it’s worthwhile in most cases to buy a top condition car from a careful one owner home with a spotless record and no miles on the clock, there’s something that’s at least romantic about the idea of restoring a lesser example back to driving quality. In the case of some older German metal, this is certainly possible; it’s not necessarily the least frustrating way to do things, but one can take a certain amount of pride in resurrecting a car from neglected status back to the road. Today’s example is a great case in point; a W126 Mercedes-Benz is a well build, solidly engineered thing of beauty. Add the pillar-less SEC coupe to the mix and the end of the run 5.6 V8 and it’s a great combination, only heightened by the right sprinkling of AMG and Euro bits. And with a low “Buy It Now” price, this 1988 has me dreaming of a winter project:

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


Year: 1988
Model: 560SEC
Engine: 5.6 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 179,315 mi
Price: $4,000 Buy It Now

Up for sale is my 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC. This car is decent condition and is a great basis to start with as a project. I bought the car with the intentions of fixing the car up further, but I have too many other projects at the moment, so this one needs to find another good home. The W126 body style was a great design this car surely doesn’t disappoint in the looks department. Although it will need some work to return the car back to its former glory, it has a lot of good things about it that make it stand out from the rest. Below is the quick rundown on all the pros/cons of this car.

Specs:

1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC

5.6L V8
4-speed automatic transmission
179,315 miles
Black exterior on black leather

Positives:

Paint in good condition (has a few scratches, chips and dings with some swirl marks) – could easily be buffed again to make it look even better. No fading areas.
Car has full front and rear European bumpers that are in great shape, along with the European H4 headlights with glass lenses
Has the flat face AMG Aero I post-merger wheels (basically identical to the pre-merger AMG Aero I hammer wheels). All wheels have a little curb rash, but nothing that isn’t fixable
Runs and drives pretty well
Rides smooth down the road and the brakes feel good. Front end and suspension still feel nice and tight
Central locking still works
Crack-free dashboard
Overall, the interior is in great shape for the car’s age (has typical cracks in some wood trim and slight fading. Also needs C-pillar trim and rear parcel tray to be re-wrapped in new fabric)
Original Becker radio that still works
Odometer and tripometer still work
Box A original miles and clean/clear Arizona title
Battery is in good shape and doesn’t have any sort of slow drain
Headliner in good shape
Car has never failed to start and run since I’ve had it
Has a fairly decent amount of records with it. Unfortunately, there are no records for any major service (i.e. timing chains, tensioners, suspension work, brakes). There are good records of it having oil changes done regularly and receipts for little miscellaneous parts needing replacement
Engine runs well and doesn’t appear to have any major leaks
Car comes with two keys and the original owner’s manuals
Has the rear spare tire, tool kit and jack
I have the front license plate filler trim piece and the radiator fan shroud, but they aren’t installed

Negatives:

Alternator bearing gets a little noisy after running for a while (not bad though)
Motor mounts are getting a little worn out, so the motor shakes a little at idle. Smooths out once you accelerate.
Transmission shifts a little hard. However, it gets better once the car warms up. Potentially changing the fluid should fix this. Car goes into all of its gears as it should though.
Car leaks a few drops of automatic transmission fluid (haven’t had it up on a lift to see exactly where it is leaking). Very minimal leak.
Car doesn’t have functioning A/C. Still is the old R12 system.
As one can imagine, the original Becker radio isn’t the best
Climate controls don’t appear to change the direction of airflow. Stuck on defrost. Blower motor still works though and the car has warm heat.
All of the gauges function as they should, however, sometimes the gas gauge doesn’t work very accurately so it is definitely necessary to monitor the miles.
Driver’s interior door panel has a little damage from coming unclipped
No third brake light, so there is a “light out” warning light on the cluster. All other lights are perfectly functioning.
Windshield washer reservoir has a hole in it so it can’t hold fluid. Warning light for low washer fluid is illuminated.
Check engine light is illuminated, however I haven’t looked into what exactly is causing the light.
Passenger front window needs help to roll it down (apparently because it slightly came off of its track), but rolls back up just fine. All other windows function perfectly.
Radio antenna needs a new rubber grommet to hold it into the rear quarter panel (the antenna assembly is in the trunk and isn’t missing)
Quarter-sized rust spot under the trim of the rear window. Not bad at all and there isn’t a spec of rust on the underside or anywhere else on the car. Was probably a southern car its whole life.
Car has obviously been in a slight wreck in the front end. Radiator support on the driver’s side is a little crumpled, but the car looks to have been repaired well enough to make the panel fitment pretty good and to make the hood latch as it should. I do not know the details of the accident, but there is no other damage that I can see, so it had to have been a very minor accident.
Small amount of body-filler cracking on the driver’s door
Tires have tread left, but they are mismatched sizes and are starting to have slight dry-rot. They aren’t flat spotted and still roll smoothly down the road though. Replacement is recommended if you’re planning to daily the car with these tires.
Cruise control not operational

