Here's a Tour of a $150,000 Mercedes S-Class ... From 1991

Here's a Tour of a $150,000 Mercedes S-Class ... From 1991

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this is a 1991 mercedes-benz 560 SEL as you know the s-class is the flagship of the mercedes-benz lineup and this was the flagship of the s-class lineup 25 years ago it was the nicest and most luxurious s-class you could buy it was so nice and luxurious in fact this was the car of choice for just about every ruthless dictator in the world back then today it is my car of choice and I am going to show you around the most
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expensive mercedes-benz you could buy in 1991 I borrowed this 560 SEL from automobile II limited a cool used-car dealer here in the Philadelphia area with an excellent and varied inventory of interesting vehicles you can check it out on the link in the description below now I chose this 560 SEL because it is absolutely pristine this car has only 29,000 miles and it is completely unmodified it is exactly as Saddam
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Hussein would have ordered it back in 1991 today I'm gonna show you around this car I'm going to show you all of its interesting quirks and cool features and then I'm gonna get it out on the road and find out how this thing drives and then of course I'm going to give it a dug score and for more of my thoughts on the 560 SEL click the link below to visit autotrader.com slash oversteer on oversteer I've also compiled a ranking in my opinion of every s-class model since the 1970s I'll start with a quick overview now this generation s-class is
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known to enthusiasts as the w126 the second-generation s-class once Mercedes really started separating its lineup into classes the s-class the e-class etc now this body style came out in 1980 this car hails from 1991 which was its final year of production now Mercedes did its naming a little bit different back then the numbers came first and 560 should have meant that this car had a five point six liter engine but Mercedes of 25 years ago was just like Mercedes of today and they fudged the details a
02:04
little bit in actuality this car had a 5.5 liter v8 it made 300 horsepower now that's not a lot by today's standards but it was a big number in the performance star of 1980s this was the nicest most expensive most powerful one you could get back then there was no AMG there was no v12 s-class this was it and the sticker price of this car was just a hair under seventy seven thousand dollars back then which translates to just under one hundred and fifty thousand dollars in today's money as for the letters s of
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course stood for S Class II was a designation that was used on all gas-powered fuel-injected Mercedes models at the time the diesels would get a D so you could have a 300 s D and it would be a diesel or a 300 s II and it would be gas the L stands for long is in long wheelbase and yes this car was really popular with dictators pretty much every despot worth his salt drove one of these around in the 1980s and 1990s and with that in mind on to the quirks and features I'm going to start
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here with the door panel which isn't especially interesting it looks a lot like a normal door panel and it is although there are two interesting quirks one of which is the fact that this car has power headrests there right here on the door panel you push this little lever and then the headrest raises or lowers as your desire but why is the button behind the seat shape instead of on top of it when this car first came out in 1980 it had manual headrests when the power headrests were added later they didn't have enough room to add the switch where it belonged on the power seat switch diagram the other interesting thing in the door
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panel of 560 SEL how about the fact that it has a manual mirror you pull this little lever around and you adjust the placement of the mirror so this car has power headrest but a manual mirror but there's only a manual driver side mirror the passenger side mirror is controlled electronically with this little switch in the center console so you move the driver side mirror manually but the passenger mirror electronically now long ago I stopped trying to understand German engineers but my thinking here is the reason they did this is that maybe
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you want the driver side mirror to be precisely in the spot that you want and it's easy to just adjust it into that spot but obviously you can't reach the passenger side mirror to do the same so they gave you the little control or at least that's what I think who knows what the real reason is next up since I'm already inside this car I might as well move on to my Lisa thing about driving it that would be simply turning it on specifically the noise that it makes when you do listen to this stick the key in and then listen to this
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thank you please stop this isn't the days before these electronic ding ding to remind you not to forget your key or to remind you to put your seatbelt on and so the car makes that noise every single time you turn it on and speaking of interesting noises we must now move on to my favorite sounds as car makes that would be the horn this car has something called a Town & Country horn and what that means is there are two different notes the horn can play at your choosing honk the horn normally and it sounds
