1988 Mercedes 560SEC 6.0 AMG Wide Body

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1988 Mercedes 560SEC 6.0 AMG Wide Body

Spotted in Los Angeles is a 1988 Mercedes 560SEC 6.0 AMG Wide Body for $158,999 USD. These super rare Pre Merger cars have become very popular lately. Less than 50 examples built. This one for sale on Ebay has 126,000 original miles. It is a documented 6.0 widebody car which had steel fenders not fiberglass. Unfortunately the 4 valve heads were removed at some point in its life. Still a rare and very sought after car. There are currently 53 watchers on Ebay.

VIN WDBCA45D4JA381519

Price $158,999 USD

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1988 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC 6.0 AMG ‘Wide Body’

This is a rare opportunity to own a genuine 6.0L AMG Mercedes Benz 560 SEC ‘Wide Body’ car.   If you are reading this listing you are probably familiar with these cars, which were the top of the range for Mercedes and the ultimate in performance and style from AMG.   A quick refresher just in case –

Before AMG was a subsidiary of Daimler AG, it was an independent tuner established by Daimler-Benz engineers Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher (the G is from Grossaspach, Aufrecht’s birthplace) to modify engines and sell performance accessories for Mercedes-Benz automobiles. By the late 1980s, the business had reached the stage where customers were special-ordering fully modified automobiles developed by AMG in its plant in Affalterbach, Germany.

The 560 SEC AMG was perhaps the most fabled of these “pre-merger” upgraded automobiles. The top-of the line performance version was powered by a 6.0-liter DOHC “Hammer” engine, designed and built at Affalterbach.  The true “Hammer” 6.0-liter versions used AMG custom quad-cam heads with four valves per cylinder, producing twice the torque at half the engine speed of the original 5.6-liter Mercedes-Benz engine.  Some 6.0 liter engines were equipped with AMG modified Mercedes M117.968 560 heads, which were ported and polished and had a more aggressive cam profile.  Output for the 4V / DOHC 6.0 liter “Hammer” version was 385 HP.  Output for the 2V / SOHC 6.0 liter version was 360 HP. 

On the outside, the car was fitted with a distinctive AMG-designed 12 piece body kit, including front and rear fenders and door panels that allowed much wider 9 and 10 inch AMG 5 spoke road wheels (or later 10 and 12 inch 3-piece AMG / OZ Racing wheels), inspiring the nickname “Wide Body.”

The cost of the AMG 560 SEC 6.0, including the original automobile, with the upgraded engine, body panels, suspension pieces, and assembly, was $200,000 or more, depending on the extent of the upgrades.  Nevertheless, waiting lists rapidly developed for the few that would be produced.  Initial plans were for 100 units, but experts today believe that fewer than 50 were actually built.

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The history on this example, to the best of my knowledge, is as follows –

The car began life as a 1988 model year, 040 black on 271 black, US-spec 560 SEC.  This example, like all the US-spec 560 SECs that received ‘Wide Body’ conversions, was assembled by AMG North America in Westmont, Illinois.  The 6.0L DOHC M117 engine was shipped from Affalterbach for installation in Westmont.  (A few AMG engines were assembled by Motorcraft in Bensenville, Illinois from parts manufactured and shipped from Germany so it’s also possible that is the case.) 

I am the 3rd owner.  It has been in California since at least 1996 — and was sold either originally or at that time by AMG’s licensed West Coast distributor, Beverly Hills Motoring Accessories / BHMA.  I have documentation as far back as 1996 to verify this, including the period-correct California license plate, the original BHMA rear license plate frame, the BHMA dealer placard and a bunch of receipts from well-known Costa Mesa, CA independent mechanic Bruce Strauss. 

The original AMG modifications included –

PERFORMANCE
*6.0L DOHC M117 engine
*AMG exhaust including AMG / Sebring muffler and chrome AMG tips

*AMG modified valve body automatic transmission
*AMG springs / suspension


EXTERIOR
*Genuine AMG Widebody Kit.  Fenders are STEEL (not fiberglass).  Correct original front and rear spoilers on Gen1 Euro bumpers.  Rare front bumper license plate delete.  NOTE:  The car does NOT have the original trunk spoiler.  The original was warped and I did not want to use a poor quality reproduction.  I prefer the look without the rear spoiler anyway. 

*16x9j / 16x10j AMG 5-spoke road wheels, centers painted 040 black

*Fully “dipped”– 040 black paint / chrome delete

*Metal “AMG” and “6.0” trunk badges

INTERIOR
*AMG speedometer gauges with painted needles
*AMG Floor Mats

*AMG Burlwood shift knob

RECENT HISTORY

I bought the car in 2015 in Costa Mesa, CA and it underwent an extensive “open checkbook” frame-on restoration.  Here is a list of repairs.  I have receipts and photos of just about everything —

MECHANICAL  
*Complete top-end engine rebuild. 

