Renowned as the ultimate four-seater luxury coupe of its era and well beyond, the sleek W126-generation 560 SEC topped the Mercedes-Benz model range line from 1985 through 1991. In typical Mercedes-Benz fashion, the handsome 560 SEC delivered equal measures of timeless presence, purposeful luxury, and of course, smooth turbine-like V-8 power and exceptional performance.
The W126 line dates back to October 1973, with preparation and planning for the newly released W116 S-Class’s successor. Logically codenamed “Project W126,” design and engineering work was aimed at delivering even better ride quality, handling, and fuel efficiency, the latter objective all the more urgent by the chaos spurred by the first OPEC oil embargo. Other considerations included the more stringent emissions and safety standards just taking effect in the important North American export markets.
The elegant approach to those challenges taken by Mercedes-Benz chief designer Bruno Sacco and his team was twofold, featuring improved aerodynamic efficiency and innovative new materials including weight reductions made possible by extensive use of high-strength low-alloy (HSLA) materials plus deformable polyurethane for the front and rear bumper covers and lower bodyside cladding. Lighter-weight alloys were also utilized for the heavily redesigned M116/M117 family of V-8 engines, with the new W126 platform delivering 10 percent greater fuel economy than its predecessor. Masterfully, Sacco wrapped all this technology in a timelessly sophisticated form.
The W126 models collectively represent an unqualified tour de force of Mercedes-Benz design and engineering prowess. In 1982, Mercedes-Benz added the 500 SEC (Sonderklasse Einspritzmotor Coupé, or, Fuel-Injected, Superior-Class Coupé) to the range to complement the SE standard sedan and the SEL long-wheelbase sedan. These stylish, sophisticated, and remarkably fast elite-level coupes evolved into the ultimate 5.6-liter 560 SEC specification by 1985, with production running through 1991. Continuing to deliver timeless good looks, effortless road manners, and vault-like solidity, prime-quality examples of the 560 SEC are sought-after by discerning collectors and driving enthusiasts, and represent the ultimate “Youngtimer” modern classic motoring experience.
This wonderfully presented 1991 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC is an outstanding example from the final model year for the W126, offered here in the ultimate specification with 5.6-liter power. Collector-owned in recent years with virtually no possible expense spared, this 116,000 mile 560 SEC spent much of its life in Southern California and clearly benefits from selective restoration work recently completed by Mercedes-Benz and European-car specialists. In addition to a high-quality exterior refinish in the original, factory-specified DB702 Smoke Silver paint, the interior compartment was retrimmed in fresh Code 261 Black leather upholstery and new carpets, beautifully accented by rich wood-veneer trim professionally restored by the respected experts at Madera Concepts. The thoroughness of the work must be viewed to be fully appreciated, and records further reveal the attention to detail down to replacement emblems, lights, seals, weather stripping, and more. Powered by the mighty M117 5.6-liter V-8 engine factory-rated at 296 horsepower, the Mercedes also benefits from mechanical service performed during 2020, rendering it ready for enjoyable touring as desired. Recent work included A/C service, oil and coolant service, new drive belts, safety inspection, and four new Michelin tires. The SEC came standard with all the expected power options including seats, windows, sunroof, etc, and this car adds optional CD changer and bright-finish alloy wheels. Records confirming the recent work and a factory tool roll are also included. As one of the finest example of its type available, this beautifully presented 560 SEC is a true modern classic, and is ready to drive and enjoy in “turn-key” condition.
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