Don’t look now, but it seems like the Mercedes-Benz W140 chassis is finally getting its due. Does that mean go out and buy every Craigslist W140 you can find like people do with the 2.3-16v and W124 500Es? No. Please don’t do that. What I’m trying to say is that the very best of the best W140s are finally selling for prices that I would consider “premium”. Just as an example, a 1996 S600 Coupe with 36,000 sold for $32,500 last week and it looked every bit the part of a new car. The sedan is no different either, although the V12 cars and Grand Edition certainly seem to be the most desirable, and rightfully so. Today, I came across a 1991 600SEL up for sale in Germany with just 15,000 miles. Naturally the car perfect, but this one has a little surprise once you open the doors.
I’m always curious to take a look at pre-merger Mercedes-Benz AMG cars when they come up for sale and today’s car, a 1993 600SEL, is one of those cars I don’t see all that often. Normally, when these V12 W140 cars made their way to AMG or another tuning house like Renntech or Brabus, the factory 6.0 liter would be converted to a 7.0, 7.2 or 7.3 liter. It only made sense, as the M120 is as a robust a V12 as they come, and the profit margins that were probably built into these conversions when these cars were still new made it all worth it. I’ve looked a S70 AMG before with a dubious past and like today’s car, it was actually built at AMG Japan. The thing is, this isn’t a S70; it is still just a 600SEL. So what is going on here?
We love no reserve auctions. Particularly ones that start at under $1,000 for a car that once cost well over $100,000 when new. We’ve reported before about how these big Benzs with V-12s can be a nightmare in terms of maintenance, but this one looked particularly clean and with no reserve, if the price is right, there may be some $s left over to help with inevitable repairs. I think the W140 probably isn’t as bad as the next generation of V12 Mercedes when it comes to work and cost to own, people just give it a bad rap because of the extra cylinders.
What better way to celebrate labor day then by looking at a car that was designed to take the labor out of the automobiling experience.
Do you remember the good old days when Mercedes put the letters describing their models after the numbers? Remember when those numbers and letters really stood for something instead of arbitrary model distinctions? 1992 was the last year before the switch. That year the king of the Mercedes line was the 600SEL. This was the first Mercedes V-12 since after World War Two. So at the time a Mercedes V-12 was much more a rarity than they are today.
Despite packing a V-12 this car was more than just a high power autobahn cruiser. It was packed with technical goodies that made it stand far above other models at the time.
The car had self closing doors, a power trunk handle, double pane power windows that stopped going up if your hand got in the way. Power front and rear head rests, heated headlamp washers, Bose stereo, the car even has a built in trickle charger. Perhaps most above and beyond were the two little antennas that popped out of the rear fenders when you went into reverse to help you see where the end of the car was. Remember this was well before the days of navigation, i-drive, and other now common technical gizmos.
1992 is also a significant year as that year the 48 valve V-12 put out 408 horsepower. Again remember, this is 1992 and that type of power was virtually unheard of in a sedan. By 1994 those pesky U.S. emissions requirements strangled horsepower down to 389 so the early 600SELs are the prize of the W140 bodied cars.
appears to be a fine, unmodified, low mileage example, only 59,000 miles. There should a ton of life left in the engine as long as the massive amounts of electrical components don’t cause a new owner problems. Not only is the car nice, the seller does a very good job with the ad text. This car was purchased new for $152,896.90. When you figure there is at least a $125,000 worth of depreciation to account for, purchasing a 600SEL today seems like a deal. Not a bad way to get a car in your driveway with V12 badges on the side. Just make sure you get the most well cared for example or you’ll be left with an empty wallet trying to fix peripheral items.
Here is a clip of a younger Jermey Clarkson talking about the 600SEL, scroll to 4:42 to see the over the top rear fender aerials in action:
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