Community => Auto Torque => Topic started by: adamb on 01 March 2020, 12:40 PM

Title: W126 deliberations
Post by: adamb on 01 March 2020, 12:40 PM
I was looking at this 1981 380SE today. Very tempted but perhaps you guys can talk me out of it.

One owner car for soon to be 40 years being sold by the owner. Sparingly used with 55K with fsh for when the car was on the road. Lovely condition overall with an unfaded interior. Always garaged, which is believable. Local car to where it’s being sold. The paint is original apart from a bit of touch up on wheel arches though can’t tell. Manual seats (rare), sunroof, elec windows, no aircon, ABS.
I did a thorough inspection. The negatives are as follows. Most due to lack of use I’d say:

- a little rust on the bottom of front doors and the horns are a little rusty. No rust underneath, the sunroof, parcel shelf, etc.
- leak from the diff and rocker covers. Potential leak from power steering though could be from rocker covers as hard to tell.
- Interior slightly damaged by installation of security alarm. Screws in lower front fabric covers where there shouldn’t be any.
- Some fraying around B-pillar cover. Clearly reinstalled badly.
- Driver’s seat slightly worn and springs collapsed on right front edge (common). No tears. Other seats are perfect.
- Car not driven properly for 15 years and will need all fluids and filters changed. Brakes might reveal problems once it goes for a long journey
- Slight blow on the 1 exhaust connection on left side. Exhaust original Mercedes and overall okay condition.
- Minor blemishes on paint and bumpers. Chrome is good all round.

What’s your view on this? Is it worth it? About 5K GBP required to make perfect and it can be made perfect I think. This is an example that could be concourse entry if the above were addressed well.

I've got no pics or pic links. The exterior is Thistle Green and interior is orangey cloth velour. This is in the UK so it's a European 3818cc motor with full power.
Title: Re: W126 deliberations
Post by: ptashek on 01 March 2020, 01:54 PM
What's the MOT history like? Service records add up with mileage?  55k in 40 years... This should be a criminal offence! ;)
The core question - how much is the owner asking for it?

Sounds like a "Note 3" car, which Classic Data place at ~9900EUR.
Note 2 cars are valued at ~16200EUR.

I'd say if you can get it for under 9k EUR / 8k GBP, you might just about break even after it's fixed up (provided costs don't escalate... as they always do :)).
Or buy it, use it, enjoy it, let it stretch its legs finally and forget the oh-so-pointless concourse :)
Title: Re: W126 deliberations
Post by: adamb on 01 March 2020, 02:41 PM
Yes all service books and MOT certificates tally up. This is a genuine seller with one of those amazing true stories - had the same car for 39 years mostly for pleasure use. Local man. Ran a business nearby. Now retired and the car has not been used except for grandkids' weddings. The condition is consistent with that.

There is no rust on the car except what I mentioned. An amazing thing in the UK as I'm sure you know.

He's asking for 8K GBP. I don't think it's an economic proposition but an emotional one for sure... Hence my dilemma.
Title: Re: W126 deliberations
Post by: ptashek on 01 March 2020, 03:12 PM
Well if asking is 8k, that's a good place to start negotiating.
Title: Re: W126 deliberations
Post by: floyd111 on 01 March 2020, 03:22 PM
From where I am sitting, it all sounds very different! I know Ptashek's NOTE's are real, but I have never been able to wrap my head around (almost) any W126 fetching more than 5 thou.
I see them in Germany very regularly for 7-15 thou and I just don't understand. I kind of considered the german MOT being so severe, that the rules must match the Pebble Beach standards. How else can any car, built by the zillions, available everywhere at this "meat-nor-fish" age fetch these prices in germany, where in other countries (like Taiwan) you can't even give away a rust-free W126. In know that the salt-spray in the winters is a massive factor that you have and we do not have here, is a big metal killer. Is that the big "selector"? Wouldn't there be cheapish  W126's in France, Spain, Greece or Italy that never saw any salt, and still cost the same as a w126 1-3 thou?
Title: Re: W126 deliberations
Post by: rumb on 01 March 2020, 03:40 PM
Look for rust on frame just behind front wheels. also bottom of lower rear control arms is a usual place.  The ends of the front sway bar where it bolts to the upper control arms can also rust inside the rubber grommets. - there is a weld on tip if this is needed.  There might me a thing about the cam oiler tubes plastic spray tips - I dont remember for sure, but easy to look up.  The mono valves on these things go bad at some point. Only use MB replacement if needed. Symptom is no heat above 3-4K rpms.

W126 is a very solid car. Mine just hit 250K miles.

Title: Re: W126 deliberations
Post by: daantjie on 01 March 2020, 06:26 PM
Personally if I were to ever get a 126 it will be the 2nd Gen ones with the full HPF with "active suspension" - type function.  Throw in the "822" engine option for all the horses, tri-y's and all that and now we're talking ;)  Unfortunately they are super rare to find here in North America, but in Europe you should be able to track one down, albeit at a significant premium over the "lesser" 126's I would think.
Title: Re: W126 deliberations
Post by: Randys01 on 02 March 2020, 01:26 AM
Sounds like a nice car "to ride around in".
Title: Re: W126 deliberations
Post by: TJ 450 on 02 March 2020, 01:51 AM
Sounds like a good solid car but I wouldn't think it would be a good investment in terms of return.

