1983 Mercedes W126 500SEC AMG Rear Speaker Deck Restoration Project

Posted on 1770 views

AMG Rear Speaker Deck Restoration Project

As part of an ongoing 1983 500SEC AMG restoration project, It is time to restore the rear interior deck. On the AMG option list back in the 1980’s you could select a multiple speaker checklist as an upgrade. This fiberglass interior decklid was completely new. No longer was the first ad kit compartment located on the rear deck. The new fiberglass rear deck included 2 8 inch subswoofers side by side towards the center of the deck and hidden by a rectangle cover. Since bass is omni-directional this worked very well. On each side of the decklid are 4 inch speaker and 2 2 inch tweeters side by side. In total , there are a total of 8 speakers on this deck. My favorite feature of this rear deck are the metal directional fins installed over the 4 inch speakers to direct sound toward the front of the cabin.

Above: The AMG optioned rear sound deck is about to be removed. The rear seats must be removed before you can gain access to the deck.

Above: The rear deck consists of 2 eight inch speakers under the center panel. On each side, there is 1 four inch speaker and 2 two inch tweeters. Notice the front facing directional fins located on top of the tweeters.

Above: The factory blue fabric has degraded over the years on this Euro 1983 500SEC. Currently trying to source the original material.

Above: The center rectangel panel that coverd the eight inch subwoofers has been removed. Notice the original deep blue fabric that was not exposed to the sun. The rear deck has gotten a lot of exposure to the sun.

Above: The rear deck has been removed. You can see the custom cut outs necessary to fit the 2 eight inch sub woofers.

Above: A view of the deck turned over. You can see the speaker wiring neatly installed. There is a black box located in the center. Is this a cross over?

Above: 2 eight inch sub woofers. These have seen better days. The cones have disentegrated. I dont recognize the logo or the brand of these speakers.

Above: Directional Fins removed. A close up of the speakers

Above: The tweeters look to be 2 inches in diameter. Unobtanium?

Above: 4 inch speakers

Above: The new fabric comes close but has a purple hue in certain light. Not a perfect match.

Above: The Crossover removed to get a closer look.

A closer look at the crossover
Dont know where these strange connectors go
Installing the new fabric onto the subwoofer cover
Test fitting the new correct fabric to the speaker shelf
2 inch and 5 inch speakers are being tested for fitment.
Test fitment

Its coming together !

This 1983 500SEC Euro AMG had the optional AMG Rear Speaker Shelf By SK in Germany, but also included Tweeter/ Mids (Separtes) in the dashboard. Notice the cuts in the speaker holders for optimal fitment. A new dash was recently installed. I am considering upgrading new speakers due to age.

Another cool aspect of this car, is the Clarion G80 system. It is one of my favorite stereo sound systems from the the 1980s. Notice the rare burl wood center console for the Clarion G80 system.

In order to get the stereo system working, the speaker shelf wiring had to be re-examined. I had to run new wires from the speaker shelf crossover and sub woofers to the front passenger foot well which is where the Clarion amplifiers were originally positioned.

Next Up: Clarion G80 Repair and Installation

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

52 Comments
  • Gengenbach
    March 5, 2020

    The speakers and sound board were made by a company called SK in Germany.

    • Dirty Old Cars
      March 6, 2020

      Thank you for the information Gengenbach!
      Are they still around?

      How much was it brand new?
      Was it exclusive to AMG?

      • Gengenbach
        March 6, 2020

        Glad to be of help. First off you’ll find zero info on the net. They advertised in German car magazines in the 80’s and were the first ones creating a soundboard. Kenwood were next. I called the number 20 years ago but they ceased operations ages ago.

        They were super expensive and made speaker systems (not individual components) for Aston Martin, Bentley, Rolls, BMW, Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini and AMG, so yes, AMG was their distributor for their Mercedes systems.

        Your system would fetch high dollars to a collector (I’m a restomod kinda guy) and would have come with a 2-way in the dash as well as single 4″ bass speakers in the doors.

