Mercedes-Benz introduced its new medium-sized, S-Class range at the International Motor Show, Frankfurt in 1979, there being no fewer than seven models with the new W126 body style. As with the superseded W116 range, ‘S-Class’ was an abbreviation for Sonderklasse (Special Class). Launched at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1985, the 560 SEC coupé was an addition to the W126 line-up and the most powerful of the three luxury coupés then on offer. This new model retained the existing bodyshell virtually unchanged but was powered by the new 5,547cc version of the M117 all-alloy V8 engine producing 300bhp (DIN). The 5½-litre engine was also used for Mercedes-Benz’s luxury flagship, the 560 SEL saloon, though customers resident in the USA had to make do with considerably less powerful versions of both models. The running gear followed Mercedes-Benz’s established pattern, comprising all-independent suspension and four-wheel disc brakes, but there was no longer a choice of transmissions, a four-speed automatic being the only one on offer. Compared with the superseded W116, the W126 was aerodynamically more efficient, a factor that enabled the range to meet the requirement’s of Mercedes-Benz’s ‘Energy Program’, instigated to improve fuel efficiency. Many commented on the distinctly Italian flavour of the new styling which, combined with Mercedes-Benz’s traditional exemplary build quality, made this new S-Class so appealing. Despite weighing almost 1¾ tons, the 560 SEC raced to 100km/h (62mph) in only 7.2 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 156mph, these figures being a considerable improvement over those of the 500 SEC. As befitted one of Mercedes-Benz’s flagships, the 560 SEC came standard with a host of desirable features, while customers could choose from an equally lengthy list of options. Despite its elevated price, the 560 SEC would turn out to be the most popular of the W126 coupés. Surely destined to be classics of the future, 28,929 examples of this luxuriously equipped, limited edition model were made between 1985 and 1991. Delivered new in Milan, Italy on 9th October 1987, and thus one of the rarer European specification 300 horsepower models, this 500 SEC is finished in black metallic with grey leather interior, and is equipped with air conditioning and a sliding steel sunroof. The car has recently benefited from a new set of tyres, a new exhaust system, and new shock absorbers all round, while at the same time the alloy wheels were refurbished. Offered with Italian registration documents and an Italian language owner’s manual.