Mercedes-Benz W126 300SE - today's luxo tempter

By: Unique Cars magazine

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benz w126 Mercedes-Benz W126 300SE benz w126

Big interstate cruiser

It somehow defies logic. Despite costing roughly the equivalent of a modest house back when they were new, literally hundreds of thousands of W126 S-class Benzes were sold from 1979 to 1991. In fact, there were 818,063 sedans built. (And yes, housing has become much more expensive over the years.)

That popularity lasted right through to the last years of production. They were in favour internationally as government and fleet cars and one theory says they got a significant sales boost in this country thanks to the 1989 pilot strike. Suddenly people were driving interstate instead of flying.

Regardless of the truth of that story, W126 Benzes are a supremely comfortable car for a long trip. And they have a reputation for being particularly solid.

In a review of this series, we said: "Built 1979 through to 1991 in most places (with a significant update from 1986), and up to 1994 in South Africa, it’s sometimes described by enthusiasts as the last of the ‘good’ Benzes, in that they were as solid as the proverbial brick outhouse and particularly well-assembled. That said, owners of several generations of these cars (and others) will claim exactly the same thing!

"However the claim may have some validity, since one or two former Benz staffers have added their voices to that view, via Hagerty online."

These cars were made with several engine packages, and a few different transmissions. However the four-speed auto was by far the dominant choice when it came to the latter.

The example you see here is the second-gen W126, which means it has the post-1986 updates. The 300 designation says it has the 3.0lt inline six which by then was the base engine. Though no fire-breather, it's robust, simple to service and has enough power to hunt the car along at a respectable pace.

Built in 1990, it claims just 117,000km and exceptional presentation. Located in Brisbane, it's priced at $29,990.

See our review of the W126 S-class series

 

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