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like this or flip this button in the center console hock it again and it sounds like this the theory here is that one horn is for the country or on the country roads distances are longer and so you need the horn to project more but when you're in the city you don't need that so you flip the switch and then the city horn provides a different note for smaller distances and speaking of interesting switches and buttons inside this car there are quite a few another one is snow chain mode there's a little
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switch with a picture of a tire on it covered in snow chains and I guess you're supposed to press it when you have chains back then there were no all-wheel drive luxury cars so this little button was the best you did I don't really know what it does maybe it starts on a higher gear or does something to help you with winter driving but well it was there for reassurance at the very least another interesting button in the center control stack here is the button with the little light bulb on it that button controls not the front dome lights but the rear dome lights because ultimately if you were driving this car in the 80s there was some chance you were chauffeuring
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people around or if they asked you to turn on their lights so they could see the newspaper better well you had the ability to do that from the front seat next we move on to a couple of controls in this car that are a little bit weird by modern standards starting with the dial to change the temperature of the climate control now in modern cars it's this little dial you turn it's a very nice-looking thing but in this car it's this weird huge wheel that looks like that giant wheel they spin in the prices right it even has numbers on it just like that wheel colored the intent here was that you moved it one way for cold air and
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another way for higher or you could stick it in between in order to get medium air maybe more interesting than the dial is the way to climate control themselves operated there was no electronic screen in this car so the climate control buttons to direct the air cancel each other out when you press one the other one pops up like a whack-a-mole game also interesting with the climate vents check this out here's the driver side vent and there's no dial to open or close it to control the amount of air flowing through the vent passenger side vents same deal no switch to control the amount of airflow but
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turn your attention to the middle and guess what all three controls are located here the middle one stops air flowing through the middle vents while the levers on the side control the amount of air that comes through the vents on the left and right sides of the interior also weird how about a little button to shut off the back windows so your kids couldn't roll them down and annoy you or possibly climb out if they're small enough that little button is actually a switch in this card it has a little picture of a child on it the way the switch works is when the child is not visible the windows are free to move around and back but when the child
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is visible the back windows are locked out and they can't be rolled down the theory being that then you look down and see oh there's a child in my back seat other interesting switches inside this interior this car has the factory radio it's really insanely unmodified this car and the factory radio is fairly normal radios at the time but the thing I find most interesting is the volume button it's not a dial but it is this giant lever that you push up or down in order to get more volume out of the stereo also interesting the stereo the one stereo control that isn't on the radio
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faceplate itself is in the middle and that would be the fader it's this little dial and you move it up or down depending on where you want the sound all the way up the sound is only in the front speakers all the way back and the sound is only in the rear speakers leave it in the middle and it's sort of half and half another interesting item the gauge cluster in this car didn't have cutouts for warning lights instead all of the warning lights are displayed along the bottom above the steering column and below the gauge cluster all except for one if you get in this car and start it up without your seat belt on that warning light is displayed on
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the ceiling right next to the sunroof where no one we'll ever see it maybe that was the intent another interesting item in the front seats of this car is Center storage and it's interesting because when this car came out in 1980 airbags were barely a thought the engineers were developing but by the time the 1991 model this car came how airbags were installed in virtually all of them and that meant there was no glovebox so Mercedes had to add some extra storage to the middle maybe the most interesting is the center storage compartment which rolls back just like eight Center
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storage compartment and modern cars the interesting thing here is that you can lock it with the key just like you maybe would want to lock your glovebox it wasn't as big as the glovebox but it was a locking storage area in the front seats of the car also interesting is the storage areas underneath the dashboard basically below the steering column and below the passenger side airbag you don't see this in any modern cars but it was nice that this car had it on both the passenger side and the driver's side so they could accommodate airbags as this car grew into a more modern era where people
