1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC

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Unless you buy a new car, you seem to always take some risk as to how a car has been treated, what kind of maintenance it has had and most importantly what kind of service it’s going to give you once you take ownership. Sometimes these risks are small but a lot of times, especially in the case of used German cars, it is a lot of risk if you are spending more than a few thousand dollars. Even with dealer maintained cars, technicians sometimes rush through jobs or lack the attention to detail just to get the car off their rack and move on to else to keep those hours moving. Today’s car has a seller that puts that risk at the very low end of the scale when buying a 26 year-old expensive German car. Enter Kent Bergsma:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC at Mercedes Source

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Feature Listing: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SL

For a few years in the late 1970s, two seeming decapitated dinosaurs roamed the roads of America, the last of a dying breed in the great Convertible Ice Age. First was the now ancient Beetle cabriolet, designed originally in the 1930s and relatively unchanged until production ceased – sort of – in 1980. Your other option if you wanted top-down motoring in the U.S. was the Mercedes-Benz SL, but while it made the Beetle look like a horse-drawn cart, in reality it wasn’t a particularly sporty car at that time. American manufacturers had withdrawn from the market in 1977, and the still relatively small companies of BMW, Audi and Porsche had only tin tops. If you wanted a luxury convertible in 1977, the Mercedes-Benz R107 was your option.

Then the 1980s happened, and suddenly the gas crisis, economic stagnation and concerns over sun exposure suddenly ended. People who liked convertibles were no longer viewed as social pariah with a death wish, and the SL shined as a perfect example of success and excess. Like most V8s from the late 1970s and early 1980s, the SL’s V8 had suffered from environmental restraints which resulted in the 380SL. With a mere 155 horsepower on offer from its engine, the 380SL was hardly the match for its near 3,500 lb. curb weight. That was finally rectified in 1986 with the introduction of the much upgraded 560SL. Now the M117 delivered the power that the prestige of the SL demanded; it gained 72 horsepower and nearly 100 lb.ft. of torque, and gave the model a new lease on life. While the R107’s production cycle lifetime doesn’t scare the likes of the Beetle’s 50 years, in a marque with the storied history of Mercedes-Benz it is the second longest produced model. That alone should lend some credibility to its staying power, and today these models have finally gained the respect they deserve:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SL at Auto Source Group

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1987 Mercedes-Benz 190E AMG 6.0

1This car is the very definition of a hot mess, so much so that I almost passed it by. But a V8 powered Baby Benz is such an outrageously fun proposition that I couldn’t resist writing it up anyway. In the 1980s, AMG was still an independent tuner that offered bodykit, engine and suspension upgrades for Mercedes cars. These are known to enthusiasts as the “pre-merger” years; AMG would later be folded into Daimler-Benz in about 1990. While we’re fairly familiar with W124 and W126 AMGs from this period (especially the W124 Hammer, which you can see Chris Harris hooning here), occasionally a 190E will pop up to remind us that the geniuses at Affalterbach also worked their magic on the W201 chassis. At first glance this candy red 190E appears to be an AMG-modded car, but a look beneath the surface reveals that it’s actually a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Mercedes-Benz 190E 6.0 V8 on eBay

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1989 Mercedes-Benz 500SE

In the wake of the Brexit vote, the British pound has plummeted against the US dollar. This means that importing a car from Britain has suddenly become a bit more affordable. As a Brit living in America, I feel a bit guilty recommending that you take advantage of my home country’s economic plight to get a good deal on a car. But only a bit. Which brings me to today’s car. The 500SE was a V8 powered, short-wheel base version of the W126 S-class. Made for the European market and never offered in the US, it offered the grunt of a larger engine in the slightly smaller and (in my view) better proportioned chassis. This one is for sale on UK eBay. Not only is it reasonably priced, it’s a LHD car. So no need to worry about the steering wheel being on the wrong side if you choose to bring it over.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 500SE on UK eBay

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1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC with AMG bits

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A couple of years ago this video of a murdered-out 560SEC AMG surfaced on Jalopnik and I fell in love. Not only did the car have tremendous, old-school presence, the film showed an owner who wasn’t afraid to smoke the back tires while driving it quickly and aggressively. Hooning the large, pillar-less brute looked like tremendous fun. Unfortunately, authentic AMG cars from the pre-merger period don’t come to market very frequently. And when they do, they are usually priced well beyond the means of mere mortals like myself (you can see examples we’ve featured before here, here and here). A cheaper alternative would be to find a regular SEC that has had some AMG exterior parts installed, like this one.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC on eBay

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1975 Mercedes-Benz 450SE

450SE1I don’t see many W116s on the roads these days, although they do seem to be ubiquitous in certain kinds of Hollywood movies (usually those set in the middle east, in which they feature as the preferred ride of the terrorist bad guys). Produced between 1972 and 1980, the W116 was the flagship of the Mercedes lineup during the period and was the first car to be officially referred to as an “S-class.” Penned in the 1960s, the design looks remarkably more modern than it really is, probably because many of the car’s styling cues were carried over onto models built for a decade or two to come.

