15k: One Percenter: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEL W126
The Mercedes-Benz W126 class was the predecessor to the S-Class and lasted for a remarkable 12 year production run (1979-1991), a record since Mercedes started building their flagship mega-sedans in the early 1960s. The best one to get was always the flagship long wheel base huge-engine variant and the later models will be better equipped. If you were a one-percenter looking for that Bonfire of the Vanities experience (minus the whole racial tension, jail, poverty, reflection elements) you could do worse than pickup a new W126 S-class in 1991. Find this 1991 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEL W126 for sale in Atherton, CA for $15,995 asking price via craigslist. Tip from Kaibeezy.
Luckily today you don’t need to be a self styled Master of the Universe bond trader to afford this museum quality 560SEL – in fact you could probably be someone who cuts the lawn of a bond trader and afford this car. Thank you depreciation!
The big W126 is powered by a 5.6 liter M117 V8 that puts out 275 horsepower and 317 ft-lbs of torque. The 4000 lb Merc won’t be confused with any modern sports car but with the stock 4-speed automatic it should get going decently well.
The inside of this W126 is seriously fresh – the seller describes it as Museum quality – and while it would be sanitary to eat off the inside of this thing, it would also be a sacrilege. No eating in the minty clean Merc please!!
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I had a 560 SEL just like this one, except black on black. It was a great car, the build quality was fantastic and it was perfect for swift (but not overly fast) motoring. It aged gracefully, mellowing with age like a good wine. We used it daily while our kids were small, until I finally gave in and we got a more, ah, suburban ride. W126s looked fantastic, especially compared with the hideously bloated barge that followed. But I digress. My 560 was in pretty good shape, very solid and it had less than 150 K miles if I recall. I sold it for $3K just as the price of a gallon of gas crested $4 for the first time. $16K seems like all the money for a W126 sedan – multiplied by two.
Horsepower for a standard US spec 560 was, I believe, 238hp. In Europe, you could spec up to a 272hp version or the top dog 200hp ECE, but neither of those were ever offered this side of the pond.
Shoot, 300hp ECE, not 200.
Nice, classy, timeless design. Back when they still made Mercedes to last longer than the warranty period. Pricey, but worth the money long term.