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    Richard Mason

    The Collector Neville Brown

    Posted in Cars on Friday, 25 January 2019

    The Collector Meet Neville Brown, owner of some of the wildest Mercedes tuner specials that you’ll ever see ‘The thrill is in the chasing down of unobtainium’ A fixation with overt German tuner specials means a never-ending hunt for obscure spare parts. Neville Brown has made that his lifeblood. Words Richard Mason. Photography Charlie Magee.

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    Richard Mason

    Buying Guide Mercedes-Benz SEC C126

    Posted in Cars on Saturday, 29 December 2018

    Merc SEC: big style for £5-30k. Buy a Mercedes-Benz SEC C126. Go equipped with wisdom when inspecting the massive Eighties GT available from £5k. Dwindling survivors and soaring prices make detailed buying knowledge crucial. Words Richard Mason. Photography John Colley.

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    Dan Sherwood
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    Fred Oehmke’s unique Mercedes-Benz W126 Shooting Brake S-Class estate hails from Japan

    Posted in Cars on Monday, 14 May 2018

    Upfront Modded Mercs S-class estate one off Japanese art car. Fred Oehmke’s unique W126 estate hails from Japan. Words: Axel Catton. Images: Anna Köster-Nowaczyk/Classic Analytics.

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    Wabenzi in Africa


    CAR: #1988-Mercedes-Benz-560SEC-C126 / #1988 / #Mercedes-Benz-560SEC-C126 / #Mercedes-Benz-C126 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz-S-Class-C126 / #Mercedes-Benz-S-Class-126-Series / #Mercedes-Benz-S-Class / #Mercedes-Benz-126-Series / #Mercedes-Benz-W126 / #Mercedes-Benz-W126-Coupé / #V8

    I haven’t mentioned the ‘Big Block’ before. This is the Mercedes-Benz 560SEC C126 my father has owned for over a decade. It lives in Cape Town and on our last trip over for Christmas he lent it to my wife and I.

    I had never taken much notice of it before. I was never mad about the colour - a Broederbond racing bronze, significant because it is rumoured the car was previously cwned by General Magnus Malan, a past Minister of Defence in South Africa.

    But I have read that the W126 series, 5547cc #Mercedes-Benz-V8 560SEC was often cited as the best coupe of the 1980s. Weighing some 1750kg and pumping out about 300bhp, it promises a 0-60mph time of seven seconds and a top whack of 150mph. So I pile my wife’s ample luggage into the huge boot and we motor off in comfort. The Benz slides down the motorway in air-conditioned serenity with its typical MB wooden throttle response, woollen steering and sluggish auto-box.

    Leafing through the Big Block's fat silver- covered handbook, it seems it has a fully stamped MB service history from new and the 167,000km (104,000 miles) reading is correct. Then I read that the gearbox has two settings: ‘E’ for economy and ‘S' for standard. Surely ‘S’ is for sports...

    Next morning, on a solo mission, I fire up the 560 and switch to ‘S’ mode. The Benz pulls away in first gear (in E it moves off in second) and instantly feels a lot more alert. After allowing the big V8 to warm properly, I reach the bottom of a long mountain pass and floor it. The Wabenzi draws a deep breath and hoofs up the road with a muted roar. The steering, despite its loose straight-ahead position, becomes accurate when weighted into the comers, the handling is taut and sharp when pushed, and the big brakes more than capable of slowing the beast down for the next bend.

    Later, with my wife back on board, I slip the gearbox back into ‘E’ mode and smile in the knowledge that the Big Block can be awakened at the merest flick of that innocuous little switch.

    Above Switch to the left of the transmission selector is key to unlocking 560SECs huge potential.
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    CAR: #Mercedes-Benz-500SEC / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz-500SEC-C126 / #Mercedes-Benz-C126 / #Mercedes-Benz-W126

    Year of manufacture #1989
    Recorded mileage 29,025 (see text)
    Asking price £13,950
    Vendor Edward Hall Classic Mercedes, Worminghall, Bucks; tel: 01844 339666;


    Price £50,250
    Max power 228bhp
    Max torque 299lb ft
    0-60mph 7.9 secs
    Top speed 140mph
    Mpg 18

    This six-owner #Mercedes-Benz-W126-Coupé , with options of traction control (ASR) and heated front seats, has been properly cared for. It has a full service record and several thousand has been spent on fettling over the year that Hall has looked after the car. The factory paint is nice, bar a couple of tiny blemishes in the lacquer, plus the chrome and trim are good and the alloy wheels unkerbed; they’re shod with 2016 Dunlops, with an old Michelin MXV on the spare. The tool-roll and warning triangle are present, plus it’s rust-free underneath and there’s no filler in the rear arch lips.

    Inside, the carpets – protected by M-B overmats – have an only slightly used air, commensurate with the mileage, which is about 91,000 allowing for a speedo change at 62k in 2010. The veneers are all smart with no cracks, the dash top is mint, the hide still supple and only lightly creased… and the original first aid kit remains unopened in its cubby in the rear shelf. There are a couple of small spots of surface corrosion in the engine bay – mainly on pipes and brackets – and the lower windscreen seal looks a little sorry for itself, but the spring towers are perfect. The motor has had the cylinder heads rebuilt and new injectors fitted in the past couple of years, the aircon compressor was replaced and the transmission received new seals. The fluids are all the right colours with levels spot-on, plus the exhaust doesn’t look very old. It’s nice to see an M-B battery, too.

    It starts easily without smoking and drives beautifully, with no creaks, groans or rattles in the suspension, tracking and braking straight handsoff – Hall replaced a rear caliper not long ago. Though it lacks the ultimate stonk of the 560 (300bhp, 335lb ft), it’s 140kg lighter and will hurtle along effortlessly, flattening bumps in the road as it goes, but is very easy to drive. Oil pressure is the typical M-B maximum 3bar deflection at all times, coolant temperature is a steady 82ºC and everything functions. The aircon shows willing and Hall plans to have it regassed. It comes with a new MoT, handbook and two keys, plus it will be serviced when sold.
    SUMMARY EXTERIOR Excellent, bar minor paint marks

    INTERIOR All present and correct, it all works and it’s all holding up well

    MECHANICALS Appears to want for nothing

    VALUE ★★★★★★★✩✩✩

    For So smooth and accessible it’s hard to resist the performance…

    Against …so you won’t crack 20mpg


    Super style, no needs (hard to think it’s 28) and the sensible choice of the V8s. If you must have Godzilla, then Hall can probably find you one.
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