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1989 Mercedes 560 SEC

The photographs in this listing were provided directly from the seller.
The private plate shown in this listing will be included in the sale.


・Just three owners
・Excellent service history and paperwork
・Recent engine and gearbox service

The Background

The flagship model for Mercedes Benz, known as the W126 was the second generation of S Class (Sonderklasse - German for "special class”) was released in 1979, with the 560 SEC coupe placed on the top of the Mercedes pecking order after being announced in 1985. As a halo model, it showcased Mercedes’ advances in safety, engineering and comfort. Distinguished by its more muscular styling enhanced by its flared arches, fatter tyres, outstanding equipment and 296 bhp 5.5-litre V8, the car did not come cheap and was the most expensive production Mercedes that money could buy. While it could have never been considered a sports car, its muscular power still allowed it to keep up with contemporary Porsche's and Ferrari's of the day. It used a sophisticated fuel injection management system that could propel it to a capped 155mph in lavish comfort. 

This well preserved and maintained 1989 example has been under the ownership of the same owner for over three decades, and comes with thousands of pounds worth of invoices. Recently subject to both an engine and gearbox service, the car has also had some structural welding as well as protective measures to preserve its body, interior and underside. This car is priced to sell and represents astonishing value for money, as its qualities and charms still shine brightly.

The History

Originally registered by Cragside Mercedes in Newcastle, the car still retains its original dealer sticker as well as its original delivery inspection sheet and vehicle datasheet. It’s believed it has been owned by a company director who bought the car in the mid-'90s and kept it until last year. As a result, it comes with a pleasing amount of paperwork with thousands spent during his ownership. The car has seen a drastic reduction of miles over the last 15 years, having only covered 5K over that period, strongly suggesting it was then used as a weekend or occasional car, after perhaps serving as a company car. The current owner has a passionate interest in prestige cars, with an addiction to both Mercedes and Jaguar classics. Recalling how the 560 SEC captured his imagination when younger, he came across this car last year and simply couldn’t resist it, due to its tempting asking price, a stack of paperwork and its well-kept appearance. Since giving the car a home the car has received some welding work to the floorpan and a further precaution of being waxoyl’d to protect it from further issues. Furthermore, it has seen a very recent engine and gearbox service for the owner's peace of mind. Due to a lack of space and a collection consolidation, he has reluctantly decided to place the car for sale.

The Paperwork

It has dealer Mercedes service stamps up to 1999 and independent servicing thereafter. There is also a comprehensive number of invoices for repairs and maintenance, much of it also carried out by Mercedes main dealers. Additional work includes an investigation into the fuel metering system, resulting in £1500 worth of work carried out in 2010, with a new radiator wheel bearing, helical gear, gaskets and other sundry items in the previous years. Prior to this, the car saw a new exhaust system along with regular attention to the brakes. This 1989 car will also be sold with the short plate, as part of the sale and comes with an MOT to August 2021.

The Interior

The blue leather seats show typical signs of their age but retain their shape, the only spoiler to the script is a broken spring on the driver seat but is said not to impair the comfort. The leather has plenty of patina and therefore displays age-related wear but there are no significant rips or tears and all have been treated with a leather conditioner. The steering wheel also shows wear, but should be straightforward to revitalise if needed. The carpets and mats are in line with the cars age and general condition of the car and have resisted the rigour of time and use well. Similarly, the door cards are in good condition, with no significant scuffs or damage observed. The dashboard is in good physical condition with no significant issues to report. The centre console is good with some wear around the gear controls. The switchgear, controls and dials all in good condition, with the owner confirming that everything from the icy cold air conditioning to the electric windows and sunroof works. The blue facia is in good condition with no cracks or significant fading. The veneer is in good condition. The headlining is said to be good with no damage or sagging. The boot is fully carpeted and shows limited signs of use.

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The Exterior 

The first impression of the car suggests a great deal of care has been taken to maintain the presentation of this handsome machine. The panel fit is flush throughout, with even panel gaps throughout and also are free from significant dents. The exterior panels are said to be not to have any significant corrosion and the inner arches have been treated for corrosion removal in the past. The doors open and close with no resistance. The areas around the wheel arches, rear and front windscreen look good, with the bottom areas of the doors said to be in good order. The engine bay is said to be solid, with no issues reported regarding structural corrosion. The floor pan is solid and potential buyers should be encouraged by its recent suspension mounts welding for a recent MOT, which had been professionally carried out in 2020. Prior to this work, the car has also seen work to its subframe. The car has seen some paintwork in the past, but been has been well applied and maintains a good lustre. The shine shows typical age-related paint swirls, but a decent machine polish could eradicate these. There are a few minor chips noted on the bonnet and has a handful of chips observed on the door edges. To preserve the overall good finish of the exterior paint, the owner has also taken the trouble to professionally ceramic coat the body, which will protect the finish against grime and other weather elements. The alloys are in very good condition, with no kerb damage and the car have been treated to brand new tyres. The bumpers are in good order with a little scuffing in places, but nothing significant and could be remedied easily. The chrome trim is good with no signs of pitting. The glass is all good with no chips or significant scratches. The glass rubber is good and is said not to leak, with the sunroof drainage said to be in good working order. 

The Mechanics 

Mechanically the car is said to run well with no issues with its day to day use. It starts on the button, and ticks over with no problems regarding the overheating and excessive exhaust smoke. No unwanted noises are said to come from the engine. It's well known that these all-aluminium V8 engines, if properly maintained are strong units so high mileages should not be seen as a negative. The automatic gearbox functions well, with no issues with gear changes, although due to the general lack of use, the kick-down is said to be a little slow. This tally’s up with the cars need to be used more, and the owner states that the car improves with every drive. That said, when the car was driven from Scotland to its current home in Surrey and it was said to perform impeccably. The suspension and steering are said not to knock or rattle when in use. Electrically the car is said to be in good order, with the relays having also been replaced.  One issue that has been mentioned by the owner is the intermittent flash of the ABS warning light, which after an investigation by a local garage it was diagnosed as a vacuum leak, which will need attention. Other than this issue, the brakes are said to perform well, with no drama with no reported issues with squealing or juddering in operation. One of the callipers was subject to a recent renewal. 

The Appeal

With a healthy service history and plenty of paperwork, which all helps to suggest a professional maintenance outlook with genuine Mercedes parts should give a little confidence to any potential buyer. Thanks to a decent level of ownership, the issues have been kept on top of, with particular attention to the bodywork and engine. While some elements need a little fettling, the car retains much of its original appeal as an ideal long-distance cruiser. Priced sensibly, this 3 owner car represents an incredible opportunity to experience one of the very best cars of the ’80s and one that still maintains an incredible amount of presence.

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the sellers discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1989
  • Make Mercedes
  • Model 560 SEC
  • Colour Blue
  • Odometer 160,177 Miles
  • Engine size 5547
  • Location Surrey
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
7 bids from 3 bidders
  • classic•••• £5,750 22/06/21
  • a-g £5,000 22/06/21
  • classic•••• £4,750 22/06/21
  • mohamed•••• £4,000 21/06/21
  • classic•••• £2,000 21/06/21
  • classic•••• £1,500 21/06/21
  • classic•••• £1,000 21/06/21

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