        Their only competitor back then was Blaupunkt (Germans stuck with German speakers) with 4x 4″ bass, 1x mid, 1x tweeter. Lorinser used those.

        Here is a Kenwood board from then for reference: http://www.hifi-archiv.info/Kenwood/1992/kenwood15.jpg

        • Dirty Old Cars
          March 8, 2020

          Yes! I do have the dash board speakers. They are separates but unfortunately I dont have the 4 inch mids in the doors. Do you have pictures of that. I would like to see how that was done.
          Are you aware of many of these speaker shelves that still exist?

          https://www.screencast.com/t/DwevN6k4UBK

          • Gengenbach
            March 8, 2020

            I checked my AMG catalogue and gotta correct myself. The W201 and W107 had door speakers, the W126 SK system did not, so your system is actually complete.

            They are so rare that I have never seen one come up for sale or even installed in a vehicle. I got to your side due to the pic of the underside of the rear shelf which I had never seen. In the 80’s German D&W tuner catalogue, pics of BMW units were shown which looked the same. The whole system would fetch high four figures on the open market.

            From what I can tell, your C126 looks more like a Lorinser, than an AMG. The rear spoiler, 9″ Rial wheels and the Clarion tower installation are a giveaway. Note that the 2-way horn switch is installed upside down.

            If you got any questions to certain parts on your vehicle, post new pics and ask away.

            • Dirty Old Cars
              March 9, 2020

              I sent you an email.

              This car has an interesting history. It was used in an episode of the Twilight Zone TV Show. The episode is called “Welcome to Winfield”
              It was originally delivered in Frankfurt Germany then imported to San Francisco Area. 1 Owner car. The Rials are staggered. I’ll fix the horn button.
              Looking for Blue Velour Seats/ Covers for this car. I may redo the seats next. The AMG body kit pieces have the AMG Stampings.

              https://youtu.be/dMLTM2QJy0c
              Start at 5:20 but the car appears throughout the episode.

              https://www.imcdb.org/vehicle_1310306-Mercedes-Benz-500-SEC-C126-1983.html

              The body kit has all the AMG Stampings

              https://www.screencast.com/t/7krP2uDY3LkN
              https://www.screencast.com/t/UDTqSm9eiH
              https://www.screencast.com/t/F2MlYXMYWK
              https://www.screencast.com/t/NWXRIebgSHg
              https://www.screencast.com/t/0jY8E6olPFF

              • Gengenbach
                March 9, 2020

                Yep, you can get the materials in Germany:
                http://www.steenbuck-web.de/mercedes_polstervelour_wollvelour.htm
                http://www.steenbuck-web.de/mercedes_126_Coupe_polstervelour.htm

                Indeed it must be all AMG including the expensive monochromatic paint. Note though that neither Rial, nor BBS were suppliers to AMG, who used Ronal. Rials were most commonly found on Lorinsers, hence my assumption.

                On Rials, yes 9 inch wasn’t allowed on the front, hence either 8 inch all around or 9 inch rear. Btw, with monochromatic paint, the wheel centers should be body color. Perhaps the original owner changed the AMG Pentas to Rials afterwards.

                I actually remember the episode from Twilight Zone and was so focused on the vehicle. I wanted the exact same setup, except the wheels. I also got upset that they removed the head restraints, like they do in all US made movies and TV-series.

                I’ll check my mail when I get home.

                • Dirty Old Cars
                  March 9, 2020

                  I will contact them and see how much it will cost.
                  The monochromatic paint was an expensive option. It looks to be very well done. Any idea what that cost to do?
                  Its possible Rials were put on later. I prefer staggerd Pentas in white.
                  The Rial Center caps are black
                  Yes, correct they had to remove the headrests. You can see also they covered the seats with a white blanket material.
                  I have looked into an all white interior. It would be quite a lot of work to do it properly. I just installed a new blue dash to replace the cracked one.
                  I do not want to take the dash out again.

                  What city are you in?

