Luxury Cars

Junkyard Gem: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500 SEC coupe

The Mercedes-Benz W126 was the second era of automobiles to make use of the S-Class designation, constructed for the 1980 by 1991 mannequin years and is known for its construct high quality. As a result of these automobiles tended to carry collectively so nicely, loads of them are solely now sporting out and exhibiting up within the massive self-service automobile graveyards I frequent. I’ve documented two discarded W126 sedans with nicely over a half-million miles on the odometer (each 300 SDs, a 1981 and a 1985), however discovering any W126 coupes is harder. At the moment’s Junkyard Gem is a European-market two-door, now residing in a cold boneyard in northeastern Colorado.

Individuals might purchase new W126 coupes in 1983, in fact, however the U.S.-market model received a a lot smaller engine than the top-of-the-line Euro-market S-Class that yr. The 1983 380 SEC accessible in American Mercedes-Benz dealerships had a 3.8-liter V8 rated at simply 155 horsepower, whereas Europeans might purchase a 500 SEC with 230 rampaging German horses. 

That is the place the grey market got here in. This automobile was imported by a Netherlands Antilles-based firm with a Fort Lauderdale deal with, which sounds about proper for such a decadent machine.

I’ve discovered a couple of different gray-market Mercedes-Benzes of this period in Denver-area junkyards, together with a 1980 280 SEL, a 1980 500 SE, and a 1988 230 CE.

As you’d count on, junkyard customers grabbed the Euro-spec headlights and different goodies off these automobiles. This automobile nonetheless has one headlight, but it surely’s damaged.

V8-powered W126s did not include handbook transmissions in 1983, although four- and five-speed manuals have been accessible within the (non-U.S.-market) straight-six automobiles that yr.

The U.S.-market 500 SEC confirmed up for the 1984 mannequin yr, although its engine was rated at simply 184 horsepower. The value tag: $57,100 (about $166,823 in 2022 {dollars}), making it the costliest Mercedes-Benz accessible in America that yr. 

This one nonetheless has shiny pink paint, however there’s loads of physique filler masking up outdated crash injury.

Mercedes-Benz started providing driver’s-side airbags as an extra-cost choice within the S-Class beginning in 1981. Within the U.S.-market 1984 500 SEC, the airbag value $880 ($2,571 at this time).

Wouldn’t it have been price fixing up this automobile? In all probability not, but it surely’s a disgrace to see it about to going through the chilly metal jaws of the crusher.

Worth that endures.

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