My 420SEL parts car

I’ve been thinking about buying a W126 parts car for some time.   The number of affordable parts cars is getting thin on the ground as the W126 transitions from everyday transport to classic.   I would have had better options five years ago, but there are still some decent ones out there.   I was particularly looking for an SLS equipped car as I wanted the struts and ideally a S2 V8. Given the numbers sold, this was likely to be a 420SEL parts car.

I found a car on Facebook marketplace last week and went out to see it on Saturday.   As it was a parts car, I wasn’t going to be too picky but I needed to make sure it wasn’t full of water and mostly stripped.    What I found was a very high mileage 420SEL that had developed a problem with the fuel distributor and sat for a while.   It has been slightly vandalized, but is otherwise complete.

2021-10-19 11.37.51

The car was an Australian delivered, 1987 model (1986 production) and had originally been champagne. At some point, it was painted white. I suspect it had been used as a hire car given the colour and mileage (497,000). The previous owner to me had purchased it from the country and towed it back to Sydney.  He spent a fair amount of money trying to get it going ($2500 he said). It had new fuel pumps etc, but the problem was suspected to be a bad fuel distributor.

420SEL parts car

I’m not sure the full story, but the repairs were never completed and the car was brought back half dismantled, and it sat on the nature strip out the front of this owners house for a while. I am assuming it was at that point it was slightly vandalized.  It looks like somebody tried to rip off the front grille, and things like the catalytic converter, jack, first aid kit and spare tyre were presumably stolen.

For a 420SEL parts car, the interior is not in such bad shape.   Its a testament to the build quality of the W126 that it could cover almost half a million kilometers and still be somewhat ok inside.

420SEL parts car

I want to keep things like the SLS struts, headlights, tail lights, key relays, plugs, clips etc. The rest will be sold to recoup the purchase price of the car. I already took my first part off the car, one of the indicator lenses.

420SEL parts car

I have also hooked up a battery and checked some of the electrical systems. A lot of things seem to work fine, I won’t check the windows until I can get the car inside. I wouldn’t want the windows to get stuck down and it rain.  Dismantling this car will also build my knowledge of how the W126 fits together.

In finding my 420SEL parts car, I didn’t want to wreck a car that had any reasonable chance of getting back on the road.   I’ve seen otherwise nice cars get parted out due to a bad head gasket or transmission.   This car needs pretty much everything and is not a prospect to get back on the road.

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