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wanted them from expensive luxury cars and speaking of growing into a more modern era this car like I said came out in 1980 and that was long before there was any regulation saying that vehicles needed to have a third brake light mounted somewhere in the middle and so this car was originally designed without one when those regulations came to pass in the late 1980s Mercedes just kind of stuck one in there in the window and you can clearly tell with even a quick glance that this car was not designed with that brake light in mind and since I'm back here let's talk trunk and specifically badging I always liked
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these old school Mercedes badges because the characters were so big it was like Mercedes was really trying to emphasize what model you got I also always thought it was interesting that mercedes-benz underlined the badge it's like they really had something to say of course what they were trying to say was that they were cheap they only underlined it because that meant that each letter and number could be connected so this was just one piece which made it easier for them to make and easier for them to stick on in modern Mercedes models each character in the badge is separate so they have to
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stick them all on individually which is more costly this saved them time and money and that's why old Mercedes badges are underlined next up the trunk itself opening the trunk you can see that this is frankly a fairly normal trunk it's pretty wide it's pretty deep there are a couple of little pockets on the side where you can store smaller items nothing true special about it except for the fact I really like how the taillights are positioned inside this trunk look at these things these giant plastic covers over the taillights anybody can take taillights off for a place of bulb if you have to it's not like modern cars where they're covered
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by trim pieces and you need some tool that only the dealer has in order to get them off I also like this little label here on the edge of the trunk which reads the trunk lock will also lock and unlock the doors this car has two separate keys one for the ignition and one for the doors and apparently the trunk that's a hopeful little hint but one little item on this label that I find interesting here's a little car gate piece of trivia the first three numbers on any Mercedes part give the chassis of the vehicle that the part is meant for
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this is a w126 but that label reads 124 so it was made for the w124 which was the e-class ho Mercedes perch sharing on a on a little trunk lock label hi I am appalled by the way another interesting piece of key trivia on this car this car predates keyless entry so it doesn't have a remote but there is a way to tell if you have genuine Mercedes Benz keys take a look on the key itself and at the very top of the metal part there should be a little three pointed star Mercedes
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logo anything that doesn't have that logo is not a factory authorized key provided by your local and mercedes-benz retailer next up moving on under the hood now by large there's nothing particularly interesting or quirky under the hood this is the same five and a half liter v8 it made its way into a lot of mercedes-benz models at the time this car the coupe version of this car and also the SL the most interesting quirk I found under the hood is this little metal plate here now if you have a Porsche then you go into your front cargo compartment and you look on the inside of the trunk lid what you're
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likely to find is a little piece of paper detailing what options your car has using the option codes from the time Porsche struck down and all of them it's a way to see what options your vehicle has and also it's a way to tell whether your trunk lid is original if that piece of paper is still there well mercedes-benz from this era didn't bother with any pieces of paper instead they stuck that label with the option codes on the front of the in every car using metal and it was painted and those are the options that this car
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had from new that is really impressive and ain't no stinking piece of paper like Porsche and since I'm up flying another cool little detail about this car and a lot of mercedes-benz models from this era is the headlights have their own little windshield wipers in fact they even have their own little rubber windshield wiper insert which is about the size of a notecard I think this is absolutely hilarious annoyingly I can never figure out how to get these things to work I tried it with the lights on and the windshield wipers going I tried it with the washer
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spraying I can't figure it out I suspect they work everything on this car works but I don't know how to do it maybe it has to be a certain temperature and driving a certain distance either way they're there doing their part to keep the headlights clean I suspect it's really more of a gimmick than anything else but this car has and speaking of the wipers another interesting detail of this car is that it only has one windshield wiper that was commonplace on Mercedes Benz models of the time take a look there it is except well actually look a little closer turn them on there
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are two windshield wipers but they come from the same place and they wipe basically the same part of the windshield I'm sure mercedes-benz engineers had some reason for doing this back in the 1980s but as a normal person in the 2010s I can't imagine what that would be one other interesting detail up front would be the mirrors check this out you can't fold them in like every other car but if you happen to bump into them they bend in and snap right back to their original position so your mirror won't come off if it gets hit while you're
