1986 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 420 SEL V8 from North America


Simply terrific


Front left window suffered a broken armature lift, and I was able to find a replacement at a local junkyard, and I did the repair myself.

General Comments:

Let me begin by stating that the car was a gift from my niece, whom was a one-time owner. The greatest distance that the car was driven was from Los Angeles to Palm Springs. All other driving was city driving only.

The color of the car is fire engine red with immaculate beige leather seats. I am constantly told by strangers that, "I love your car".

The only problem that has surfaced was when I drove from Santa Ana to San Diego, due to what I called blowing out the engine, and after stopping and turning off the engine, I discovered a slippage in the transmission. When I took off again, it seemed to me that the transmission wasn't changing into fourth gear. At a stop light, I engaged the shift lever to its lowest position, and took off, shifting it manually to see if that may work. The first gear ran the RPM indicator up, and I proceeded to shift through the gears. At the next stop light, upon taking off, the transmission shifted on its own as if nothing had happened to it, which I found very pleasing.

I simply love my Benz, and plan to keep it as long as possible, for it is my first Benz, and I don't care for the early models on through the year 2011.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th February, 2011

1986 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 420 SEL 4.2L from North America


Wonderful car, though it had been abused


Transmission slips 2nd to 3rd, and 3rd to 4th.

Had to replace starter motor.

General Comments:

I think that the exterior of the car is beautiful. I think that it is equally as beautiful as my 1978 XJ6, but with a different personality.

I love the interior of this car. The seats are as comfortable as nice living room furniture. It is very relaxing and pleasant driving this car. It feels extremely safe riding in this car, like just about anything short of a tractor truck could run into it, and you would be unharmed.

I am sorry that all of the 420s have susceptibility to a transmission problem involving slipping 2nd to 3rd, and 3rd to 4th. It will probably be too expensive to ever fix this transmission problem... transmission replacement. With 237,000 miles on it, I may as well replace the engine if I replace the transmission, which means I may as well buy a whole different lower mileage 420SEL for less than a transmission replacement.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th February, 2010

18th Feb 2010, 13:22

Sorry mate. But you do not have to change the engine if it is okay, as it might serve you another 100k-plus miles. Concentrate on the gear box. If you are on a tight budget, try a scrap yard. You might get a really good gear box there. A new gear box would cost a fortune.

I drive 300SE automatic.

All the best.

1986 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 420SEL 4.2L V8 from North America


300K miles and still like new


Pretty much nothing really seriously has gone wrong with the car as in out of the ordinary. It has 300,000 miles on it.

- Radiator went recently

- Replaced timing chain

- Front end bushings etc etc.

General Comments:

This car is probably one of the greatest cars I have ever owned. It had needed very little since I have gotten it, and I was lucky enough to get it from the original owners.

The seats are like almost original; they are a bit more cushy (as in saggy) than original. The paint is starting to wear a bit thin on one of the doors.

The car however gets great gas mileage and passes California smog with original cat and exhaust system. It's a real head turner.

I have owned other Mercedes, but this one is a real gem. If you want to get one, be sure to do your research and take it to a mechanic if you don't know about the car, because if these haven't been well maintained, they can be a headache.

I could go on all day about how great the car is, but you'll probably be bored.

If you get one with high mileage, JOIN BENZ HIGH MILEAGE; it's really cool and they give you a badge and a really cool booklet.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd June, 2008