Sport Luxury: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC

When a classic car undergoes a color change, sometimes the results can be less than impressive. That is hardly the case with this 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC because the transformation couldn’t be more dramatic. When you combine the color change with updated wheels, the result is a prestigious classic with an added touch of menace. The Mercedes is now looking for a new home, so it has been listed for sale here on Bring A Trailer. It is located in Manheim, Pennsylvania, and bidding has reached $4,000 at the time of writing.

Performing a color change on any classic car is fraught with challenges and pitfalls. It seems that the newer and more complex the classic in question, the more difficult it can be to achieve an acceptable standard of finish. In the case of this 560, the change couldn’t be more dramatic. When it was shiny and new, this Mercedes wore Arctic White paint. A previous owner chose to add a touch of menace by having the vehicle repainted in Black. The result is a striking looking car, and the paint still looks beautiful today. The original wheels have made way for a set of AMG-style alloys, and with the black centers, they just add to the vehicle’s overall sense of presence. It is worth noting that the cap is missing off one wheel, but otherwise, they look to be faultless. The panels appear to be laser straight, and there are no signs of any rust issues in the comprehensive photos that the owner supplies. The chrome trim seems to be in excellent condition, and it provides a striking contrast against the predominantly dark German classic.

The interior is trimmed in a color called Palomino, and it is a color that is sure to divide opinions. I quite like it. I think that this is mainly because it provides that distinct contrast to the Black exterior. A darker interior would not have surprised me, but I suspect that it might make things quite oppressive. The seats are upholstered in leather, and this looks soft and supple. Such light-colored carpet can be prone to all sorts of nasty stains, but this seems to be extremely good. The dash features the pre-requisite lashings of burl timber trim, adding to the overall air of luxury. Mercedes-Benz is a prestige brand, so it seems only fitting that this interior should feature its share of creature comforts. There is climate-control air conditioning, power windows, heated power seats, a leather-wrapped wheel, cruise, power mirrors, and a premium AM/FM radio/cassette stereo. If you’ve never experienced heated seats, then they are worth checking out. If you live in a colder climate, they are an absolute blessing on a cold morning. Or maybe I’m just getting soft in my old age!

Nestling under the hood of the Mercedes is a 5.5-liter V8, which is backed by a 4-speed automatic transmission. For added security, the vehicle also comes equipped with power steering and 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS. At 3,549lbs, the 560 is not a massively heavy car. Therefore, with 238hp at its disposal, it can cruise through the ¼ mile in 15.9 seconds. That’s really only part of the story because this is a luxury car that is at home on the German Autobahns. That means that it will happily sit at its top speed of 150mph for extended periods. The owner doesn’t mention how well the vehicle runs or drives, but he does claim that it has a genuine 89,000 miles showing on its odometer. Given the inclusion of a set of Service Records in the sale, it would be fair to assume that he can verify the mileage claim.

Mercedes-Benz is a marque for which I have a great deal of respect. I’m especially fond of their offerings from the 1980s and 1990s because they really could be considered to be cars of excellence in design and engineering. They are also a brand that has lost its way to a certain extent today, which makes cars like this 1990 Mercedes 560 SEC even more attractive. They are modern and refined, but hail from a time when the company was renowned for the quality of its products. There are undoubtedly faster and more potent coupes on the used car market at present, but very few will transport you in the sort of comfort and refinement that this vehicle offers its next owner. The color change has brought a new level of character to this classic, so when you combine that with the comfort and performance, this looks to be an all-round winner.

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  1. Leslie Ann Driver

    Oh how I wish I could hold this baby!

    Like 2
  2. Steve Maybush

    Beautiful car! White to black is quite a drastic transformation but seems to have been pulled off nicely. I’m saving for my 70 ss chevelle and when I see cars like this it’s hard to stay vigilant. Great car,good luck!!

    Like 1
  3. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    The interior color is Shell (code 4899), not Palomino. Palomino would be a little darker and have more of an orange tint to it. For some reason, every novice MB owner and EBay seller believes that their car has “Palomino” or “Parchment” interiors.

    Like 2

    Makes me wanna put on my Versace ink print shirt…white jeans…Gucci sandals…and too much Paco Rabane cologne…and go clubbing to Regine’s in Coconut Grove.(Miami) Ooops…almost forgot the Aqua Net hairspray to keep my mullet tight! (have’nt had any hair to spray it on since the early 90s)

    Like 4
  5. John Wallace

    I own and drive an 85 380SL with 35k mi. My mom bought it off a lease in 87. Parts are available but pricey. Your buying parts for a $80k new car. Complex systems are standard MB, so buy a manual on CD. A careful review of service records could save you lots of money before you buy. I drive my 380 at least 50 -100 mi a week. Nothing worse for a MB than sitting for months/ years and being driven.

    Like 2
  6. robt

    My current car is a 95 E320 wagon with an AMG/Mercedes C36 straight 6 under the hood. W124 chassis. Rock solid. Mercedes like these are the end of an era when the company was still working to build the best car they could instead of trying to put a mercedes in every driveway.
    I didn’t put that motor under the hood but I know the guy who did. And he knows his mercedes.
    I like the color change of this 560 SEC but would change out those wheels 1st thing.
    To own one of these is a pleasure if they’ve been cared for. It does help to know a mechanic that knows his/her way around them.
    The caveat of this car is it’s a 2 door coupe. Running gear parts are no problem but body parts for coupes can be a lot of trouble to find if and when needed. They didn’t make many of them.

    • Harit Trivedi

      I fully understand you. My daily driver is a 124, its 30 years old and super reliable. We have a 212 in the family, terming it horribly unreliable is being polite, its expensive to repair, almost all that could go wrong went that way. Recently, while collecting the car after repairs to it’s second generator failure, even the dealers service department assured me that now my car has had its known weaknesses gone through at least once and that I should not have any worries in future. A week later the ECU failed. Its still in the workshop, ready to be collected but I’m in no hurry as its very expensive to run. The horrible experience with this car started about 4 months after purchase when we realized that the dealer gypped us of an approximate equivalent amount of US$ 1250/-. Mercedes Benz did not look into this despite clear documentary evidence. It is a December 2010 car having covered approx 60K KM. Bah

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