This particular example isn’t the range topping, high performance 6.9 SEL model. Instead, it’s a short wheel base, low mileage version of the ordinary 450. Nonetheless, it looks glorious and stately, which is exactly how an S-class should look.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1975 Mercedes-Benz 450SE on eBay

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1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC

560sec1Mercedes’s C126 coupe first appeared in 1981 and remained in production until 1991. Derived from the W126 platform SE/SEL, the SEC combines the stately grace of the S-class sedan with the sportiness and elegance of a long, pillar-less coupe. These cars still look special today, especially with all the windows down, looking low and mean. The examples that usually catch my eye are either bone stock and completely original, or outrageously modified cars like the AMG wide-bodies which, when they do come to market, are usually priced at a couple of hundred grand. Today’s car, which is mostly stock but has been gently modified with some Euro and Lorinser accessories, represents a nice balance between the two.

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

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Euro Big Coupe Showdown: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC v. 1984 BMW 635CSi

In the early 1980s, both BMW and Mercedes-Benz offered big coupes based upon sedan brethren. But to get the performance that matched their looks, before 1985-1986 you needed to look towards the “Grey Market” to get the hotter original specification motors. For the BMW 6-series, that meant the 635CSi jumped from 182 horsepower to 218, with 10 lb.ft more torque, too. But the Mercedes-Benz SEC was the big jump in power, with 27 horsepower more than the 380SEC but a massive 67 lb.ft of torque added. Coupled with lower weight, better headlights and slimmer bumpers, today these Euro editions are still quite popular and highly sought. Today I have two to face off; are either worth the high asking price for the ticket of admission?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG Widebody

If you want a recession-proof 1980s investment automobile, you want an E30 M3 or any original 911, right? Well, while that might be a smart idea, there’s consistently been one car that’s been worth even more than those market stars; make that the 3-pointed star. When I was a young man in 1987, Road & Track ran a top speed competition between some poster pinups. At that time, I was a super fan of the Porsche 959 in particular, and I was pretty confident before opening the magazine that the technological wonder from Stuttgart would thoroughly outperform the competition, which included a Lamborghini Countach, a Ferrari Testarossa and twin-turbo GTO, a few modified 911s and…a Mercedes-Benz sedan? Yes, it was that test in that magazine that cemented two names into my brain; one was the stunning and surprise winner of the competition, the illustrious “Yellowbird” Ruf CTR which bested Porsche’s own supercar by an amazing 13 miles an hour, and the boxy E-class from Affalterbach – faster than the pinup Lamborghini Countach and million-dollar GTO and just bested by the Miami-Vice superstar Testarossa. Though I don’t know for sure, I’d wager that single test did more for the reputations of Ruf and AMG than any other single article or event. Since that time, the AMG products from Affalterbach have enjoyed a near-legendary status amongst German car fans, but even amongst them there are special models – the 6.0 “Hammers” and the W124 and W126 Widebody models:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG on eBay

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1980 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC 5.0

When I think of homologation specials, there are all sorts of models that instantly pop into my head. Of course, being an Audi fan, the Sport Quattro is a great example, but plenty more images pass through my mind, too. Of course, Group C spawned a whole series of special cars, from the RS200 and Lancia 037 to the Porsche 959. There’s the special 924 Carrera GTS, for example – a car few remember outside of Porsche circles, and one that’s often forgotten even by them. Then there’s the great period of DTM specials – the “Evolutions” of the M3, 190E and V8 quattro that proved Darwin was right. Of course, you can go back even further and look at one of the most special cars ever created – the original Ferrari GTO – to see a very special homologation of a race car. But outside of the big headlines, there are plenty of small production run cars that were created to jump through loopholes, and returning to my original Group B example, we can see one neat car that was created in order to run in World Rally. It’s not a car you’d expect though – it’s the quite heavy and long Mercedes-Benz C107. Mercedes took steps to make it rally worthy, including lightweight aluminum panels in front and back, and of course upped the power with a new all aluminum 5.0 V8:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC 5.0 on eBay

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