$7,000 doesnâ€™t get you a whole lot of new car these days, but it is surprising just how much old Mercedes it will buy you. In fact thatâ€™s the asking price for this W126 S-class. Produced between 1979 and 1991,Â the W126Â representsÂ the pinnacle of Mercedes-Benz design and engineering from the period. Penned by the illustrious Bruno Sacco,Â it remains an extraordinarily handsome car, with taut lines and stately proportions.Â I saw one parked on the streets of Washington, DC the other dayÂ and literally got off my bike to stop and admire it for a few minutes.Â These cars are timeless and, even today, lookÂ perfectly at home parked in front of an embassy, ready to ferry a diplomat to some high level meeting.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 300SE onÂ Autotrader
Engine: 3.0 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 111,695 mi
Classic large body BENZ in handsome color combination. Beautiful condition inside and out. Everything works, non-smoker, no accidents, all service up to date, new front suspension work and new exhaust front to back. New winter tires, always garaged and wintered in Florida except for 2015. Must see, very impressive. CLEAN, CLEAN,CLEAN. Interior leather is soft and smells fresh. Used as my daily driver. Making room in my garage. The car gets comments everywhere I go.
This 1989 300SE is presented in blue-blackÂ (paint code 199) over grayÂ leather. This is aÂ short wheel base model with the 3.0 M103 6-cylinder engine, puttingÂ outÂ aÂ relatively modest 179bhp. With 111kÂ miles on the odometer, this car looks very clean both inside and out. TheÂ exterior paint has a good shine and appears to beÂ free of imperfections, while theÂ leatherÂ seatsÂ looks barely used and the dash andÂ wood trim are inÂ excellent shape with no apparent cracks.Â The plastic doors on the front headlights are impeccably clear: thatâ€™s a good sign,Â since these plastic parts often go cloudy with age orÂ when the car is left parked outside for long periods of time.
Being the smaller-engined car in the W126 lineup, the 300 accelerates at a leisurely pace and certainly won’t be winning any drag races.Â But once up to highway speeds the car should cruise imperiously, keeping its occupants in quiet and dignified comfort, which is precisely what an S-class is supposed to do. Admittedly, itÂ won’t have the kind of power offered by theÂ V8-engined 420 and 560s. ButÂ the smaller 6-cylinder unit is suited to the SWB chassis, which I think isÂ well proportioned and aesthetically slightly more pleasing than the longer,Â SEL version. Having two less cylinders also meansÂ (slightly) better fuel economy: probably around 20 MPG, which is not great but not terrible either.
The M103 engine, which in various guises also saw service in the W124 and W201 cars of the period, is generally quiteÂ bulletproof although thereÂ areÂ a few well known weaknesses to look out for. These includeÂ a tendency for the head gasket to let go at anywhere between 100k-150k miles, a general assortment of non-catastrophic but irritating oil leaks, especially at the front cover gasket, and a mechanical fuel injection system that tends to become temperamental with age.
Prices are all over the map for W126s; there are clapped out examples for $1500 and cream puffs priced at $20-30k. I think this example is priced just about right for what it is. It’s not as desirable as its V8 counterparts and the mileage, while modest, indicates that this car is aÂ driver rather than garage queen. I think it would be a nice pick forÂ someone looking for a glamorousÂ and charming daily driver. My advice: buy it and use it to drive to theÂ shops every day while feeling like a million dollars.