The Grey Market isn't someplace your grandma picks up her Schnapps-Flavored Ensure and Active Sex Life Depends, it's a mechanism for bringing non-federalized cars into the U.S.. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Mercedes 500 SEC was just such a grey, but will its current price have you seeing red?
Okay, I promise, no more weird military-themed cartoon cars for the rest of the week. But that doesn't mean we still don't have to deal with yesterday's oddball '88 Caprice turrent-top. Perhaps it was as a show of support for our fighting men and women overseas and at home, or maybe you just didn't get enough GI Joe time when you were a kid, but that olive Caprice came away with an anything but drab 58% Nice Price win. Hell, I was surprised that no one called up the seller and demanded that he drop and give them twenty.
Today's contender resides in a nebulous world, one that is very difficult to accurately define. This 1984 Mercedes Benz 500 SEC is class on ice. Massive, ostentatious, and V8-powered, it was a worthy competitor to BMW's 6-pot only E24 6 Series. Funny thing then that the Bimmer today is considered far more an object of lust than the Benz.
That's too bad because with the W126 Mercedes went back to basing their halo coupe on the S-Class sedan platform, and not just dachshunding the SL. The visual gravitas these cars emanate is still powerful today, especially the wide open B-pillarless greenhouse and traditional three-pointed star in the grille denoting a model with sporting pretensions.
This particular car, in electric teal over tan leather, is claimed to have been brought over from Germany the year following its manufacture. It was federalized by European Autohaus Inc., as noted on its doorjamb sticker, which also claims the car to be in compliance of all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety and bumper standards in effect on its date of manufacture.
That of course is bullshit as the car rocks not only bumpers tucked in like a turtle's testicles, but the massive glass brick headlamps which, back in '84, were verbotten here in the U.S.. The car is remains all the better for not having the rectangular sealed beams and awkward extended bumpers of the U.S. SEC. It does seem to have a proper MPH speedo, as well as the cool robot arm seatbelt extenders. It also appears to be in most excellent shape both inside and out, the only obvious signs of wear being a somewhat shiny driver's throne, but that's just nit-picking.
Oh, and as far as I'm concerned, the less said about the wheels the better. Nah-ah-ah, let's just leave it alone.
Underhood you'll find the 5-litre edition of Mercedes' long serving M117 V8. In '84 non-cat form it pumped out 230-bhp. Seeing as this car has not only been modded to be a stand up citizen in the U.S. but also is apparently licensable in California, one would expect it to rock the proper emissions controls that eliminate both some of its contributions to our dirty air, and a little bit of the fun in driving the car.
And fun this car should be, only at over 3,549-lbs, that fun will be in more the grand touring vein rather than that of carving up canyons. And with fewer than 75K on the clock it should be grand for touring for plenty of miles more. Of course, if the 500 is a little too sedate, there's always the 1000 SEC which is claimed to be - wait for it - twice as good.
Upon its introduction at the 1981 Frankfurt International Motor Show, the 500SEC took up the mantle of most expensive Mercedes model, coming in at a cool $56,000. That'd be over $115,000 in today's dollars when inflation is taken into account. Or, you could have this tidy 28-year old example for $6,950.
What do you say, its that a fair price for someone to improve their SECs life? Or, does that price make this a Benz for which the seller should make amends?
H/T to rollogrande for the hookup!
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