16 September 2018

More than an old car #80: Mercedes W126 380 SEC

Mercedes has always remained a perennial favourite among classic car lovers, and even in Singapore it is by far the most-represented among the old cars here. 2-door Mercs are somewhat less common, but some are more rare than others...how many of you have seen this 1983 Mercedes W126 380 SEC?

The W126 was borne from Mercedes' project to develop cars with better handling, an improved ride and better fuel efficiency. Its body design was supposed to be more aerodynamic and subsequent testing showed that it could save up to 10% fuel compared to its predecessor, the W116. At the same time, there was greater emphasis on safety, such as the introduction of driver-side airbags, traction control, crumple zones and fluted taillights, which maximised the rear visibility even when the lights were dirty.

The W126 was unveiled in 1979 and the coupe version, known as the SEC [S-Klasse-Einspritzmotor-Coupe] premiered in 1981. Throughout the whole lifetime of the W126, there were 4 different types of SECs made, which corresponded with its engine capacity. The 380 SEC was powered by a 3839 cc M116 V8 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 210 km/h with an acceleration of 9.6 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It was 4910 mm long and weighed 1585 kg.

Production of the W126 ended in 1992, but out of the 70,000-odd coupes made, only 11,267 were the 380 SEC variant. There seems to be 3 of them on the roads and I had the privilege to see 2 of them, including this one! This picture was taken back in 2015 near a hospital, so I presume a doctor isusing it as a daily driver. Some of you would have noticed the more numerous 300 SEL sedans that are still going strong, but considering how rare the coupe version is, it feels more satisfying finding even one in the wild!

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