1986 Mercedes 300SE

About the 300SE

The 300SE is an S-Class of the W126 range (1980-1991), a car that many enthusiasts regard as the last of the classic ‘over engineered’ Mercedes.   Being a 1986 model, it is the first year of the updated Series 2 model, which featured improved engines.   It does not have the interior upgrade, as that did not happen until 1988.     The 300SE was the entry level S class in most markets (including Australia), with the 260SE mostly focused on markets with punitive taxes for engines over 2.8l.     For more information about the W126 in Australia, see this post.

About this car


I owned this car from January 2017 to January 2023.  I bought it to be my everyday driver.   The 450SLC has in some ways filled this role since I purchased it in 2003, but for nearly all of that time I used public transport for commuting (or had an underground parking garage).   Circumstances changed and I needed a car that could fit 3 child seats across the back.    W126’s are still very reasonably priced and fit these requirements.

This 300SE is an entry level model, without many options.   This is perfect for my needs for driving the kids around.    Upholstery is MB-TEX, and there is no sunroof orpower seats to go wrong.    It does have automatic climate control, but this is how they were all ordered by Mercedes Australia unfortunately.   And being a 1986 it can be registered as a classic car, which I would do about four years into my ownership.

The car was purchased from the next suburb to mine and came out of long term ownership.   The Signal red paintwork is a nice change from the mostly champagne or white W126’s that are seen around.   I have since removed the chrome wheel arch trims that were installed on the car at purchase.   I put about 16,000km on the car over my six years of ownership.

Option codes

Option CodeMeaning
233Foglamp wiring for F/CH/AUS/S/N
240Outside temperature indicator
259Becker Radio Grand Prix Cassette Stereo Electronic
286Luggage nets on front seat backrests
420Automatic Transmission (Floor Shift)
430Headrests in the rear
440Tempomat (Cruise Control)
470Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS)
480Self Leveling Suspension
507Outside rear view mirror left and right heated (Electric adjustment Left)
531Automatic Antenna
543Sun Visors with vanity mirrors, illuminated
551Anti-Theft / Break in warning system
574570: Folding arm rest
571: Front seat left, with height adjustment RHD
588581: Automatic climate control
584: Electric window lifters, front and rear
599Heat Insulated glass, side and rear window panes, windshield clear
615611: Courtesy lamps, front and rear doors
613: Lamp unit, Asymmetrical, LH Traffic
625Version for Australia
677Tropical battery
731Wood trim, burred walnut root
806Model year 1986
812Rear-mounted loudspeakers
877Reading lamp in the rear


Related posts

  1. January 2017 - My new 1986 300SE W126
  2. January 2017 - 300SE servicing
  3. January 2017 - The 300SE strikes back
  4. January 2017 - W126 Odometer Repair
  5. March 2017 - Troubleshooting W126 Climate Control
  6. April 2017 - W126 Ignition tumbler replacement
  7. April 2017 - 300SE stumble at idle
  8. May 2017 - Further 300SE A/C Troubleshooting
  9. August 2017 - 300SE head gasket - worth fixing?
  10. October 2017 - 300SE poor hot starts
  11. October 2017 - W126 Climate control woes
  12. October 2017 - Finally, a working blower motor
  13. November 2017 - W126 A/C almost blowing cold
  14. December 2017 - 300SE Double relay change
  15. June 2018 - W126 Transmission Mount
  16. September 2018 - 300SE Odometer Repair Update
  17. June 2019 - End of financial year tyre sales
  18. August 2019 - W126 Sedan Bonnet Insulation
  19. September 2019 - Mercedes self-leveling rear suspension flush
  20. December 2019 - Youtube tips - shifter bushing and rounded bolts
  21. December 2019 - M103 Distributor cap and rotor
  22. March 2020 - W126 A/C no longer cooling
  23. April 2020 - W126 Klima Relay
  24. November 2020 - 300SE low oil pressure gauge
  25. December 2020 - M103 Oil pressure sender
  26. December 2020 - Testing M103 Oil pressure with a mechanical oil pressure gauge
  27. January 2021 - More M103 low oil pressure troubleshooting
  28. February 2021 - M103 Oil Pump catastrophic failure
  29. March 2021 - W126 Radio and USB sockets
  30. March 2021 - W126 Outside temperature LCD screen repair attempt 1
  31. April 2021 - 300SE cowl drains
  32. April 2021 - Bad W126 window regulator
  33. April 2021 - W126 Outside temperature LCD screen repair
  34. June 2021 - W126 front window regulator
  35. June 2021 - W126 Self-leveling suspension adjustment
  36. July 2021 - 300SE fuel pump replacement
  37. July 2021 - W126 brake hose replacement
  38. July 2021 - Bleeding W126 brakes with a Motive Power Bleeder
  39. January 2023 - For Sale: 1986 300SE W126
  40. January 2023 - Farewell 300SE