  • Gengenbach
    March 9, 2020

    I gotta check my brochure for 1985 costs. The cheaper option was to PVC-coat all bright bits but most cars left the shop with the monochromatic paint scheme, most popular was white and 199 blueblack met. Note that Germans in the 80s ordered mostly velour interiors as they didn’t like leather back then. Velour and leather were the same cost even and velour was standard in the SEC.

    What steering wheel do you got in the car? I find the 380/390mm ones are too small and prefer the 400mm (factory was 420).

    I’m in Vancouver, Canada btw.

    • Gengenbach
      March 9, 2020

      Also, white interior upgrade ain’t worth it unless you have a 5.4 or widebody 6.0. Blue interiors, for some reason, deteriorate faster than others. IMO white cars look best with blue, black or brazil interiors. Perhaps look to get more wood bits, like door pocket rims.

      • Dirty Old Cars
        March 10, 2020

        What do you think the white interior would have cost in the 1980s?
        Was the dash covered in white leather or just painted white ?

      • Dirty Old Cars
        March 10, 2020

        Have you seen a manual transmission conversion? What gear box was used ?

      • Dirty Old Cars
        March 10, 2020

        What’s involved in creating a 5.4L?
        How to tell visually if you have a 5.4L engine ?

  • Gengenbach
    March 10, 2020

    It was 1984 when the leather insanity started in Germany. Until then it was only the Brits and Italians that offered full leather interiors. Porsche came out that year with their special wishes program that offered leather everywhere, including skimmed leather on dash vents and column stalks. BMW offered full leather interiors as well that year including special option leather lined trunk and nubuk headliner.
    All tuners followed suit and every car back then that had had a different colored interior, it would have been leather. AMG offered original Roser leather, but also Connolly (British) or Saturno (Porsche). In regards to prices I would have to look up my old magazines, but I think I can find the price for just the dash covering.

    • Dirty Old Cars
      March 10, 2020

      Thats very interesting. Thank you for the great info.

    • Dirty Old Cars
      March 10, 2020

      I have 2 black recaro classic sports seats that I am thinking of installing in this car. I still need the Recaro seat brackets to make this happen.
      I may consider dying the seats blue and redo the rear seats in blue leather.

      • Gengenbach
        March 10, 2020

        Pertaining your earlier question, I have seen and also own AMG bellhousings for the Getrag 265/6 which AMG used since 1984. Two different styles were available and on this forum you can see pics of reproductions. The original casting was of very poor quality. It also used an BMW shifter knob.

        Recaro brackets for the W126/123 are available. the trick is to wire the power backrest function to the switch in the door, i.e. use the original switch. I prefer leather as well, but to be period correct you’ll need piping in the seat and factory Recaros did not use them. Use factory leather with the correct round perforations with piping and you’re good. In this case though, the SK soundboard has to be covered in leather as well, as that was standard back then – it always matched the interior.

        • Dirty Old Cars
          March 10, 2020

          The soundboard was covered in leather. I have not seen that.

          I am interested in doing the manual swap

          I’d hate to destroy the original recaro leather but I see what you mean by the piping

          Thank you again

          • Gengenbach
            March 11, 2020

            Well, yours is the only one in the entire net. Even I haven’t seen the underside, hence I’m here. Three versions: fabric, velour and leather, always to match the interior.

            You can’t do a manual swap atm, as nothing is available, but you can change your slushbox’s valve body.

            You would,’t destroy the Recaros, just remove the covering and keep or sell it. The upholsterer would use it to create paper patterns anyway.

            Yes, AMG mostly didn’t bother with piping and matching seat patterns with the rear seats, but it looks naff. Gemballa btw was the best in terms of interior workmanship, Brabus for engines (so much better than AMG).

            • Dirty Old Cars
              March 12, 2020

              I didn’t realIze brabus was that good

              I have a 300 hp euro 560 m117 engine as well as a 6.0 renntech m119 engine

              Potential swaps for the future

  • Gengenbach
    March 10, 2020

    On pricing in 1986 (adjusted for inflation to 2020)

    1) Coat all chrome parts and paint body color: USD 4,400

    2) Cover dash board in leather: USD 2,800

    • Dirty Old Cars
      March 10, 2020

      Expensive !
      Do you have a picture of the leather dash board and close up of the Stitching?