I would buy it, get it up to scratch and enjoy it as they are great cars to drive and being a gen 1 they don't have some of the issues that the later ones tend to have.

The usual timing chain service would be required too.

Title: Re: W126 deliberations
Post by: nathan on 02 March 2020, 03:03 AM
sounds like has some great traits Adam, but almost the least desirable 126 of all (you could argue the 280 is more economical).
if you like it, buy it, but only if you have room to store it and use it infrequently.
I once sold a mint low km 280se for a neighbour who asked for help. took bloody ages to get rid of this thing, gen 1 126s get no love (although this could change in 10 years!)
good luck and post some pics if you move forward. 
Title: Re: W126 deliberations
Post by: adamb on 02 March 2020, 01:04 PM
Well, that was painful. I decided not to get the car. I really want it but for now the head rules the heart.
Title: Re: W126 deliberations
Post by: UTn_boy on 05 March 2020, 01:26 AM
I know the party is somewhat over on this thread, but I have to take sides with Stan's point of view.  It seems Europe is about the only place in the world that tries to value a W126 triple to quadruple more that what the rest of the world feels they're worth.....and even I can't figure that out.  I, too, realize that a lot of the European models met a rusty death, but there are also far too many still in existence that aren't rusty or are not too rusty.  Two weeks ago my Father wrecked his W126 300sel. It spun around on a wet interstate and slammed into a concrete barrier wall.  The whole rear of the car caved in.  Obviously, it wasn't worth repairing.  Two days later I inadvertently found a 420sel local to me for sale.  Decent paint, really nice leather interior, no rust anywhere to be found.  It even still has working air conditioning with the original R-12 still being used. The only thing I found not to be working was the tempomat.  It has 101,000 miles on it, and I was able to buy it for $500.  Though, it's color combination is probably the least attractive to most people, so that's probably partly why the inexpensive price.  It's smoke silver metallic with Brazil leather......the equivalent of vomit tan metallic paint with poop brown interior.  The 300sel that he wrecked was literally given to me, and he drove it as a daily driver for 8 years.  So again, I don't understand the high prices exhibited in Europe.  Granted, I'm excluding low mileage pristine examples.  Those will always bring more regardless of the car's domicile.  I'm more referring to average used examples that run and drive well that need very little work or none at all.  I guess the value is in the eye of the beholder.  Maybe 20 years from now they'll be more unusual to come across, but right now there are far too many still in existence to merit such debauchery in pricing. 
Title: Re: W126 deliberations
Post by: adamb on 05 March 2020, 02:19 AM
W126s are disappearing and people go "Awww" when they see a nice one these days. Especially in non-boring colour combinations. In the UK the choice of RHD vehicles is also limited. So things like middle aged Ferraris cost 25% more when RHD. The same is true of W126s.

Not many 380SEs left out there. The DVLA data shows that there are just 15 left on UK roads.

Title: Re: W126 deliberations
Post by: rumb on 05 March 2020, 05:26 AM
Fwiw, I have noticed an increase in compliments when driving my 300se. Our town has about a dozen w126 that I see around. I've only seen one w116, but see r107, no w108,s. There is a handful of old diesels.
Locally I see bargain w126 but BAT seems to have higher priced sell there.
Title: Re: W126 deliberations
Post by: daantjie on 05 March 2020, 10:15 AM
I see a 126 almost daily, mostly a beat to hell 300SD though, usually some young kid driving the thing into the ground.

I almost never see a 116, again mostly very tired SD's.  107 every now and then and they tend to be in nicer shape as they were mostly fair weather cruisers anyway.
Title: Re: W126 deliberations
Post by: UTn_boy on 05 March 2020, 04:36 PM
Bring a trailer has definitely skewed values causing would be deserving owners to not have a chance at getting any nice example for a fair price.  These asinine prices we see on BAT are the beginning of the W126 cars pricing themselves out of existence.  I hate seeing this happen. 
Title: Re: W126 deliberations
Post by: floyd111 on 07 March 2020, 07:33 AM
Rear spoiler Zender for W126.. just bumped into it.
Title: Re: W126 deliberations
Post by: alabbasi on 07 March 2020, 05:46 PM
I've owned several 6.9's and several W126 models. Either 560SEL's or 560SEC's. They're really nice cars that are built from very fine materials. A US 380 won't get out of its way but a Euro spec 380 would be a fine car. I knew a body shop owner in London that had one when i was a kid and it had very good power that would push you back into the seat. 

If you like it , go for it. But if you find a late mode 560SEL, you won't be disappointed either. From a fuel mileage perspective, I don't think that you'd see much difference around London.