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parked on a knee road german street now beyond the front and rear of this car there aren't really any other interesting styling details in fact this car was intended to be specifically subtle and kind of dull on the outside it wasn't trying to make any crazy waves with its design maybe the most interesting thing because this is an SEL the rear door is considerably longer in the front door the front door is like this long the rear door is massive and that was to accommodate the longer wheelbase and more interior room for rear seat passengers and so let's talk
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about life in the backseat of the 560 SEL there are a couple of interesting corks back here my favorite of which has to do with the center armrest this car has one of the coolest only the Germans kind of features I've ever seen when you put down the center armrest you put it down in the armrest is specifically designed to push the seat belts out as it goes down so that the seat belt buckles stay accessible when the armrest is down and they're not hidden under the armrest when you put the armrest back up the seat belt buckles go back up so
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they're out of the way of the rear bench again only the Germans would think of something like this but that is very cool attention to detail another interesting thing the back seat here is that even though this car has no glovebox that's kind of down on storage there's not really much storage for rear seat passengers there's nothing in the door panel all you really get are these little leather things in the back of the front seats like you're in an airplane but there are hidden storage compartments take a look behind the seats on the rear shelf and you will find storage where no other car has on
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the driver's side you'll find the storage compartment contains the mercedes-benz approved first-aid kit on the passenger side it's just a storage compartment completely hidden no one would ever know it's there or think to check that it's there unless of course they've seen this video and there are a couple of other interesting things in the back seat of the 560 SEL beyond the massive rear legroom for example these seats are already very comfortable but you can make them more comfortable they recline push a little button on the door
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panel and the entire bench seat reclines interestingly either passenger can recline the entire seat so if you're sitting over here you can recline the seat even if the person on this side doesn't want to recline which could lead to some arguments also interesting on that door panel you will see heated seats this car course has heated front seats but it also has heated rear seats which must have been huge in 1991 and there are individual reading lights mounted on the seat pillars so that you can read the newspapers you're chauffeured around town two other
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interesting items how about the fact that each rear seat has its own individual ashtray and its own individual cigarette lighter so there's only one cigarette lighter for the two front seats but there two in back for the people being chauffeured around also interesting is the little handle above the door with where you hang your clothes or grab on to if your chauffeur is driving crazily its giant because the rear door is giant nor your seat area is giant so it's like double the length of a normal one of these it's kind of funny and so those
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are all the quirks and features of the most expensive Mercedes Benz from 25 years ago with that in mind time to get this thing out on the road and see how it drives the first thing I notice about this car is just getting started the gas pedal needs to be pressed hard you can't just sort of ease into it like in a modern car just tap it you have to actually push it and give it some force this is not a car for the timid one of the cool things I think about the town and country horn is that you can make it seem like more people are honking if you
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need you for example you're sitting in traffic and you're pissed why isn't anybody going and then it sounds like there's multiple cars in it and it increases the pressure all the people are about you to go this was designed for the serious businessman all right flooring it now oh well it wasn't designed for the businessman who wants to go fast the problem with the car in terms of acceleration is not really the engine power 300 horses should be enough to
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move this car it's not that heavy compared to ask Lassiter today the problem with this car is really the transmission it's got a four speed auto and so the gears are tremendously long so as you get really high in the rev range it actually feels like a pretty quick car but it takes a while to build up there and get there because there's just not all that many gears and presumably because forth is probably pretty tall since a lot of people who drove this car wanted to drive it at truly high speeds in the Autobahn the speedometer goes up to 170 I can't imagine actually did that but I
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suspected it could do 150 I am impressed I'm truly impressed with how sort of removed from the road it feels and I'm used to that on a 2017 Rolls Royce or Bentley but not in a 25 year old s-class that's that is impressive to me steering is very heavy uh-huh it's funny because luxury cars now just make it as easy as possible for you to guide the steering wheel and that was just not the case back then these cars were heavy cars and they were solid and to steer them you
