Guest Article: MrFrotop buys a coupe

The club guys were right about the bug. You know, the one you catch after buying your first classic Mercedes. It’s not that the W108 3.5 wasn’t enough, but after a couple of years you feel an irrational (yet somewhat justified) urge to have a Mercedes for every occasion. Rescuing all of these beautifully engineered machines from an untimely demise is a noble cause, some might argue. The passion was certainly there but in the end, you need a number of factors to align: funds, garage space and spousal approval. I had only one of those, the rest will have […]

560SEL Stainless steel exhaust system

I hadn’t planned on doing anything to the 560SEL’s exhaust system. However, when I was checking on the possibility of reinstating the self leveling suspension I noticed that the current system was rubbing quite badly on the drive shaft. In addition, it did not fit well and the hangers could not align. It was being held up with wire in places. I have now replaced it with a new 560SEL stainless steel exhaust.

The diagram below shows the factory system. While the Australian version of the 560 is quite similar to the USA version in many ways, it uses the […]

560SEL further maintenance

Before I begin regular usage of the 560SEL there is further maintenance required. Per a receipt I have, a new timing chain and tensioner was fitted around 20,000km ago. This is obviously a good thing, but it was a shame that while this was done, the M117 timing chain guides were not replaced.

The guides (and ideally the sprockets) should always be replaced at the same time as the chain. It is actually the guides that are the cause of most of the problems in the M116 and M117 engines. A stretched chain just exacerbates the problem.

In the picture […]

Repainting the W126 cladding

The W126 was the first Mercedes to feature plastic cladding. I’m not sure this is the best feature of the W126, but it started a trend that would continue for many years. The W126 cladding is attached to the car with a series of clips and consists of eight peices (four on each side) along the line of the bumper bars. The cladding is not the same colour on each car. Before 10/88 it was a contrasting grey, and after 10/88 it was generally a darker shade of the body colour.

This page (in German) provides all the colour codes, […]

Planning to reinstate the W126 Self-leveling suspension

After driving the 560SEL more I have decided to reinstate the W126 self-leveling suspension. I am probably one of a very small group of people who is putting this system back after it is removed. A 560SEL should drive really nicely, but the current springs and shocks make the ride like an unladen ute over rough surfaces. As a contrast my 560SEC has an excellent ride.

The current system was put in by Pedders, a local suspension chain. On speaking to a few people, I have discovered that the spring/shocks they put in are not really suited to the car […]

Which is the slowest W126?

Many people are interested in which cars are the fastest, but perhaps a more interesting question is which is the slowest W126? There were a plethora of W126 models offered from 1979-1991 and not all of them were particularly fast.

For the purposes of this test, I have assembled some contenders, based on data from www.automobile-catalog.com. This comparison assumes the cars are in as-new condition. Obviously a car with low compression and a bad transmission is going to be slower.

Here are the contenders:

280SEL for the Swiss market

The Swiss market had very similar emissions laws to Australia, Japan […]

Mercedes W126 buyers guide

I’m a big fan of the Mercedes-Benz W126. While it might not have the grandeur of the 60’s models, they make a really usable classic. The W126 can even be used as a daily driver. It still has the feel of a classic Mercedes-Benz but you get safety features like ABS, good air conditioning and reasonable fuel economy. When they are looked after they are a a very reliable car that is a delight to drive. I’ve now owned five of them over the years, mostly as daily drivers. Prices are still very reasonable. There are a few other W126 […]

Mercedes-Benz Australia price list – July 1991

In 2020 it is easy to forget just how expensive Mercedes-Benz vehicles were in Australia before the increased competition from brands such as Lexus, Audi and the like. Additionally, Luxury car taxes were much higher in those days. In real terms, the cars were significantly more expensive.

Below is a Mercedes-Benz Australia price list from July 1991. There are a couple of interesting things that can be seen from this list. Firstly, the 190E 1.8 which is still quite expensive. It was replaced by the Australia only 180E that slotted in below a luxury car tax threshold making it an […]

560SEL further evaluation

After owning the 560SEL for a couple of weeks I’ve had a chance to spent a bit more time looking over the car. I’ve also had a few more opportunities to drive the car – covering about 150 km over the time. This is a lot less than I would normally want to do, but with COVID19 lockdowns, I can only drive the car for specific purposes such as driving to the shops to buy food.

First thing to do was to put the car up on the hoist and have a look underneath. The car was ordered with a […]

My new 1987 560SEL

I am now the second owner of a 1987 560SEL. I wasn’t looking for a new car, but I could not pass by the chance to get my hands on a one owner 560SEL. Unfortunately, as much as I like my 1986 300SE, that car will be for sale after things get back to normal. The 300SE will be a good car for somebody as I have spent a lot of time and money getting it right.

The 560SEL was purchased new by a Sydney business owner and was first registered in September of 1987. While it was primarily a […]