Modern German saloons have softened this year and the S Class W126 is looking like one of the biggest classic Benz bargains of 2019.
In April, SWA in Poole sold a stunning 1987 300SE in gold with 77,000 miles, three owners and history file for £3700 plus premium. That’s one of the best-built Mercs of its era and much hardier than the contemporary Jaguar XJ Series III or BMW 7. Designed by Bruno Sacco, the W126 had the longest production run of any S Class, scored the highest of any car in the JD Power Consumer Satisfaction Survey and, for a decade, was the default limo of heads of state and tycoons.
Low-mileage cars are rare now and worth snapping up. MK Engineering in Chandler’s Cross has an 1989 300SE in blue black with beige leather, 50,000 miles and full history for £7900, but the one to have is the 560SEL V126, loaded to the sunroof with factory extras. The Classic Car Warehouse in Lancashire has a mint Astral Silver 1997 560SEL with 42,000 and three owners for £19,995 but look hard and you can find tiny-mileage cars at less. A private seller in London has a freshly imported LHD 1990 560SEL V126 in black with mushroom hide, 22,000 miles and full history for £12,995. That’s outstanding value for such a unique spec and mileage.
There’s currently a big difference between what the specialist trade will charge and hammer prices in provincial auctions or online ads. Don’t think of the 126 as an investment, but as a seductive limo with as much road presence as a Rolls or Bentley but far more reasonable running costs.