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2009 Mercedes-Benz 560SEL
“The fit and finish inside leave no doubt that the absolute best of every material went into the car's construction.” –William Jeanes, Car and Driver
Many brand loyalists consider the Mercedes Benz W126 560SEL one of Mercedes Benz's styling masterpieces. With its understated, timeless design and legendary build quality throughout, the 560SEL symbolized true luxury. Indeed, there are those who would argue that car-for-car, they'd prefer these W126 cars over the Mercedes-Benz big sedans available new today. It may have something to do with memories of the rock stars, Wall Street executives, and Hollywood legends who were seen being chauffeured about in a 560SEL. In those days, only people who had truly made it owned these fine autobahn-capable German luxury sedans. Today, such a fine automobile, carefully selected, can be a source of pride and driving joy for years, even decades to come. That's what defines a true classic.
When new, the car's 5.6 liter Bosch K-Jetronic fuel-injected, single overhead cam V8 engine produced 238 horsepower delivered to the drive train through a 4-speed Daimler Benz W4A028 automatic transmission to the rear wheels, for a top speed of 145 mph. The driving experience impressed the Car and Driver reviewer back in the day: “We've always believed that the S-class Benzes are among the best long-legged cruisers ever, and our test car upheld the tradition. Its 238-hp aluminum V-8 launches the Mercedes to 60 mph in seven seconds flat. The car will cruise forever at 125 mph—if only we had the roads, and the permission, to do it—and its every act sends a clear message that, with a big Mercedes, performance never takes a back seat to luxury.”
Not surprisingly, with an original-MSRP sticker price over $75,000 (the equivalent of over $145,000 in today's money), this 560SEL comes with its own history of famous owners. The car was purchased new by Edgar Prince, founder of Holland, Michigan's Prince Corporation (and father of Erik Price, former Navy SEAL and founder of the private military-services company, Blackwater; and Betsy (Prince) DeVos, the current U.S. Secretary of Education.) Until 2010, the Prince family maintained the car at their Wyoming ranch. The 560SEL was well maintained throughout the Prince family's ownership. The car's only other owner continued that practice, as is evident from the multiple and significant maintenance entries listed in the accompanying Carfax report.
Overall, the condition of the car is well above average, but not perfect. We'd call it very nice driver-quality luxury car. Interior wood trim, especially on the console, displays some sun fading as shown in the high-definition photographs. Alloy wheels all show some loss of finish due to age, not curb damage (however matching Michelin Defender tires are in very good condition with an estimated 85% tread remaining). The car was driven (although at a well-below-average rate, under-4,000 miles per-year), but certainly not abused. Leather upholstery is in excellent condition overall, as are carpeting and door panels. Rear-seat legroom is expansive, nearly limousine-like in its dimensions, and really should be seen in person to fully appreciate its spaciousness. The engine bay is in good order with multiple service-stickers in place, and the trunk and spare-tire well (spare is a Michelin MXV) are in excellent condition.
The dark-blue exterior and interior combination on this 560SEL makes for a tasteful, understated style statement, perfectly in keeping for the most-desired luxury German sedan of its time. Mercedes-Benz cars of this era, maintained in the fashion this example has been, are known to amass mileage double, or even triple what's shown here. Depending on how you drive (and your age), this could be your “forever car!”