1988 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 420SEL 4.2 V8 from North America
Last of its kind
Power steering pump was making a loud noise before purchase; easy fix as the fluid was just low after a filter change. No noise or problems after topping off fluid.
Fuel pump busted a leak. DIY - 1.0 hours.
Headlight wipers don't work - probably will take them off.
AC was discharged and checked for leaks (clear) but not refilled. No R-12 available here in El Paso that I could find yet, and will only do a conversion at the very very very last resort. I'm a windows down person anyways, even in my other car with full cold AC.
Centre high mount brake light blew (just needs a replacement bulb) today.
Small tear in the driver's seat.
Various fuses, which are expected at this age. A set is very cheap and easy to replace.
Alright, for the price I paid for it, the car is great. Looks like a new paint job, new alternator, new radiator, new master brake cylinder and related parts.
The interior is nice and not much show in wear, but the passenger seat bottoms seem to be new compared to the rest of the leather, but the rest is still good besides the small tear mentioned above.
The car starts up, and runs nice and smooth, no skips, blips, rumbles, or any of that stuff that common with these cars of this age.
The ride is smooth as I expected like the 560SEL I had prior, but at higher speeds, I can tell the lack of hydromatic suspension. But it's not by much, and I know it's more simpler.
The pick up and go factor is OK, and it is a large car, but it's no 560 off the line, but in no way underpowered. It's just right.
It doesn't eat up as much gas in the city as the beast of a 5.6. However, it's no Prius. If I wanted a Prius-like car for the gas mileage, this would not be my choice of car. But comfort is one of my higher priorities, and this car delivers.
I had newer cars, but this one is one of my favorites right up there with my old 89 560. It's slightly cheaper to maintain because there is no hydromatic suspension parts to worry about, but besides that the maintenance and parts are about the same. The ride is cush, but not Cadillac floaty, and the reason is in turns, there is really no body roll. It's no big Bimmer, but not far behind, and far ahead of other similar cars of that size, even some of the new ones.
I like it; they may not be choked full of iPod radios, internet, phones, cameras and modules with names I can't pronounce, but that's what I like. Simplicity, but not outdated. It has a presence, and style that will never get old. You can tell this car was built when the engineers ran the place compared to the newer ones (W220 and beyond). They are nice, but something seems to be missing.
Sitting inside this thing, and it feels like a Mercedes, rides like a Mercedes, and looks like a Mercedes with no mistake. The W220 is very nice, but seems overly complicated and I can tell the corporate office bean counters took over and don't have that presence of the past Benz. I might still get a W220 eventually or the W221, but I don't plan on giving up the W126 any time soon. I like being reminded of the good ol' days of Mercedes.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 13th August, 2009
I agree fully, the newer S class Mercedes cars are nice, but overly complicated for no reason at all, and the fit and finish are nice, but don't even come close to the effort put into the older cars. Driving an old Benz reminds you of what Mercedes was originally about.