Overall, this is a very good basis to start with and the car is in good enough shape to be driven as-is. The European bumpers and headlights along with the AMG wheels give the car a great look and it still turns heads. With the rising values of these cars, this is a perfect one to enjoy for a price that won’t break the bank. Again, this car doesn’t need a full overhaul or a complete restoration to make it useable as-is. I purchased the car locally in Phoenix from a gentleman who bought it out in California.

I’ve tried my best to describe all of the aspects which I know about the car, but please feel free to message me or call/text me at the number below if you would like any additional information on the car:

Alex @ 952-215-5026

I have included a decent amount of pictures, but please message me if you would like all of the complete detailed photos of the car and all its blemishes.

Note:

Deposit of $500.00 due within 48 hours of the auction close.
Buyers have 3 days to make full payment until the car is to be re-listed.
The preferred method of payment is cash in person or a cashier’s check.
It is the buyer’s responsibility to arrange shipping through an auto transport or to pick the car up in person.

Disclaimer:

This vehicle is being sold as is, where is with no warranty, expressed written or implied. The seller shall not be responsible for the correct description, authenticity, genuineness, or defects herein, and makes no warranty in connection therewith. No allowance or set aside will be made on account of any incorrectness, imperfection, defect or damage. Any descriptions or representations are for identification purposes only and are not to be construed as a warranty of any type. It is the responsibility of the buyer to have thoroughly inspected the vehicle, and to have satisfied himself or herself as to the condition and value and to bid based upon that judgment solely. The seller shall and will make every reasonable effort to disclose any known defects associated with this vehicle at the buyer’s request prior to the close of sale. Seller assumes no responsibility for any repairs regardless of any oral statements about the vehicle.

Overall the description seems pretty thorough and honest; the seller could have omitted several of the items they described and left them as surprises for the new owner; they wouldn’t be unexpected in a 27 year old car, frankly, even if it was an S-Class. The disappointing part is probably the accident in the front end, but having owned a car that suffered a similar fate earlier on it’s not the end of the world. Will this car ever be a 100 point show car? No. But it could be a really nice and sharp looking driver, and the list of needs seems like the sort of thing a light mechanic could repair without too much of a headache over the winter. And at $4,000, it’s well within the “afford and restore” category!

-Carter

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5 Comments

  1. a blast from my past…..these cars were the top dog in my neck of the woods back in the mid-late 80’s
    my brother-in-law had the requisite white one w/natural hides interior…LOL
    this car will be a pandora’s box for someone mark my words…4k may get you a cool driver until it goes boom….with a hit on the car….if you can source a drive train with less miles that would be your starting point on this one…

  2. That could be a C126 which is not worth restoring anymore. It looks like a parts car to me. The miles are too high and it just needs too many things fixed. That usually tells me that the previous owner was more concerned with some bling-bling wheels instead of constant maintenance. When these cars get maintained properly they will last forever and give you a tremendous amount of Fahrvergnuegen.
    We have 2 W126 cars in the family and just make sure that everything gets fixed right away.

  3. This description had me imagining how long and funny an equivalent list of ailments will be on a 25 year old say 2001 S-class, when that time comes around. Mark my word, those are $10k cars today, they’ll be like $3k by that time!

  4. Those were the times when Mercedes and Porsche still used much better quality leather. Today’s cars would not look that good after so many miles…

  5. Will never be a show car but is screaming for an LS2 400hp drop in and a manual gear box conversion.

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