1988 MERCEDES-BENZ 560SEC W126
ENGINE 5547cc/V8/OHC POWER 275bhp@5200rpm TORQUE 317lb ft@4750rpm MAXIMUM SPEED 156mph 0-60mph 6.7sec FUEL CONSUMPTION 14-22mpg TRANSMISSION RWD, four-speed auto MoT 12 months ODOMETER 108,900 miles
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
The muted burble from under the bonnet tells you that all is well. There’s no lumpiness, and no oil-starved rattling of tappets on start-up. Pulling away, the motor’s tone is still well-muted, and not overlaid with any rattles from the interior. Four owners – the last for 12 years – have kept this car in fine fettle. The automatic transmission changes smoothly, holding the gears accordingly if you keep your foot down and allowing for formidable acceleration in kick-down. The big V8 is quite happy to keep doling out sucker-punch torque or drop back and let the car lope along. Mercedes’ biggest-engined S-class coupé struck a fine balance between grand tourer and muscle car. That this equilibrium is retained tells you the SEC has lost none of its clout, but also that all those refinements keep it just the right side of being too sophisticated.
Very slight differences across the panels suggest localised resprays, but the whole car presents well. There are a few small chips on the door edges and the nose, and scuffs on the front bumper. There’s a slight warp on the passenger door’s plastic panel. The lower front wings and the metal below the big rear window are all corrosion-free. The edges of the chrome inserts in the plastic bumpers are clean and bright.
HOW’S THE INTERIOR?
Silver grey over black leather is a good combination for the SEC, and the perforated leather seats and clean carpets create a good impression. The seats maintain their Mercedes firmness and the wood veneer retains a good gloss. The big black steering wheel too has kept its colour, apart from a slight fade to the bottom seam. The pillarless coupé’s windows and sunroof move at a leisurely pace, but most wind noise is muted when they’re closed.
UNDER THE BONNET
It’s slightly disappointing that the SEC doesn’t come with a better history, because its demeanour tells that it was well looked after by its last owner, who was an engineer. Lifting the bonnet reveals a V8 that has that kind of ‘oily rag’ cleanliness of meticulous attention. Clips and fasteners are secure, rust-free and operate firmly but smoothly. Hoses are supple and wiring un-tampered with. Coolant is at the correct level and oil clean. There was a documented speedo change around 40,000 miles. The underside of the car is clean and the suspension components look solid. The 15-hole alloy wheels are in excellent condition.
THE CCW VIEW
This is a fine example of Mercedes-Benz’s big bruiser of a coupé. It won’t win any concours prizes, but you also won’t be afraid to drive it. It’s a well-preserved example that’s been looked after.