At $5,500, Is This 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC A Big Coupe With Even Bigger Potential?

Illustration for article titled At $5,500, Is This 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC A Big Coupe With Even Bigger Potential?
Photo: Craigslist

With its arrest-me-red paint and wide whitewall tires, today’s Nice Price or No Dice Mercedes 560SEC certainly stands out. Also extremely noticeable is the peeling clearcoat layer over generally flat appearing paint. Let’s find out if its price tag is just as noteworthy.

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Do you like to feel validated? I think we all do from time to time. That seems to have been the case yesterday, at least for the 75 percent of you who voted a Nice Price win for our candidate 1997 Ford Ranger and its $3,800 price. The validation was evident in the seller pulling the ad halfway through our collective morning coffee, implying a quick sale.

We like things that are quick around here, and that typically means things with honkin’ big engines. Now, you might not consider five-and-a-half liters to be a big displacement, but when it’s attached to a coupe of such gloriously ample proportions as today’s 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC, I think accommodations can be made.

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Photo: Craigslist

Mercedes introduced the big C126 coupes in 1981, two years after the W126 four-door model’s debut. Alongside the R107, a model already long in the tooth, the cars served as the pinnacle of Mercedes’ Sonderklasse lineup.

Being large and in-charge often requires unique solutions to size-related issues. In the case of the C126, one of the cool features was a mechanical butler in the rear window sill that would hand you the seat belt once you got in. That was necessitated by the long doors and pillarless greenhouse.

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Photo: Craigslist
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The seller of this 560SEC doesn’t say in the ad whether or not those butlers are still on the job. The motors that make them do their thing are a known failure point on these cars.

One thing we can tell has failed on this car is the clearcoat topping its extrovert-special red paint. That is gone in more places than it remains and will require either a full removal and respray or a new owner with the chutzpah to ignore the car’s aesthetics. That’s not that out of line. I mean, it’s not like failing clearcoat is ever going to leave you stranded by the side of the road.

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Photo: Craigslist

The car under that accidental topographical map of Mars looks to be in pretty solid shape nonetheless. All of the brightwork appears present and accounted for, as does the gray plastic cladding that visually ties the car together despite its vast length. There is some rust bubbling up beneath the rear window, but that doesn’t seem to have gone full leper colony yet.

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The seller has made the unfortunate choice of taking pictures of it with the doors and hood ajar, which makes it look unnecessarily untidy. One would have to assume that they all fully close without issue. There are 166,000 miles on the car, and most of those were put on by the original owner. Somewhat perplexingly, the seller claims to have added only 40 to that total.

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Photo: Craigslist
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Some extremely white-walled tires have been inflicted on the car, mounted on chrome-plated factory alloys. Depending on how you fall on such things, those will either come across as fancy or give the car the unfortunate appearance of a vehicular clown.

Moving inside, we find that the cabin has some issues. The wood panel on the center console is lifted in the back and cracked along the sides. That may indicate an issue with the window or mirror switches that live there. In the back, the cubby console is missing its forward cover, and there’s a weird black box wired in front of it that just sits there on the somewhat grimy carpet, taunting you to guess exactly what it does.

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Photo: Craigslist

As I noted at the outset, the 560 is powered by a pretty big engine. That’s Mercedes’ M117 V8 in 5547cc displacement. In this model year it was good for 275 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque, both reasonable enough numbers for their day. A four-speed automatic backs that up.

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The engine compartment photo shows a complete engine bay with no apparent malarkey going on. The issue at hand is that the seller gives no nod to how the car runs, or whether it does so at all. What the ad does say of the car is that it is a “darling car with a little tender loving care this will be the one people will talk about at all car shows it is a classic, it is a rare model.”

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Photo: Craigslist
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OK, so at the least it needs some TLC. That’s not that big a deal. Most of that could just be the obvious aesthetic issues and whatever was the cause of opening up the center console. The seller’s claim to be building a house, leaving no free time, is the reason the car is for sale.

That sale demands $5,500 and gets you a clear title along with the big Benz. What do you think, is this 560SEC worth that, at least based on how it’s been presented in the ad? Or, does this car need both a better ad and a lower price?

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You decide!

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Eugene, Oregon, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Bill D. for the hookup! 

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.

DISCUSSION

365daytonafan01
365Daytonafan

Same car on Hemmings for a lot more money. I like the SEC but would rather spend more on a better one than try and sort this one out. ND

 https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/cars-for-sale/mercedes-benz/560sec/2413096.html

Edit realised the tags are different but still looks like the same car in the same location, or the vendor has put white walls on two of them?