Mercedes-Benz 500 SEC (C126)

Lavished with care and oozing period luxury, this Merc can transport you to fantasy land.

Cost New £61,430 Price £24,995


here are few cars that exemplify the decade of excess better than a white Mercedes-Benz SEC – and we just had to have a look at this one, stepping into a fantasy land of LA-dwelling, pastel-shirted movie execs.

The Arctic White paintwork is in largely excellent nick, considering the age and mileage. There are minor marks and scratches on the front valance, on the passenger-side rear flank and around the jacking points on both sides. There's what seems to be fresh rubber around the rear screen (a common weak spot on these), and minor pitting and clouding of the chrome sections. The brand-new alloy wheels wear fairly fresh Avon ZT5 tyres. Overall this 27-year old-car is a rare find, in great condition and makes a very useable classic.

The interior is in excellent condition – we're used to seeing drooping headlinings and cracked wood, but neither are present. There’s minor creasing on the leather seats and only light bolster wear, while all the electrical items work perfectly.

The engine bay is tidy if not concours, with all the fluids up to the correct marks. There are regular stamps in the service book, the last one dating from March 2018 – this car’s had just one owner, and it’s been lavished with care. The last service included a new alternator belt, fluid change, ball joints, rocker cover gaskets and general refreshment for £943.89. A new air-con compressor was fitted ten years ago for £1197. Checking the MoT results shows just 3000 miles were covered in 14 years. There's also the original bill of sale from Greenoaks Mercedes-Benz.

If you've never driven an SEC, you're in for a treat – it feels as solid, wafty and relaxing as any Mercedes-Benz from the 1980s. Bury your right foot, however, and a wave of torque raises the nose and your immediate future comes rushing towards you much quicker than you might have anticipated. The steering is featherlight and devoid of feel, but it’s a relaxing way to gorge on straight-line miles. We didn't experience any strange noises or vibrations. In fact this is one of the finest-driving examples we've tried. With these graceful big coupés unlikely to depreciate, this is a good example with which to continue dining on miles.

Mercedes-Benz 500 SEC (C126)

Year:     1990
Mileage:     73,000
On sale at:     Cloud 9 Classics

Engine:     4973cc, 8-cyl, SOHC
Transmission:     RWD, 4-speed auto
Power:     242bhp@4750rpm
Torque:     294lb-ft@2750rpm
Weight:     1610kg

0-60mph:    7.8sec
Top speed:     143mph
Economy:     20mpg

Choose your Mercedes-Benz C126

1980: The SEC coupé is launched, using W126 S-Class underpinnings. Launch engine was the M117.963 5.0-litre V8, with a M116.963 3.8-litre V8 appearing a year later.

1985: Range refreshed; 3.8-litre engine dropped and replaced with 4.2-litre M116.965 V8. 500 SEC engine revised to M117.965 specification.

Top-of-the-range 560 SEC M117.968 engine delivers a 296bhp punch and costs almost twice that of the 500 SEC. Self-levelling rear suspension was standard on the 560, and optional on 500s.

1987: Catalytic converter versions introduced.

1991: Production ends.

Lewis PlumbMercedes, Benz, 500, SEC