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

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling - Rob Sco­rah

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.

BODY­WORK CHECK

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.

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