1984 MERCEDES-BENZ 500 SECView vehicle description
The second-generation S-Class, referred to inside Mercedes-Benz as the W126, broadened the range in a way its predecessor, the W116, never managed – a large V8 coupé spun off its floor pan, which arrived three years after the new flagship.
Design boss, Bruno Sacco, crafted a pillarless two door saloon that offered all the benefits of the W126 but with a more stylish resolve; two V8s (as 380 and 500) were available from launch, before a facelift in 1985 added the powerful 560 to the range. At the bottom of the heap, the 380 models were supplanted with a 420 equivalent, with the 500 staying unscathed until the end of the production in 1991.
Despite the looks, the SEC (otherwise known as the C126) sacrificed nothing to safety. Like its saloon forebear, airbags were available from the beginning, becoming standardised for the driver (alongside an adjustable mode auto box) from 1985.
By the early Nineties, a new S-Class, the massive, plutocratic, double-glazed W140 took over, with a C140 equivalent in tow. What it gained in technology, it lost in elegance, as the balance of Mercedes’ most expensive cars began to chase the former, instead of the latter.
Lorinser has been associated with Mercedes-Benz since the mid-1930s as a reseller and service agent before setting up tuning operations in 1976. In addition to engine and ancillary modifications for performance, to this day Lorinser also produces exterior styling panels, wheel rims and all manner of custom parts, largely for Mercedes-Benz models.
First registered in February 1985 by Bramley Mercedes of Guildford - this 500 SEC was bought by the MD of a South Oxfordshire construction company in the village of Cholsey. Not wanting just a standard 500 SEC, the car was originally specified as a Lorinser model with the distinctive body kit.
He used the SEC as his personal car until his retirement some years later when ownership passed to his son - also from Cholsey. Being of a younger mindset, the son replaced it with a 190E Cosworth a while later, when it was bought by another businessman who knew the car very well because he lives - you guessed it - in Cholsey!
After a number of years in storage from 2010, the car was recently acquired by our vendor and recommissioned by respected motor engineer Martin Tomsett before being treated to a full paintwork and interior refresh with a view to preserving as much originality as possible rather than a nut and bolt restoration. However, due to a slight miscalculation on the length of the SEC compared to the length of his garage (i.e. it is 30 inches too long!) he’s decided to sell the car.
Given that the car has been local to South Oxfordshire all its life, and the latest owner has known its story since new, it might seem something of a mystery why the DVLA have an import marker on the record. Unless it is a mistake by DVLA (which wouldn’t be the first) it is possibly due to it being shipped straight to Lorinser from Mercedes and then imported into the UK by them.
On the Outside
The exterior is painted in Mercedes’ 737 Classic White which, with the addition of the Lorinser body kit and the white wheels, makes the car really stand out. The bodywork looks straight with generally good panel alignment. The paintwork isn’t perfect - you wouldn’t expect it to be on a 37 year old car - but it is in good order considering. There’s a little bit of blistering here and there but nothing likely to cause concern.
The white Lorinser front and rear valances and the side skirts all appear in good condition with no obvious damage. A Lorinser stamp is clearly visible on the leading edge of the rear rear valance & a plaque under each side skirt (as seen in the gallery).
Like the paint, the chrome brightwork isn’t perfect but it looks to be complete and is in keeping with the condition of the rest of the car. It does appear to be free of rust and serious pitting and still has a reasonable shine to it. The only other issue to note is a chip in the offside headlamp glass although this hasn’t compromised its effectiveness.
The SEC sits on 16-inch Rial alloy wheels - which are similar in spoke pattern to BBS but deep-dished, highly collectable and becoming rather pricey to replace. The centres are painted white, with the outers a silver colour and they appear in a reasonably good condition with just a little scuffing around the rims. All are shod with matching Riken Road Performance tyres fitted earlier this year. For those unfamiliar with the tyre brand, it is owned and manufactured by Michelin.
There’s barely a bad angle to view this car; the three-quarter views front and rear are excellent and the side profile with the windows down shows just how big and magnificent-looking this pillarless coupe is.
