Mercedes-Benz W126 560sec 1989

Years change, model ranges of car manufacturers change as well. Some leave the business, some are sold and bought. For some, fate is to rust under another careless owner, for others, to become a can of Coca-Cola. But there are the chosen ones, upon whom time has no power. One of them you see in the photos.
And it’s not just because it’s a Mercedes. The model under the index W126 appeared in 1979 as the heir and continuator of the S-Class lineage, which means Sonderklasse – special class. German marketers were then kept in special offices located in the outskirts so as not to disturb the engineers – to design the best car money could buy.
One of these engineers, who didn’t know the whip of marketing and pricing policies, thought: “Hey, why should a wealthy person necessarily buy a car with clearly more doors than necessary for him and his companion?”. The idea appealed to the management and in 1981, the new Grand Tourismo coupe was born.

We won’t talk about engines today, because we have something better in front of us, what the Germans did at that time – a monumental 5.6-liter V8. No turbochargers, no chargers – just atmospheric power, balanced with German precision. Moreover, for the same volume, there were 2 modifications available: regular and with increased compression ratio. The regular, if you can say so about this engine, V8 developed 272 hp, its boosted version – 300 hp. With the powerful version, at first, it was impossible to use a catalytic converter, but according to the Germans, even without it, the engine still preserved the lives of various flora and fauna. Later, this option, which in Russia was hammered out with a hammer almost at the border, still appeared for all engines.
In the cartoon “Futurama,” there was a moment when Professor Farnsworth talked about how his spaceship flies: it doesn’t move itself in space, it moves space relative to itself. This car should move in the same way, complementing the planet’s rotations and crushing the asphalt, because it’s the most powerful car with a three-pointed star! At first, cars with a 5.0-liter V8 went off the assembly line, but in 1985, both the car itself and part of the powertrains underwent restyling.

Interestingly, after the restyling, the cars switched to 15-inch wheels! That is, before that, the wheel size resembled late Zhiguli models. This imposed some restrictions primarily on the diameter of the brake disc, but allowed using tires with a high profile for maximum comfort when driving on rough roads.

Did you see the seat belts in the taxi this morning? Or maybe in your brand-new car? Well, you should thank not the Scandinavians, as one might think, but none other than Mercedes! It was in the W126 that they introduced inertia seat belts for rear passengers. It was also from this body that someone came up with the idea of ​​thinking about aerodynamics. The brick-like cars had almost lived out their centur and the postulate “to go faster, you need a bigger engine” began to fade away. For the previous model W116, the coefficient of aerodynamic resistance was 0.41, for the sedan they managed to achieve 0.36 and for the coupe, it was even 0.34! These numbers themselves don’t say anything about acceleration, but a pleasant bonus in the form of fuel economy can certainly be obtained. And, of course, on the autobahns, the car encountered less air resistance at high speeds.
We won’t tire you with a list of available options; let’s just say that in the next, even more legendary (but for different reasons) model W140, it was largely the same. In addition to various comfortable bonuses, ASD and ASR appeared – automatic differential lock and acceleration control.

Why did the car turn out to be truly timeless? It is important to understand that it had almost no competitors and as a result, there was no need to restrain the budget. Competitors from the foggy Albion didn’t care too much about the wallets of their clients, and the quality of their chassis in those years lagged behind the German ones. Other Europeans were mainly represented by Italians, but those cars were sporty and didn’t offer a fraction of the comfort of the W126. Plus, a very correct bet was made on reliability: many customers drove their cars for several hundred thousand kilometers without breakdowns. At all. Some even reached a million kilometers without major engine repairs. How is that even possible? And if breakdowns did occur – Mercedes was always ready to sell you a new part. Even now! This famous story of support for old models really works, although you’ll have to pay a pretty penny to use it. The age of the car still doesn’t mean that the parts for it will become cheaper.

This particular car is from 1989 – one of 74 thousand coupes. It differs from many of its brethren thanks to its lowered suspension, lorienser body kit, and staggered AMG wheels. In this form, the car looks somewhat more aggressive, although it clearly loses out in smoothness compared to the standard model. There’s no pneumatic suspension here, so the behavior on the road depends on the shock absorbers and springs, just like in the good old days. This is the advantage of this coupe over the modern S-Class: maybe it’s not as technological and safe, but it’s comfortable in an analog way, with real wood on the dashboard, genuine leather seats and real emotions at the wheel.

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