Vintage Mercedes like this meticulously maintained 500SEL are the perfect combination of old world luxury and universal appeal. Fast, comfortable, stylish, and built like a Panzer tank, they are the first choice of many classic car collectors who like to both show their cars and drive them on weekend getaways. With only 44,830 sunny day miles on its original powertrain, and no collision or major body damage whatsoever, this rock-solid Benz is about as close to owning a brand new, 30 year old luxury car as you can get. If you’re a Daimler diehard who’s in the market for a low buck collector piece that can be driven and enjoyed to its fullest extent, this awesome sedan is the incredible deal you’ve been waiting for!
Like most of our well-maintained classics, this first class flagship is documented all the way back to its original window sticker. Here’s an itemized breakdown of the car’s standard and optional equipment:
MODEL: 500SEL 5-passenger sedan
ENGINE: 5.0 liter OHC V8 that’s equipped with C.I.S fuel injection
* 4-speed automatic transmission
* Fully independent suspension
* Power steering
* Power, 4-wheel disc brakes
* Anti-lock Braking System
* Forged, light alloy wheels
* Steel belted radial-ply tires
* Halogen headlamps
* Halogen fog lamps
* Tinted glass
* Power mirrors
* Power antenna that’s complete with selective height adjustment
* Electronic cruise control
* Automatic climate control
* Heated rear window
* Heated seats
* Power seats
* Power windows
* Power door locks
* AM/FM stereo that’s complete with a cassette player
* Rear headrests
* Rear reading lamps
* Parcel nets
* 2-speed wipers
* Anti-theft system
* Supplemental Restraint System
* Front seatbelt emergency tensioning retractors
* First aid kit
* 737 Classic White paint ($00)
* 274 Palomino Leather interior ($00)
* 410 Electric sliding roof ($00)
BASE PRICE: $51,200
INLAND TRANSPORT: $175
GAS GUZZLER TAX: $1,000
MANUFACTURER’S SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE: $52,375
Looking exceptionally clean in its slick coat of Classic White paint, this big Benz is a gently used time capsule that, judging by a quick visual inspection, has never been curb-scraped, much less seen a full on collision. There’s no sign of body rust or significant damage anywhere. The car’s long fenders are straight, its door bottoms are clean, and everything is nicely accented by a thin red pinstripe. And as far as fit and finish go, all variable components open easily, close properly and seal up tight.
Power comes from a reliable M117 ‘light alloy’ V8 which provides an excellent mix of torquey thrust and thrifty fuel economy. The silky engine, noted for its advanced overhead cam block, traditional cast iron heads and beefy 9.0 to 1 compression, is a great luxury car powerplant that happily goes about its business without troubling the driver or passengers. And while you’re not likely to take home many street racing victories, you’re certainly not going to be late either. The condition of the car’s engine bay is further testament to an easy life away from the harsh salt and slush of winter; fittings are bright and shiny, there’s no rust on either the inner fenders or firewall and all wiring remains corrosion free. Not surprisingly, the big mill is dotted with original components, displaying a distinct lack of rigged or hijacked parts that are common on cars that previous owners can’t afford to properly service. And everything is operational and fully accounted for, with items like undamaged fluid bottles, pliable belts and fresh looking hoses setting high expectations for years of reliable cruising.
Based on Mercedes’ proven W126 architecture, the 500SEL champions a smooth, 4-speed automatic transmission that features both ‘topographical hold back’ and integrated ‘limp home’ technology. A familiar self-leveling hydropneumatic suspension commands a nice, 117-inch wheelbase to mix composed turns with cloud-like ride quality. Naturally, there’s factory power steering to cast away all those annoying “drives like a barge” poseur quips. Likewise, brakes are power-assisted discs at all four corners. The exhaust system is a single-pipe setup that utilizes a big muffler and rust-free tail pipe to emit barely a murmur. All that cushy technology rides on snazzy, 14-inch wheels which spin 205/70 Michelin XH4 Radials around Mercedes-branded center caps. And aesthetically, the car’s undercarriage is exactly what you’d expect from a well-traversed cruiser, with clean floors that display no evidence of abuse, neglect, or damage.
On the inside, this well-mannered SEL is Teutonic luxury at its finest. Soft, perforated leather buckets are supremely comfortable and look great in classic Palomino tint. In front of those seats, crystal clear gauges are laid out in typical Mercedes fashion: three binnacles with simple dials and lighted pointers. Behind those gauges, a straight and fresh dash features rich wood trim that flows into a great looking, wood-topped console. Below that console, clean Palomino carpet presents much, much better than its age would suggest. At the sides of that carpet, well-padded door panels hang chrome handles above long, flowing armrests. In front of the driver, a black, Mercedes-branded steering wheel maintains excellent road manners while providing a heavy, luxury car feel. And behind the passengers, a fully carpeted trunk features enough room for luggage, a briefcase and a nice set of golf clubs.
The sale of this old world super star includes original factory paperwork, an original inspection sheet, an original owner’s manual, original warranty information, an original mileage statement, the aforementioned window sticker, original sales invoices and a vintage marketing brochure.
Both luxurious and capable, this rock-solid Benz is a substantial sedan that’s been meticulously maintained throughout its entire existence. Thanks to Daimler’s storied reputation for excellent engineering, Mercedes sold every W126 car they could build, and vintage examples like this 500SEL enjoy a large group of dedicated fans. If you’re looking for a great cruiser that’s a genuine iron fist in a silk glove, you’ve found your next classic!