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had to do some work and I love I love that I man I love that steering feel it really feels substantial just like the rest of this car in fact that's one of the things that you feel when you drive this car just everything feels just substantial on the car feels planted wide big on the road very stable and solid and so does the steering and so does the accelerator which you have to push hard and and the door sound speed was not the intent although performance luxury sedans have
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really become popular over the last few years that wasn't something in the early 90s people who had cars like this they didn't want performance if they wanted performance they would buy a second early but I Porsche but if they wanted a luxury sedan they wanted a luxury side only in the last 15 years have you no cars been able to do everything it's a luxury SUV that's also a performance car that's also a ski truck whatever you know family transporter back in this in this era cars specialized in this car special Eliza's in just optimal pure luxury the Ryan quality is absolutely excellent and
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going over bumps one kind of a rough road here the ride quality is absolutely excellent it soaks up everything to the most perfect degree you know modern Mercedes models modern luxury cars there's this feeling in order to be a luxury car you have to have a lot of gadgets but this car was really came from an era where in order to be a luxury car you had to feel sturdy and well built and you had to have nice materials and this car certainly this car did that just as well as the new one
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is full of gadgets I mean the new s-class can practically drive itself at us screens everywhere you can heat every them it's crazy and it's the best of that and this was the best at being a luxury car back then and Mercedes has adapted over the years and it's it's impressive what they've done so that's the 1991 mercedes-benz 560 SEL the flagship s-class from 25 years ago the one all the dictators drove a 150 thousand dollar car in today's money looking back at the relative simplicity of this car it may seem ridiculous to
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spend that much on a vehicle like this especially when the new base level s-class is cheaper and it's more powerful sporty-er has more equipment more luxury it can basically drive itself and it can even give you puffs of a fragrant aroma as you desire but back in the days before Lexus before outtie when BMW was still a struggling up-and-comer in the luxury sedan world this was the car to have you paid dearly for it and he bought one of these people
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respected you and if they didn't well then they might get thrown in political prison anyway with that in mind on to the Doug score starting with the weekend categories and styling I think this car is the poster child for restrained and subtle and it earns a 5 out of 10 acceleration it does 0 to 60 in 7.5 seconds and it gets a 1 out of 10 handling is fine nice and secure but not exactly fast or sharp with some noticeable body roll and it gets a 3 out of 10 cool factor is fine car people know it's a pretty cool car but these are made in large numbers and there's
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still a common sight so it gets a 5 out of 10 as for importance this was a relatively significant car from mercedes-benz but the same can be said of most s-class models still this one is particularly revered and it earns a 6 out of 10 add it all up and the total weekend score is 20 out of 50 which is low but frankly about right this isn't really a fun weekend toy next up are the daily categories starting with features the 560 SEL was well equipped for the time period but the Doug score judges cars on modern standards and it's understandably falling behind it gets a 3 out of 10 as
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for comfort it's got a nice comfortable ride but its suspension is firmer than a rolls-royce and its leather upholstery is too so it gets a 7 out of 10 quality is excellent this car boasts both excellent materials an impressive renowned reliability it falls only short of a perfect score due to a few stupid items like that buzzing noise and it gets a 9 out of 10 practicality is good with a large backseat an 18 cubic feet of cargo room and it gets a 5 out of 10 finally there's value these are surprisingly cheap and you can find higher mileage used ones for 10 to 15
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thousand dollars in nice shape but that money doesn't buy you much performance or technology or style just an aging Mercedes that won't break down so it gets a 6 out of 10 and it up in the total daily score is 30 out of 50 which is pretty strong for a 25 year old vehicle add up the numbers and the total dug score is 50 out of 100 placing at one point ahead of the rolls-royce Silver Spur of the same era the biggest victory is in quality which makes sense it may not be as comfortable or as luxurious as the rolls but it's sure to outlast the Silver Spur for years to
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come komm / oversteer on oversteer I've also compiled a list of the other what have I compiled or electronic chimes they all do that they do it when you turn the car off - apparently they don't or makes that noise every single time you turn it on which is very annoying it also makes the noise when you turn it off incredible

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