top of page

The Devil is in the Detail(ing): Black on Black 1991 560SEL w/62k Miles

It cannot be stressed enough that condition and presentation make a significant difference when listing a car for sale. With poor condition (detailing) the flaws are sometimes not obvious in the photos and, on the other hand, an excellent paint condition can be difficult to fully display in photos. Today's seller has neither of those problems...

Offered for sale on craigslist out of Glen Allen, VA for $23,995, this final year example of the venerable W126 flagship sedan has a tremendous amount going for it, but could use a few tweaks to really make it the perfect evil 80's cruiser.

Starting with the mileage, this example shows only 62k miles on the odometer. While original mileage verification on MBs of this vintage is ultimately apprised with the use of contemporaneously-dated records, the condition of this car certainly seems to support its displayed mileage at first blanche. If the seller has any form of documentation to support this that would be a very solid addition.

The recent maintenance stated by the seller is also impressive: "New AMG style wheels, new tires, entire suspension (control arms, ball joints, tie rods, bushings) refreshed with new parts, lowered on Eibach springs, Bilstein front shocks, Oil/Oil filter, brake fluid, coolant, transmission fluid/filter, oxygen sensor, Self Leveling Suspension Fluid, spark plugs/plug wires, distributor cap/rotor, all fuel injectors, motor mounts, all belts, hoses, filters. Fuel distributor properly rebuilt, both fuel pumps replaced with new Bosch." While, again, there's no indication of service records for these items the seller may indeed have them which would be a great value-add.

Cosmetic upgrades/refreshing by the seller include: "Original paint refreshed with many hours of hand and orbital machine restoration/polishing/sealing, ceramic window tint installed, interior thoroughly shampooed and leather conditioned, Euro-style headlamps installed, OEM Euro front and rear bumpers installed, side cladding painted to match bumpers/body. Upgraded stereo with Continental Head Unit."

While the paint condition on this car is phenomenal and the addition of the euro bumpers, cladding and lenses are perfect on this car, we'd prefer if the seller had invested in some real period-correct wheels as opposed to these "AMG-style" knockoffs. Of course, these replicas are much cheaper than the originals but when the seller is asking mid-$20s for the car, investing in the proper set of multi-piece OZ or AMG Penta wheels would likely pay dividends.

Additionally, sourcing an OEM Becker Grand Prix (with a bluetooth module from Becker USA) would give this car both the look of the original and the modern convenience for bluetooth streaming. However, the "upgraded" continental head unit provides these features in a somewhat period look which gets the job done. Finally, the clear corner lenses up front scream out to be changed to Euro Ambers; especially when paired with all the other euro-spec additions the seller has already put on the car.

With a clean Carfax, original paint and "all options working" as intended, this car really looks primed to be perfect with a couple of the aforementioned changes. The asking price is very strong but, for the right buyer, this car might make the grade.


bottom of page