1987 Mercedes 560SEC

About the SEC

The 560SEC sat at the top of the Mercedes-Benz range in 1987.    In Australia, that equated to a dealer price of over $215,000 before taxes and other costs.   This was more than double the median house price in Sydney/Melbourne.    Consequently few were sold in Australia, although their exclusivity means survival rates are quite good.

The SEC was launched in 1982, ostensibly replacing the W107 SLC range.   In reality, the SLC is based on the SL and the SEC is based on the W126 S-Class.   It’s more the spiritual successor of the W111 Coupe.   The original range consisted of the 380SEC and 500SEC.   Mercedes Benz Australia in their wisdom at the time decided to comply the 380SEC with local regulations and not the 500SEC.   This resulted in a large number of private imports from countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, UK and so on.

The W126 was face-lifted in 1986.   As part of the face lift, the 380SEC was replaced by the 420SEC, the 500SEC was improved and the new range topper, the 560SEC was added.    Australian delivery models were subject to local regulations, which meant detuned engines (both for Australia’s poor fuel and pollution regulations).

The W126 SEC is generally regarded as one of Bruno Sacco’s greatest creations.   It is a big comfortable cruiser for four people and is extremely elegant for such a large car.    It was packed with the latest technology of the day including options for airbags, ABS brakes, traction control, heated seats and so on.

About this car

This car is a 1987 Mercedes 560SEC ECE.   It was sold new in the United Kingdom.   This means it has the 220KW engine, vs the 182KW version offered in Australia.   This is shown up as option 822 below.  Option 822 included 10:1 compression, different cams, exhaust system and a tune for higher octane petrol.

Apparently this car has had only two owners since new.    It was imported from the UK into Queensland in 2005.   While in the UK it wore the registration B1 SWS, which I guess was a personalized plate.   Later in Queensland it was registered under 737 VHB.   The last owner was in Esk, Qld.   Esk is in the outskirts of Brisbane.

As you would expect with a car sold in a cold climate, it is equipped with heated seats.   The heated seats work well.   The car also has orthopeadic seats.   These are for people with a bad back and allow fine control seat comfort via a series of air bladders in the seat back.   This feature is still fitted but no longer works.  I presume there is a leak in the air bladders or lines, as they controls no longer work.

Option CodeMeaning
238City Drive light for Great Britain
251Becker Radio Mexico Cassette, Full Stereo, Electronic
286Luggage Nets on Driver Rests L & R
341Additional Blinker Lamps
362RHD Vehicles as per EC Regulations
406Single Seat with Orthapedic front seat backrest, Left and Right
430Headrest in the Rear, Left and Right
461Instruments with miles indicated and English legend
524Paintwork Preservation
581Automatic Climate Control
601Oil for rear axle with limited slip
613Headlamp Left-Hand Traffic
822Output Increase for 560SEL/SEC
873Heated Seats for Left and Right Front Seats

I’ve now owned three of these cars over the years, the most of any Mercedes Benz Models.   This includes this one, a 1987 Mercedes 560SEC ECE as well as 1988 and 1989 models.   The 1989 model was quite rough but the 1988 was a lovely car.

What’s Next?

Over time, as well as maintenance on this car I would like to do a few upgrades:

  1. Fix the rust under the rear window
  2. Replace the wheels with 16″ AMG monoblocks in the right offset.
  3. Try some A/C upgrades such as an uprated condenser.
  4. Replace the exhaust system with a stainless one and remove the current exhaust tip
  5. Replace the arm rest leather
  6. Remove aftermarket chrome wheel arch trim.   Sadly this has been glued on so it could only be removed with bodywork to fix the paint underneath.

Related Posts:

  1. November 2018 - 560SEC lap of Mount Panorama
  2. November 2018 - 560SEC Improvements
  3. November 2018 - 560SEC Improvements Part 2
  4. November 2018 - Road trip to MB Spares and Service
  5. November 2018 - New alloy wheels for the 560SEC
  6. November 2018 - 560SEC Major Checks
  7. December 2018 - 560SEC Upcoming Projects
  8. January 2019 - 560SEC fuel leak
  9. February 2019 - 560SEC Timing chain and valve stem seals
  10. March 2019 - The 560SEC has stopped smoking
  11. May 2019 - W126 Bonnet insulation
  12. September 2019 - Mercedes self-leveling rear suspension flush
  13. September 2019 - M117 lower oil pan replacement
  14. October 2019 - NSW Historic Plate Adapter
  15. October 2019 - MBCNSW Dyno Day
  16. November 2019 - KE Jetronic EHA Adjustment
  17. November 2019 - 560SEC Climate Control repairs part 1
  18. February 2020 - W126 SEC auxiliary fan replacement
  19. May 2020 - Repainting the W126 cladding
  20. May 2020 - W126 Antenna grommet
  21. June 2020 - 560SEC stone chip touch up
  22. September 2020 - W126 Monovalve eliminator - part 1
  23. September 2020 - W126 Monovalve eliminator – part 2
  24. September 2020 - W126 radiator removal
  25. September 2020 - W126 low pressure hydraulic hoses
  26. September 2020 - W126 Monovalve eliminator – part 3
  27. September 2020 - Cleaning W126 cowl drains
  28. October 2020 - Replacing W126 cowl covers
  29. October 2020 - Installing a W126 radiator
  30. October 2020 - W126 Monovalve eliminator – part 4
  31. March 2021 - M117 fan controller prototype
  32. April 2021 - Cocomats for the 560SEC
  33. April 2021 - 560SEC outside temperature display
  34. June 2021 - 560SEC performance exhaust
  35. September 2021 - 16" AMG Aero I wheels for my 560SEC
  36. November 2021 - Fitting the AMG Aero I wheels to my 560SEC
  37. June 2022 - Rebuilt Mercedes brake calipers
  38. July 2022 - Planning Becker radio installs
  39. August 2022 - Connecting the Becker Line out module to a modern amplifier
  40. September 2022 - Uprated W126 A/C condenser
  41. September 2022 - Locating the W126 X30 power block on RHD cars
  42. September 2022 - W126 Becker Radio install - part 1
  43. September 2022 - W126 Becker Radio install – part 2
  44. September 2022 - W126 Becker Radio install – part 3
  45. October 2022 - W126 guide rod mount bushes
  46. October 2022 - W126 Becker Radio install – part 4
  47. December 2022 - W126 Self Leveling rear suspension low ride height
  48. September 2023 - 560SEC 722.3 transmission rebuilt
  49. November 2023 - Mercedes W126 self-levelling rear suspension flush
  50. November 2023 - W126 front speakers
  51. November 2023 - W126 drag link and alignment
  52. November 2023 - W126 rear speakers
  53. March 2024 - 560SEC battery tray