2400 mile road trip in an eBay 560SEC – Part 3

This is the third and final part of a series on my mad cross country dash in an eBay 560SEC.   Part 1 covers the purchase and initial impressions of the car.   Part 2 covers the drive from California to Missouri.    I picked up my drive in Central Missouri and had about 750 miles to cover on the final day.   On the first two days I had great weather but it started to deteriorate and I had on and off rain for the rest of the trip.   The 560SEC handled it with aplomb but it made the driving more tiring and progress slower.

eBay 560SEC

I didn’t have any time to do sightseeing on this trip, but I did spot the Gateway Arch as I drove through St Louis.    My wit and grimy photo is probably not one you would see on any of the postcards!


From St. Louis my route took me through the outskirts of Chicago.  The roads here are pretty bad, with low posted speed limits.   For the most part everyone still drives at 85mph even though the posted limits fall as low as 55.   I’ve done the drive between Chicago and Detroit many times, but this was probably the least pleasant.    The weather was getting worse and I was getting a bit sick of the drive by then.


By the time I hit Michigan it was already dark.  The sign announcing Michigan had never been a more welcome sight!   Driving in bad weather at night really showed up the limitations of the sealed beam headlights these cars were saddled with.   I actually stopped and checked my headlights were working as the light output was that bad.   It is really the only criticism I had of the car, and not really its fault as the headlights on models for the rest of the world are more than adequate.

A couple of hours later (about 10-11PM) I finally arrived at my house in Royal Oak, Michigan.   This over 20 year old eBay 560SEC had just done a major cross country drive without any hiccups.  Not bad for a car I purchased for less than $4,000.  My radar detector ensured I didn’t end up with any speeding tickets and my GPS kept me on the right course.    Actually I probably could have done the trip without it as the Interstate Highway system in the USA is extremely well signposted and easy to navigate.     There was not long left on the California plates, so the next day I transferred the car onto Michigan plates.

Two Mercedes Coupes

My next task was to remove all the gold badging and the horrible wheels.   Even with all that ‘bling’ the car still looked good next to my 250SE coupe.    I would later go on to put about 18,000 miles (~29,000km) on the car before I sold it in 2011.   The only major repairs it required were the timing chain and a new A/C compressor.    I was in a hurry to sell the car when I left Michigan so I practically gave it away for only $2800.  I hope the owner has looked after the car.

Years later I look back at this as a great experience I had while living in the USA.   It was a shame I could not stretch the drive out for a couple more days to see more.   The USA is such an easy country to drive long distances in.   I’ve now had 5 second generation W126s, all because of the great experience I had owning this car.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>