The Mercedes-Benz Classic Centers in Fellbach, Germany and Irvine, California serve the preservation and resale of MB’s most remarkable past products while MB dealers concentrate on new and near new cars. To reduce overlap the two Classic Centers “adapt” models that have been out of production approximately 20 years. The latest addition is the SEC built from July 1980 through October 1991.
The Classic Center’s “Young Classics” program is now reselling 20 to 30 year old examples, when in above average condition, with a warranty.
Based on the S-Class SE sedans (same 126 family), but shortened by 3.5 inches, they nevertheless are 5 inches longer than the predecessor SLC. One of Bruno Sacco’s best designs, plus powerful engines, optimum safety and driving comfort resulted in an experience that has knowledgeable collectors hunting for the best survivors before they’re gone.
Available only with 8-cylinder engines; a 380, 500 and later 420 and 560SEC. The best selling model was the 500 with 30,184 units. The SEC introduced an emission control systems with a closed-loop three-way catalytic converter. The SEC-unique electrically operated safety-belt feeder for front seat occupants later appeared on CE Coupés. Airbags for driver and front passenger came in ‘83 & ‘89 respectively. Driving safety was furthered by an automatic locking differential (ASD) or acceleration skid control (ASR).
Mercedes-Benz’s vintage repair parts system makes it all possible. Inventory availability is not 100% but far superior to other brands. Between Mercedes-Benz itself, factory-printed service manuals and CDs, recycle yards and parts made by MB clubs and a few private companies, Mercedes-Benz cars are ALL quite preservable.
Some authorized service shops have recently been designated Classic Partners, for possessing outstanding competence in handling older vehicles. SL Market Letter has long urged this for deserving independent shops too.