On the Inside
According to the car’s factory option codes, the interior was clad in a Mushroom coloured leather (also known as Pebble) when it left Stuttgart. However, the seats are now a lighter shade than the rest of the interior trim. The mottled finish on some areas of the seat covers suggests that it has perhaps been recoloured in the past, or has faded, or possibly both. Equally, some of the other interior elements may well have yellowed over the years, increasing the contrast between the materials.
There is a degree of wear on the seats, you’d be surprised if there wasn’t, particularly of course on the driving seat where there’s also the odd loose stitch in the pleating. As we said earlier, this car has been preserved rather than restored, so if a new owner wanted to spruce up the interior a bit more, some re-connolising would be in order. A nice touch - although rather crucial in such a long coupe - are the seatbelt butlers, which both appear to work as they should.
There’s a good deal of wood veneer trim around the car - notably the centre console, dashboard and door finishers. It presents in good overall condition with no obvious cracking or peeling.
Up front is another Lorinser option - the Momo four-spoke steering wheel. It has been well used and the leather is showing wear and patina, particularly around the lower half of the rim, although the surface is intact.
Whilst this car’s options list suggests that it would probably have left the factory with a classic Becker Grand Prix radio, it has been replaced with a contemporary Kenwood KRC-1022D radio cassette - most likely in period.
Another very nice option that this car was specififed with is air conditioning. The system does appear to work as intended but would probably require a re-gas.
The carpets appear original and relatively tidy, with no obvious damage, and up above the headlining also looks intact. Another piece of originality is the first aid kit stowed in the rear parcel shelf.
Under the bonnet, there are a few signs of surface rust under the lid itself but the insulative lining looks complete and in good condition. The paint coating around the engine bay has flaked in a few places with the odd patch of light corrosion but the engine and ancillaries look in good, honest order with some recent parts fitted.
For a car well into its fourth decade, the undersides seem to be in very good order. Yes there’s a fair bit of road dirt across the undersealed surfaces and there are specks of rust and older oxidation on components like the road springs and exhaust boxes as you might expect.
Inside the boot, the carpets appear tidy with just a little patina and wear in places and there are tiny patches of surface rust around the boot opening and on the hinges. However, there is no sign of corrosion to the rear deck below the rear screen that these models are notorious for.
Under the floorboard is a full size spare Rial wheel fitted with older rubber, and under the boot lid itself is the warning triangle.
This 500 SEC has a current MOT valid until May 2023, which it passed with no advisories.
Unfortunately the car’s history file was misplaced over the years but the online MOT record goes a long way to validating the current mileage and indicates the period of time when the car was in storage.
When new, the car was specified with the following factory options: electric sunroof, cruise control, ABS, electric mirrors, retracting antenna, air conditioning, headlamp wipers and rear speakers.
The vendor reports that all of the above equipment is functioning as it should; even the sunroof - often a troublesome item when new.
The recent recommissioning involved machine polishing the paintwork, new tyres, a new fuel pump, fuel filter, lower ball joints, wiper blades and a handful of bits and pieces but nothing major
What We Think
The W126 variants are becoming more popular and sought after, with the SEC coupes leading the charge. They are comfortable, well-engineered and cruise effortlessly and reliably to the accompaniment of a burbling V8.
Whilst standard models in excellent condition are making good money, those with styling or performance modifications from the likes of AMG, Brabus or Lorinser - like this one - will always command a premium. We think this “one village” example will sell for between £14,000 and £18,000.
Given that in their day, these cars were a sign that the driver had really reached the top of the pile, we think they are something of a bargain at today’s prices - provided your garage is long enough!
Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; to arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
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- Location: The Market HQ, Abingdon, United Kingdom
- Seller Type: Private
- Odometer Reading: 90654
- Chassis Number: WDB1260442A137816
- Engine: 5000
- Gearbox: auto
- Steering position: RHD
- Colour: White
- Interior: Mushroom Leather
- Estimated Price: £14,000 - £18,000