      • Dirty Old Cars
        March 10, 2020

        Did you receive my email ?

        • Gengenbach
          March 10, 2020

          Got the email – will look at it tomorrow.

      • Gengenbach
        March 10, 2020

        What is very interesting is that there weren’t visible stitches. Here’s the backstory. BMW started offering full leather interiors at the same time as Porsche. BMW followed the Italians and used French stitching on center consoles and dashes. Porsche decided that that that was too garish and until 1989 stitches were to be barely found. For the 1990 model year, Porsche introduced stitches and by doing so, saved money. Mercedes started offering leather dashes in the R129 and W140 and, as expected, stitches everywhere.

        Creating a stichless leather dashboard however is a hellovalotta work. The leather needs to be skimmed so it can be stretched properly over the whole dash. Not many know how to do that. Also the dash needs to be sanded down about 1.2mm in order to make the dash vents fit.

  • Gengenbach
    March 11, 2020

    Regarding the 5.4, usually the “5.4” is added to the engine ID pad. Back then they also had a 5.2 and the 5.0-32 (not called a Hammer – the term was invented by Car and Driver in 1986, liked by AMG who then used it. The Germans are not that innovative when it comes to names: AMG, GetrAG, ZF, etc).

    The 5.0 AMG produced 276 horses at 5750 rpm, the 5.2, 300 at 5250, the 5.4, 310 at 5250 and the 5.0-32, 340 at 5750rpm.
    Adjusted prices: 5.0: USD 14,000, 5.4: $30,000 and 5.0-32: $42,000.

    The 5.4 used 100mm Mahle pistons, which were also supplied to Brabus for their 6.0 and 6.0 supercharged (Mosselman). The last two set of those pistons were purchased by my mate and me. They ran 5 figures as they cannot be duplicated, ie they were made of a special alloy that prevents the engine from breaking. Reproducing them is of no issue but one can’t get the alloy right and Mahle won’t make any more. My 5.4 is actually mated to a forged 5.0 crank made for the SEC race car.

    The 4-valve engines are too finicky, as they use motorcycle valves. Also the heads, like any other AMG part, is made of poor casting. One should coat the heads or just get them remade out of a billet. The A is a businessman and cheapskate, the M the engineer and innovator. They usually just grabbed an unrelated Mercedes part and rebranded it AMG and sold it for a ton. For example, the M117 5.0 starts in 2nd gear. AMG offered a valve body that made it start in 1st. Well, they just used a standard 380 one.

    Btw, the 4 into 2 into 1 exhaust is not as good as the 4 into 1. Also the 5.0 produced more power than the 5.6 but what was released to the public was not always true. Best engines were the early 5.0s (like yours). All you need is a 380 valve body and a little tuning. The engines rev fantastically. My favorite is my 5.4 mated to a 5-speed in an R107. The worst, a 6.0-32 with 5-speed in a C123.

    • Dirty Old Cars
      March 11, 2020

      Great information. Thank you again for sharing!

      • Gengenbach
        March 11, 2020

        Any time. There is another response o’mine 4 paragraphs up.

    • Dirty Old Cars
      March 12, 2020

      Btw, the 4 into 2 into 1 exhaust is not as good as the 4 into 1.

      Are you referring to the tri-y headers vs the amg version of the headers?

      • Gengenbach
        March 12, 2020

        According to a mechanical engineer who was part of the M117 development, the standard Euro manifold (4 into 1) works best. This is most likely what you have in the SEC. The Tri-Y works nearly as well, is prettier though and is what I prefer because of looks. The AMG one is similar, has a smaller end opening and is therefore not as efficient as the Tri-Y.

        Btw, AMG’s 5.2 used 98.5mm pistons (standard was 96.5) and it was a cheaper alternative as that is the larges bore for using the standard head gasket. Don’t know of any 5.2s though.