NOTE: When I bought the car the 4V heads were gone.  Some of the 4V heads had problems with leaks.  Perhaps that was the case with this car — the prior owner replaced them but did not keep them.  However, I have no reason to doubt this is a true 6.0L 4V car as it has the correct bottom-end with the 100mm pistons as well as the tell-tale modified firewall and battery tray that all the 4V cars had.  In addition, I have the receipt from Bruce Strauss from when he “swapped out” the 4V heads and replaced them with 2V heads and AMG cams.   The car now has new OEM Mercedes 16 / 17 ECE cams, with freshly rebuilt 560 heads.  The heads were rebuilt and received a port and polish at MotorWorks in San Diego.  Sergio at MotorWorks is very familiar with these M117 engines and the AMG performance modifications. 

Additional engine work includes —
*New timing chain, guides and rails

*Complete new fuel system, including new OEM fuel lines, new Bosch injectors, injector seals and OEM O-rings, new OEM Fuel pressure regulator and a rebuilt fuel distributor from Larry at CIS/Flowtech.   
*New cap, rotor, plugs and wires
*Fresh ceramic coated OEM Mercedes “Tri-Y” headers with OEM Mercedes downpipes

*New radiator and hoses

Other major mechanical work includes —
*Freshly rebuilt transmission

*New front end work / including tie-rods and strut rod bushings

*New rear suspension / accumulators

*New battery

All work was done at reputable Southern California shops.  The engine assembly was done by Herbert at German Motor Car Service in Santa Monica.  Engine tuning was done by Frank at Star Motorsport in West LA.

EXTERIOR

*The car was disassembled and resprayed in the correct original 040 black by a local shop that I work with.  They have painted many C126 Mercedes and 2 other ‘Wide Body’ coupes. 

*The original 16-inch 9j x 10j AMG Road Wheels were refinished by Mike at TruWheel.  Centers were painted 040 black.  New rubber was installed — Correct spec BF-Goodrich G-Force 245/50/16 front and 255/50/16 rear tires

*Refurbished and period-correct AMG (not ///AMG) muffler tips were installed

*C140 black glass sunroof with new seal installed.  This is a really nice upgrade but of course if you want 100% stock I also have the original metal sunroof panel that was resprayed when the car was painted. 

*Yellow “euro” / “french-style” front fog lights installed (to replace the clear US-spec fogs)

*New Amber “euro” front blinker lights installed (to replace the lighter US-spec blinkers)

*New Amber “euro” rear tail lights

I would say the exterior is a 9 out of 10.  Most important to me — it is really straight.  All the panels are clean, there are no waves that I can see anywhere and all the gaps between panels are really nice and even.  Again, the panels on this car are really nice and straight — super-important on a car like this! 

I have driven the car so it does have a couple of road chips (door lip and wheelwell).  The only other flaw on the exterior that I can think of is some of the rubber window trim should be replaced. I have the OEM Mercedes parts for this

INTERIOR

I gutted the car and replaced and / or refurbished the entire interior.  This includes –

*Complete 271 code black leather interior from a wrecked, low-mile late Gen2 560SEC.  The late Gen2 SECs have the best interiors, including the AMG-style pleated door panels and the front and rear wood roll-top boxes. 

*New OEM-pattern and color headliner

*Refurbished rear package tray (and removed ugly 3rd brake light that clutters the rear window)

*New OEM Mercedes floor mats (I also have the original gray AMG floor mats with black piping but they are a bit tired)

*Refurbished AMG speedometer cluster.  (I have both the original AMG cluster with gray gauges that came with the car as well as another AMG cluster with white gauges)

*New stereo and speakers.  Head unit and speakers are in stock locations.  Nothing was cut or modified. 

*Refinished burlwood.  Every single piece of burlwood in the car — from dash, to center console, to shifter surround, to front and rear roll-top boxes — was professionally refinished to original lustre. 

*New leather and chrome shift knob with period-correct AMG Affalterbach (not ///AMG) badge

*New MOMO leather steering wheel with period-correct AMG Affalterbach (not ///AMG) horn button.  (The car came equipped with the ‘bus driver’ OEM Mercedes W126 steering wheel so I opted for the period-correct looking black leather MOMO with stitching and the brushed aluminum spokes)

I would say the interior is an 8.5 or 9 out of 10.  A couple of easy fixes would take it up a notch  

DRIVING THE CAR

The car runs and drives well.  The 6.0 liter engine puts down plenty of torque and power.  The car goes down the road straight and stops.  Everything works, from the lights to the A/C to the radio, to the sunroof, to the power antenna to all switches and functions… everything.  All the windows roll up and down freely.  The doors shut like they should on a C126.  The engine bay is clean enough to eat off and does not show any leaks.  It is registered in California thru October of 2020.

I’ve sorted out all the big stuff but there are still a few things that I would do if I were going to keep the car.  The passenger side seat belt presenter gear is slipping.  The plastic trim piece that covers the seat rails on the very bottom of the driver seat is cracked.  (I have OEM pieces for both the driver and passenger side.) The rolltop key is locked in the front rolltop box (Don’t ask…).   There are two small chips in the original Sekurit windshield.  The odometer gear in the white AMG cluster that’s in the car is stripped but I’ve rebuilt the original Gray AMG cluster with new gears so it just needs to be installed.  



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