The Volkswagen Phaeton has been, since introduction, quite an intriguing car. Generally passed off by those out of the know as a rebadged A8, every time I see one I’m blown away that Volkswagen pulled the project off. Despite what the American enthusiasts think, the exclusive executive sedan has been very popular in Europe and specifically Germany – where it’s much more in vogue to fly a little lower on the radar. Fly low the Phaeteon does; for many, at first glance it doesn’t look much different than the B5.5 Passat, and many of the styling cues were incorporated into the B6 Passat sedan. Couple that with a general resemblance to the D2 Audi A8, and not many notice this serene Volkswagen shuttling its passengers in near silence. I say near silence, since the only noise you hear inside is the slightly slower beating of your heart and heavy breaths as you soak in the luxury. They’re disturbingly quiet inside, thanks in no small part to extra thick glass and soundproofing. Every conceivable option available in the Volkswagen catalog was thrown at these cars, including the top-spec W12 motor. Shared with the Audi A8, Bentley Continental GT and Flying Spur, the W12 is a monster of power – easily capable of propelling the very important people riding along with you quite close to 200 m.p.h. when deregulated. This is especially shocking given the Phaeteon’s weight – a staggering 500 lbs heavier than the Audi A8 you’d presume was the same car, the Volkswagen was simply in another weight class and quite different than the D2/3 chassis. Yet, despite the exotic Bentley stablemates that share many components and the D1 platform, today you can pick up one of these expensive cars that were a bit of a sales flop at a substantial discount:
If earlier’s 500E AMG 6.0 got your blood boiling but is disappointing because it’s out of reach, have no fear! The 500E, after all, shared many components with the R129 500SL – so it’s no surprise that AMG had its hand in the convertible as well. While 1992 would see the launch of the more official SL60 AMG, there was also a 1991 version. The 1991 was nearly identical but retained the 500SL moniker; underneath, that M119 6.0 was the same and was more than enough to motivate the SL to near supercar levels. However, what’s really spectacular for enthusiasts is that for the loss of two doors and the Porsche connection, you can put the top down and save a bit of money; this 6.0 equipped SL is on the market now for less than half the asking price of the 500E:
Pulling together enough legendary names to nearly create it’s own “Justice League”, the Mercedes-Benz 500E saw the combination of two of the most storied names in German automobiles – Porsche and Daimler-Benz. The 500E was sure a serious car out of the box with 320 horsepower and torque to match; but for some, that wasn’t enough. For those enterprising individuals with deep pockets, their Stuttgart superhero saw the introduction of a third legendary name; AMG. AMG had been placing larger displacement engines in Benz models for years, and the 500E proved no different. It even became an official product since Daimler owned a major stake in AMG; the merger would see a new range of high performance out of the box Mercedes models like the SL60 and E60. With a 50 horsepower boost in horsepower and 75 more lb.ft of torque, the 6.0 brought the 500E to another level of performance, chopping nearly a second off its 0-60 times and giving close to Porsche 911 Turbo levels of straight line performance. But while the E60 and SL60 models are pretty rare, it was more common to do what this owner did – ship the car to AMG for a motor swap after purchase:
Earlier this year, I struck a few chords with my AMG 500SEC post. The questions of AMG authenticity were once again brought up, reminding us that pre-merger there is still some fuzzy areas regarding these AMGS. As with that SEC, the full documentation of production and maintenance records were key to the value of these boutique cars, and enthusiasts are willing to pay for the right one. Also like that SEC, this later run 1990 560 SEL is fully documented from Japan – but unlike that earlier car, this SEL has the full-fat 6.0 V8 fitted:
We’ve featured a couple W126 AMG cars from this seller. We can’t agree more that the seller is right that these original big bodied eighties AMG cars are going up and value and be even more sought after in the not too distant future.
This seller has a knack for finding nice examples of these, cleaning them up and presenting them well for sale. This example has covered only 20,000 mile son its potent 6.0 liter power plant. The exterior has some of the typical upgrades we see on these, smoked front corners,, modified taillights, color matched AMG rims, blacked out treatment (chrome, emblems, grille). The interior has the correct AMG steering wheel and 300 KM/H speedometer. What makes this one stand out is the two tone interior. This interior is reminiscent on what was seen on some of the C43 AMG cars a decade later.
The engine bay looks like it has just been cleaned. The seller has added some red accents, which seem a touch out of place on a Benz of this era, but don’t look bad. I think we mostly should leave red engine accents on a Merc for Renntech.
The bidding on this is at $25,000 with the reserve not met.
Part 2 of my Black Series, this 1984 Benz is the rarest of all four of my selections. This car features the high output AMG quad cam 6 liter V8 similar to the one found in the famous Hammer. What is particularly great about this 45,000 mile car is that it still has the work order with it documenting the AMG conversion. Since AMG records for cars like this are so scarce it is an added bonus to have a copy of the sales sheet.
The conversion process from plain 500SEC happened in 1988 at AMG Central in Westmont Illinois. This car had the stock 5.0 pulled at 15,000 miles do to a problem in favor of the big 6.0 block. It had headers and exhaust added and a modified transmission out of a 560. The car has the 2.65 rear diff.
The engine was rebuilt under 10,000 miles ago and should be good for 400 horsepower and plenty of torque.
The buy-it-now is $30,000, but bidding is up to a reserve not met $22,000. The ask isn’t unreasonable, these are collector cars now. This car would get a little more for the seller had it not been a later conversion, but not by much as this still is a genuine period AMG vehicle not a backyard special with bolt ons.
The car comes with a lot of recent service and a very nice rating from me.
We have listed some of this seller’s other Mercedes SEC AMG cars before. This one has the big 6 liter SOHC engine. With this car looking immaculate and having only covered 21,500 miles you can expect it to bring a high price. This car has been gone over and has fresh oil, tires, battery, fuel injectors, and rotors. The seller really plays up the investment angle in his ad description and while I don’t think these can really be considered the gullwing of their day, I do agree that prices for these low production, genuine AMG, cars is creeping upward. This one is up over $24,000 in heavy bidding with the reserve not met and 7 days still to go.