Steering the brand’s styling department from 1975 to 1999, the Italian was responsible for many timeless designs that gave the brand a coherent visual identity, including the W201 190, W124 E-Class, W126 S-Class and R129 SL convertible, to name but a few.
The W126, which was built between 1979 and 1991, happens to be my favorite S-Class generation, so coming across this stunning 280 SE that’s up for sale by Mercedes itself, I had to give it a closer look.
Coming from a time when model designations actually meant something, this 1982 280 SE is powered by a 2.8-liter straight-six making 185 PS (182 hp). Mated to a four-speed manual transmission (yes, you could have a stick shift in the W126 S-Class), the six-cylinder provided respectable performance for the time, with a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 10 seconds and a top speed of 210 km/h (130 mph).
This particular example features a Silver Distel Metallic exterior paint and a Leder Siena leather interior, as well as many amenities including heated seats, air conditioning, power sunroof, self-leveling suspension, central locking system, and more.
Here comes the best part: it only covered 36,000 kilometers (22,369 miles) from new, having spent all its life on the sunny island of Madeira, Portugal. Therefore, rust is a foreign concept for this S-Class that looks as if it has just left the showroom.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum, where the car is currently located, certifies the mileage with past invoices as well as thorough inspections and servicing undertaken by its workshop. To keep it in tip-top shape, the shop carried out many additional work and repairs, including replacing the rear silencer and the motors on the front power windows, plus maintenance of the air conditioning system.
The vehicle comes with a complete on-board folder containing the service record, owner’s manual, full tool kit, the original invoice from 1982, and other documents proving its history. There’s only one “problem” with this 280 SE: its €47,890 asking price, which equates to $52,700 at current exchange rates.
The price includes a final technical check with a new main inspection and exhaust emissions test, as well as a 12-month warranty. Look at it this way: given the low mileage and reliability record of the W126 S-Class, this is a car your children, and probably even grandchildren, will get to enjoy as well.