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Padova Finarte / Collector Cars

Friday 25 October 2019 • Padua



Mercedes-Benz 350 SD (Mercedes-Benz), 1991


€ 13.000 - 17.000

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chassis no. WDBCB34E4MA586473Model produced exclusively for US market. Excellent condition. Rare: O
  • Model produced exclusively for US market.
  • Excellent condition.Rare: One of about 2000 from a total of almost 900,000 W126’s.
  • Perhaps the only example in Italy.
  • Powerful and flexible turbodiesel engine

New Italian registration and license plates, in order.
  • Giro di Sicilia. Eligible.
  • Targa Florio Legend. Eligible.
  • Goodwood Revival. Eligible
  • Nürburgring Classic. Eligible.
  • Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Eligible.
  • Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Eligible.
  • Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille. Eligible.
  • Concorso d’eleganza Villa D’Este. Eligible.


The model
W126 was the project code for a luxury car produced by Mercedes-Benz between 1979 and 1991 marketed and known as the "S-Class" (the car was continued to be produced in South Africa until 1994). The genesis of the W126 series began very early, as soon as the previous W116 series was completed; despite being a luxury car it was none the less heavily influenced by the 1973 oil crisis. More efficient engines, better aerodynamics and a lighter body were developed. The general manager of the project was Werner Breitschwerdt, while the lines were entrusted to the Italian Bruno Sacco, for the first time design-responsible. To reduce mass, special steels that were both stiffer and lighter were used. The body was designed for the first time using CAD/CAM technology, further refining the criteria for programmed deformation. The engines were largely derived from existing engines, but revised in order to improve their efficiency. Bruno Sacco's task was to design a very aerodynamic car: the wind tunnel studies allowed a Cx of 0.36, by far the lowest in its category. The presentation of the car took place at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1979. The W126 did not present, compared to the previous model, revolutionary technical solutions, but a meticulous (almost maniacal) refinement of all its components. The car maintained the classic longitudinal front engine and rear wheel drive setting, but the substitute of the W116 can be considered the first modern flagship of the Stuttgart company; it was in fact the first Mercedes-Benz to use electronics and to use plastic for bumpers and fascias. For these elements and for the line, it is considered as the watershed model between the classic and modern flagships. From the design point of view, the W126 initially aroused some perplexity among the more traditionalist customers: the aesthetic shift from the rest of the Mercedes-Benz production was remarkable, with connected lines that made it appear much less imposing than the W116. However, the level of finish, the classic interior design, the high level of safety and the absolute comfort on board were perfectly in line with the tradition of the 3-pointed star. For these reasons, despite initial criticism, the W126 quickly established itself in its market. Over the years, the series was offered in three main body variants: saloon, limousine (an elongated wheelbase saloon, marked SEL) and coupe (SEC). At the time of the launch, the proposed versions were: the 280 S, with a 2.8 litre carburettor engine; the 280 SE, a variant with Bosch mechanical injection; the 380 SE, which had a new 3.8 litre light alloy engine; the 500 SE, equipped with a 5 litre V8 that produced up to 240 hp. All of them characterized by high torque, which allowed these engines to give remarkable performance without great effort. As a result, it was easy to reach distances of over 500,000 km with the same engine and gearbox. The 6-cylinder versions were equipped with either a manual or automatic 4-speed gearbox, while those with V8 engines had only a 4-speed automatic gearbox. A new energy crisis, in the same year as the presentation of the W126 series, led to the so-called Energy Program, aimed at increasing the efficiency of the engines. In 1981, an optional driver's airbag was offered, which was ordered by very few customers. There were no significant changes until October 1985, when the W126 series underwent major upgrades. Aesthetically, slightly revised front and rear bumpers were used. 15-inch wheels with new low profile tyres are introduced. From a mechanical point of view, the 2.8 version was retired in favour of two engines: a 2.6-litre, present only in some markets, and a 3-litre. The 3.8-litre capacity was increased to 4.2. While, the 5 litre list remains unchanged but with the addition of a 5.6 litre V8, capable of delivering 299 hp. All the engines are equipped with mechanical-electronic injection instead of simply mechanical. The equipment is also greatly enriched. The versions with V8 engines could be equipped with ASR, the electronically controlled anti-slip device, on request. The car had a remarkable commercial success for an exclusive car sector: in total, 893,591 W126 units were produced.
The car
The Mercedes-Benz 350 SD (Mercedes-Benz), chassis no. WDBCB34E4MA586473 is a very rare example of the W126. The 300 SD Turbodiesel was proposed in 1981, exclusively for the North American market, equipped with a turbocharged in-line 5-cylinder, 3-litre diesel engine and automatic transmission, capable of reaching a maximum power of 125 hp. In 1985, the year of the biggest changes to the series, in the USA, the 300 SD was replaced by the 300 SDL long wheelbase and, in the next five years, there were no diesel saloons with normal wheelbase. In 1990, a diesel engine in a normal wheelbase saloon was proposed once again, along with a long wheelbase saloon. The 350 SD (and SDL) Turbodiesel was introduced, again for the North American market and always exclusively with automatic transmission. The model was equipped with a new 136 hp 3.5 litre engine. The 11 hp increase in power, compared to the previous 3 litre of the 300 SD, was modest and the figure was lower than the 3 litre engine of the 300 SDL, but the contribution of torque was remarkable: increasing from 250 Nm to 310 Nm and disposable at significantly lower revs, at 2000 rpm instead of 2400 rpm, giving the car an even more remarkable running flexibility. The Mercedes-Benz 350 SD chassis no. WDBCB34E4MA586473 is a 1991 model, the last year of production of the W126 series (excluding those produced in South Africa). Of the total of 893,591 W126 units, only 2066 units of the 350 SD were produced. Making this, the second rarest variant of the W126, preceded only by the 560 SE (with 1252 examples produced). The car is in almost mint condition and has all the specifications of the models for the U.S. market, from the speedometer with double scale in miles and kilometers, to the special front lights. The odometer marks "only" 126,340 miles - very low for the model. The bodywork is dark blue, with light blue leather interior. It is equipped with double front airbags, automatic air conditioning and a Mercedes-Benz-branded Becker car radio. The original toolbox is still in the boot and the first aid kit under the rear window. The car was registered in Italy in 2018. This type of car is, as we know, extremely long-living and a sort of "addiction" to those who are lucky enough to own one. An American enthusiast and connoisseur of cars, who owns a similar model since new and who continues to use daily, said that "at the same cost, I would prefer to continue to invest in the maintenance of my SD, rather than change cars”. The Mercedes-Benz 350 SD with chassis no. WDBCB34E4MA586473 offers the possibility to sit behind the wheel of a classic car that feels almost new.
State of the Art
Well preserved, excellent condition.


  • Nik Greene, Mercedes-Benz W126 S-Class 1979-1991, The Crowood Press, UK 2019.
  • Heribert Hofner, Mercedes-Benz W 126: Die S-Klasse - Das beste Auto der Welt, Heel Verlag, D 2018.

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Condition report

To request a Condition Report, please contact The department will provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Please note that what Finarte declares with respect to the state of conservation of the objects corresponds only to a qualified opinion and that we are not professional conservators or restorers. We urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. We always suggest prospective buyers to inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition during the exhibition days as indicated in the catalog.

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