Streetside Classics - Nashville
6000 Reliance Dr
This is it, the ultimate luxury sedan of the 1980s. Seen in movies, on TV, and any time you needed to have someone look like a seriously big shot, you used a carlike this 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL. The long-wheelbase (that's the "L") version was the Mercedes-Benz flagship and even though it's now 36 years old, this imposing sedan shows you that these were truly engineered like no other car in the world.
Still wearing its factory-applied Lapis Blue Metallic paint, this S-Class exudes quality from every surface. Sure, there are signs of age, but for your $52,000 (remember, these are 1983 dollars) you got one heck of an impressive finish, and it's stood the test of time. It's still shiny and rich-looking, and aside from some light checking, fading, and the usual imperfections, it should really respond well to a professional cut and buff. All four doors close with a well-damped "Whomp," and every single moving part feels like it's part of a well-oiled mechanism. The gray lower cladding makes the car look even longer than it is and helps blend the big US-spec bumpers into the overall look. The grille up front is bright chrome and should look familiar to, well, just about everyone, and there's just enough shiny trim to add an upscale look without being pretentious.
Mercedes-Benz called the tan cloth interior "Velours Grey," but whatever the name, it's a nice complement to the blue bodywork. In an era where many Mercedes models were almost austere inside, the supple fabrics and supportive bucket seats make it all-day comfortable and quite bright and airy inside. The burled wood insert on the dash and center console is real wood and definitely warms things up, and everything you can imagine was standard: climate control, power windows, locks, and seats, a sunroof, and a Kenwood AM/FM/CD stereo system. The interior has seen better days, and a full-blown detail would go a long way, although a few components will need to be replaced down the line. Thankfully, they made a bunch of these, so parts are fairly easy to come by. It's all originally preserved, suggesting that the 157,460 miles it has covered were enjoyed by owner's who didn't want to mess with the originality. The rear seats offer limousine-like accommodations for two and the trunk is massive, perfect for a cross-continent road trip.
Mercedes-Benz's 5.0 liter SOHC V8 engine delivers the kind of power that's easy to under-estimate. It's the quintessential luxury car powerplant, smooth, unobtrusive, but very effective. It's one of the most robust machines to come out of Stuttgart, from a time when engineers ruled the company, and it's been properly maintained all its life. Under the hood there's no evidence that this car has ever lived in a winter climate, and although it's a bit grimy, it's definitely solid. The 4-speed automatic transmission provides effortless high-speed cruising, and while the transmission starts in 2nd gear in most cases, a sharp prod of the accelerator pedal makes this big sedan rear up and blast off like a muscle car. The all-independent suspension and 4-wheel disc brakes are supremely competent under most circumstances, allowing all 5000 pounds of luxury sedan to hustle along with aplomb without jostling passengers. Familiar Mercedes-Benz 6-spoke wheels are fitted with 225/50/16 Dunlop radials for a flashier look and feel.
This is a shocking amount of luxury, performance, and prestige for relative pocket change, and we don't think you'll find many S-Class sedans of this vintage at this price point. Call today!
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