        Yours most likely has a standard engine, as the exhaust is not upgraded.

        • Dirty Old Cars
          March 12, 2020

          I am only aware of one car with genuine amg headers. I didn’t know it was not as efficient

        • Dirty Old Cars
          March 12, 2020

          How can you tell if you have a 5.2 or 5.5 ? What would you look for on the engine ?

          • Gengenbach
            March 12, 2020

            AMG brought out the headers and MB copied them and made them more efficient, hence why.

            As I stated, there should be a 5,0, 5,2 or 5,4 stamped in next to the engine number. Just fyi, I faked mine as I used my own long block with AMG bits inside and used the latter EFI which is better. I believe in restomodding an original car with original parts, ie you putting Recaro C81 into the car, etc. Even my Alpina B7S uses an M5 forged crank.

            • Dirty Old Cars
              March 12, 2020

              I like Restomod as well
              There is a company in Europe selling a twin turbo set up and a supercharger for the m117

  • Gengenbach
    March 12, 2020

    Which company is that?

    One problem I have is that the new bits don’t fit the old cars. They are more efficient but look wrong. As an example I bought an old Twin Turbo from a 1984 Koenig SL and am going to rebuilt it and put it into an SLC. The intercooler is huge and ugly and the welds are horrid, really bad. However I like it and am just cleaning up the welds an rebuilt the Turbos with better internals. However the system needs to look it’s 1984 part. Albrex and Koenig offered these systems.

    Superchargers were offered by three firms: Mosselman (Paxton unit) and Albrex. They were basically all the same and are non-intercooled. I was thinking in intercooling it somehow but it would look wrong in the engine bay, so running it on low pressure with 9:1 compression on a 560 engine is good enough.

    What I didn’t like in any of their systems were the airfilter arrangement which was either cone for Turbos or BMW M30 for supercharger. Using the air-filter boxes from the W107 or W116 with M110 engine is so much more elegant.

    • Gengenbach
      March 12, 2020

      They’re Estonian, but good stuff. I”d get their W201 Evo1 bodykit. These systems are very effecient. Twinscrew supercharger through air-water intercooler, or turbos through intercooler.

      Again, it would look wrong in a classic car even though it’s better. The older systems just have a raw look and feel to it that can’t be surpassed imho.

      • Dirty Old Cars
        March 12, 2020

        I agree
        The old stuff is so rare and expensive. I’m not sure people have seen the original stuff before. It’s good to document it

        • Gengenbach
          March 12, 2020

          It was this picture that pulled me into the tuner scene back in the days:

          http://nast-sonderfahrzeuge.de/MB-Exotenforum/img/uploaded/image19831.jpg

          • Dirty Old Cars
            March 12, 2020

            Im a huge fan of the tuner scene in the 80s
            AMG AC Schnitzer Alpina Koenig Gemballa were my favorite

            Could you post a link to the image
            I don’t think I can see it

            • Gengenbach
              March 12, 2020

              I can see the link (I did include it). Just search this term on google: AMG 500sec “luzifer lockt”

              Otherwise I’ll email it to you.

              • Dirty Old Cars
                March 13, 2020

                Do you know if the recaro seat bracket is the same for the 190e as well as the w126 500sec ?

                • Gengenbach
                  March 13, 2020

                  Recaro adapter part 085.40.110.00 is for the W116, W123 and W126. On others it won’t fit.

              • Dirty Old Cars
                March 13, 2020

                I just looked up AMG 500sec “luzifer lockt”

                Beautiful car
                That’s my ideal version of the car

          • Dirty Old Cars
            March 13, 2020

            Any idea where this car is now ?

            • Gengenbach
              March 13, 2020

              No clue – I’m actually the last person to ask about the whereabouts of famous tuner cars. The forum members know much better.

              • Dirty Old Cars
                March 14, 2020

                I am having some issues fixing my Clarion G80 sound system. Do you know anything about them?

              • Dirty Old Cars
                March 17, 2020

                What projects are you working on ?