The W126 380 SE I wrote up yesterday got me back on a Mercedes kick and I quickly came across this badass ’87 560 SEC. I’ve long thought that Benzes look best in black or white and I think this car in a garage next to yesterday’s 380 SE would be a perfect garage. The big white cruiser for you and your friends and then this black coupe for you and one lucky passenger. The back seat can accommodate grown adults if need be as only 3 inches was shaved off the W126 SE chassis and the large doors make for easy passenger entry and exit. However, I think the vibe of this car is best honored with two people riding in style up front. The 560 SEC was Mercedes’ statement car, the kind of vehicle reserved for the executive with a wild side. It cost more than its rivals like the Porsche 928S, BMW 635i and Jaguar XJS, something that I think actually helped it succeed. At this level of luxury there are those people will automatically assume the most expensive option is the best and I think in this case they would be right. I would rather have a 560 SEC than any other personal sport coupe from the era, even the M6. While I love that car, I don’t think it has quite the same presence as this black beauty and sometimes presence (though rarely) beats performance. Sure we couldn’t get our hands on a manual option here in the states but I honestly think that’s ok because it this car is more of a mean city cruiser than a country road carver. Besides, the 4 speed automatic in this was quite ahead of it’s time in that it had a topographical sensor that would let it know if the car was on an incline or decline. This allowed for impressive engine braking when coasting downhill and smooth starts without using the brake pedal when going uphill. Just one of the many pieces of technology that we take for granted today that was pioneered on the W126 chassis.
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
The W126 is still considered by many to be the pinnacle of Mercedes-Benz’s combination of luxury, style, affordability and longevity, and it’s no wonder why. It was a huge sales success when new and the stout over-engineered design means that today there are plenty that are still available in good shape. It’s pretty amazing, actually – it’s quite rare to see a good condition E23 or C2/3 Audi in good shape today, but it’s almost rare to find SELs and SECs in poor shape. But at least on these shores, most of the later examples are the big-engine 5.6 V8 U.S. models – while there are some early 5.0 European market cars that were imported, it’s rare to see the later cars on this shore. That’s especially true of one of the lowest production number variants of the W126 – the 420SEC. With only around 3,600 total produced, they’re a fairly rare sight anywhere:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 420SEC on eBay
Following up on our trio of AMG-equipped cars Tuesday, a W126 500SEC AMG that I wrote up last year has resurfaced on eBay. Last time around the car sold for $13,100 – but there’s a twist this time, as it appears that the current seller (who, it should be noted, has zero feedback) is offering the car at a discounted $10,000 with a non-running engine after having driven it less than 1,000 miles. Condition appears to be equal to December’s auction with some better photos this time around. I’m still not a fan of the chromed wheels, but refinish them in graphite with polished lips, tone down the tinting and in my opinion this car would be a stunner. Is it worth the rebuild? I hope someone thinks so!
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC AMG on eBay
The below post originally appeared on our site December 17, 2013:
Today I found another not real AMG, this time a 380SEC, and you know what? I’m just not sure that I care that it’s not…