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W126 -Buyer's Guide to the W126 SEC [Buying Benz]
Requested and Answered by Admin on 29-Mar-2005 03:46 (12790 reads)
W126 -Buyer's Guide to the W126 SEC
Looking for an SEC?

Don't be in a hurry! There are lots of nice ones out there. Options include 4 place rear seating in sedans, metallic paint and velour seats (few US buyers opted for) as well as front seat lumbar support thing and the electric rear window sunshade (rare).

Colors I have noticed and recall (there could be more) are gloss black, pearl black, cabernet, lapis blue, nautical blue, white, cream, signal red, gold, silver, anthracite (gunmetal gray), smoke silver. 1986 cars on have basically the same equipment as up to 1991 except dual airbags came out in '89 and ASR in '91 I think ASR is not a necessary option. The largest selection, best kept, rust free examples will be found in Southern California, especially Los Angeles. The large selection there gives you a better price break too. The S class is the "staff car" down there. When you are ready don't forget to ask for Carfax report, VMI from the dealer, and get the car inspected. Fewer and fewer are showing up on MB dealers lots, don't forget they have slid out the bottom of the Kelly Blue book. Typical problem areas are the notorious Becker radio, the power window and Air conditioning. Subtract $2000 from the price if the AC doesn't work. Other than that, the cars are pretty bulletproof, but parts are a little expensive, especially the aluminum trunk and hood.

A stock 560 SEC goes 0 to 60 in 7.0 seconds. But they respond well to after market mods, like lowering and AMG exhaust. However if I were you I would look for one in stock condition with all books stamped, and records available.

First, there is no "bad" year from 1985 to 1991. You need to be aware of the differences, such as the 1984-85 (500) motor is substantially slower than the 86-91 which would have the 560 motor. If you must have the 1985 motor you may save money if you would like to buy one in the 85 year. Will be cheaper but there are reasons- lots of them. Thus, basically any 86 to 91 car will be a US model, for the gray market basically ceased to exist in 1986.

SO: the first thing you need to do is to take a realistic look at your budget. How much do you have to spend, here: The lowest end, $10-12k will get you a good 85 with high miles. On the other end, out here a 1990 SEC with 7,000 actual miles, so new it still had traces of cosmoline on the motor, went on the market here in San Jose in California for $48,000 and it sold in 3 hours to a fellow in Chicago who bought it for the asking price, he jumped on a plane and came and got it. That said, you will probably need to find out where your budget will fit. With a car like this, the general advice seems to be that you should pay at the beginning, the most-for the best-you can afford, i.e., the newest, best condition one you can possibly afford. The reason for that is that a bargain can very quickly prove to be no bargain at all if you get into extensive repairs right away. To this end, perhaps ideal would be a car in stock condition, maintained by a fussy single owner with ALL books and records. Don't forget to run a CARFAX report on the car, ($19 on the internet), ask the dealer for a Vehicle Master Inquiry on it - to show all repairs done at a dealer, under warranty, then you should call 1-800-For Mercedes and ask them to give you a copy of the original window sticker-that will also show you the dealer first delivered to. Look in the books and records and call up the people who worked on the car. If you are lucky you can get to look at the actual repair orders, sometimes they are still around.

I have told people over and over I believe the safest source to look for cars is Los Angeles because they are best kept, the market is saturated with them, the body and repair shops are generally most competent, and the weather is most agreeable for preserving them, and the prices are lowest and

the selection is widest because there are so many of them around down there. The very very best ones even still are occasionally seen at Mercedes dealers down there.

As far as problem areas there are few. When I did join the list I did ask around and read the buyers guide and this is what I know.
Problem areas are...

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