Salt of the Earth – 1989 Mercedes-Benz 260SE

Earth to earth, dust to dust. Some time ago I posted an another W126 with the driver’s side front corner duct-taped together; I knew these suckers rust there like any ’80s Merc does, but nothing prepared me to this sight.

This metallic almandine red (quite tasteful colour, actually) W126 was sitting at the railway station. Just as most US-model S-classes are 500SEL:s with all the bells and whistles, here’s an original Finnish car in an original Finnish spec: a 260SE with cloth.

So, it appears the fender forms a shelf for all salty crap to accumulate and if it’s not rinsed diligently, it develops rust. I don’t think anything on this car has been diligently rinsed for a while, since the dirt on it is on quite thick. The car was advertised for sale some time ago for 2400ish EUR; that would be rather reasonable were there not a seller’s conscience-sized hole in the fender. “A MERCEDES for pocket cash”, as the ad said.

The colour makes the car look like a 1989 heyday lottery winner car. “Let’s go buy an S-Class, in lustrous red” so the neighbours will notice, but inside there can be unassuming cloth and under the hood can be a 2.6-litre 160-hp M103 six instead of a big V8.

Speaking of the hood, it doesn’t fit too well on the passenger side. The fender corner is probably just as rusty on this side, too.

There’s rust developing in pretty much between every plastic cladding panel on the car. The fender indicator is also probably held on by dirt.

Looking at the Hankook winter tires, I’m reminded of Will Smith’s hobo superhero character Hancock. The car is pretty much in such state right now, fallen from glory. With well-resprayed replacement panels, the car could well be restored; despite the rust damage the W126 still seems to stand tall.

Then again, if that dark puddle under the rear of the car is rear differential oil…


[Images: Copyright 2012 Hooniverse/Antti Kautonen]

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