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MY CLASSIC
    560SEC

    Comfort
    and joy
    A 126-series SEC had been on his
    wish list for many years, but it had
    to be a good one – and with cream
    leather. Richard Mason tells us how
    he searched for and then rebuilt
    what he regards as the best car
    Mercedes-Benz ever designed

    IMAGES Derek Goard

    A while ago Classic Mercedes ran my letter                             “THERE ARE FEW SECs
60  empathising with the editor, David                                             ON THE MARKET
    Sutherland, on the sale of his green E320
                                                                             COMPARED TO, SAY,
    Coupe and his subsequent pangs of grief,                                    THE R107 SL, SO A

    which ultimately led to its replacement with

    a beauty in Almandine Red. This inspired                               UK-WIDE SEARCH WAS
                                                                              NECESSARY,AS WAS
    me to do the same, having sold my 300CE some years ago.
       Time drifted by, 124 coupes were viewed, but nothing

    came of it. Like David, I was also a long time admirer of the

    126-series SEC. It began in 1984 when a friend let me drive            CONSIDERATION OF
    one with an AMG conversion. It was awesome, but the same                              500SECs”
    year it was hit by a rubbish truck near Hampstead in

    London and, sadly, written off.

       Now that I am retired, I vowed to finally buy one, but it           BELOW                                              RIGHT
    had to have cream leather! With an eye to future value, I              It might be a coupe but  Classic 80s Benz dash:
    decided it should be the top model, the 5.5-litre 560SEC.              the rear seat offers     simple, clear and good
                                                                           luxury for two people.
                                                                                                       looking instruments.

    What an adventure it has been, not to mention a test of

    my faith in human nature. All those cars described as

    ‘exceptional’, or ‘no faults’, which on inspection were

    anything but. Or seeing the same car twice at different

    times, but in fresh hands at double the price in the space

    of just a few weeks.

    There are few SECs on the market compared to, say, the

    R107 SL roadster, so a UK-wide search was necessary, as was

    consideration of 500SECs. A 500SEC came up at auction in

    Perth, Scotland, and being Almandine with a cream interior

    it looked great. But photos can be so deceptive. The helpful

    auctioneer suggested I get a local classic car specialist to

    look at the car before I made the trek up from London, and

    even at £180 it was money well spent. The report that came

    back basically said, “Avoid at all cost!”.

    Ivisited a few dealers and drove whatever SECs they had to
        gain perspective. In one instance, speeding along a dual
        carriageway in a howling gale, it felt like I was losing control.
    To say the steering was sloppy was an understatement, and

    www.classicmercedesmagazine.com
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