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Mercedes Benz 420SEL Parts and Mercedes Benz 420SEL Accessories

Seven Fun Facts about the Mercedes-Benz 420SEL

  • Ever wondered what the SEL in the 420SEL actually means? SEL denotes the fact that the W126 model-variant had a long wheelbase. Meanwhile, the 420 SE had a short wheelbase while the 420SEC was a coupe.
  • In 1973, Mercedes-Benz began planning for its next S-Class generation that it codenamed "Project W126." It took more than six years of dreaming and designing and the 1970s oil crisis before the company debuted their initial lineup at the 1979 International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany. The 420SEL was a part of this premiere lineup, as a long-wheelbase variant.

  • The M116 engine that powered up the Mercedes-Benz 420SEL was manufactured in Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt. This German region also produced automotive legends such as Daimler, Maybach, Bosch, and Porsche, earning it the title of "The cradle of the automobile." Stuttgart residents have even gone as far as to call their city "Benztown."

  • While the 420SEL and its fellow W126 S-Class variants were being conceptualized in the 1970s, the oil crisis occurred and their engineers decided to make sure that their vehicles were fuel efficient. By the time it retired in the early 1990s, the 420SEL had an official combined MPG rating of 17 miles per gallon.

  • In 1991, the average American who drove 15,000 miles would have spent 1,279 USD on a year's worth of fuel for their Mercedes-Benz 420SEL. This was calculated according to a gas price of 1.45 USD per gallon and the vehicle's EPA Combined MPG of 17 miles per gallon.

  • True to the neo-noir comic series by Frank Miller, the Sin City movie version also featured a 1990 Mercedes-Benz 420SEL. One of the main characters, Marv, even commented "The Padre drove a Mercedes, or at least that's what they're passing off as a Mercedes these days. Modern cars, they all look like electric shavers."

  • Hollywood seems to love using the Mercedes-Benz 420SEL in its car chase sequences. Since its 1987 appearance in Tropical Heat, it has been featured in 10 movies and television series. On the big screen, its notable stunt performances could be seen in 1995's Crying Freeman, 1998's Lethal Weapon 4, and 1999's The Limey. Meanwhile, TV viewers enjoyed its appearances in series such as Top Gear, Tropical Heat, and Alias.

Mercedes Benz 420SEL Articles

  • The Quirks of the Mercedes-Benz 420SEL 26 February 2013

    During the 1970s, Mercedes-Benz was scrambling to ensure that it remained the leader in luxury sedans by designing its next S-Class generation. The company wanted to create a model with an improved ride, better handling, and improved fuel efficiency. In 1979, it formally introduced the W126 and its model-variants at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany. One of these variants was the long-wheelbase 420 version known as the 420SEL.


    Common W126 quirks

    The 420SEL was just one of the model-variants of the W126 released by Mercedes-Benz in 1979. Its German engineering has made the W126 a classic S-Class model with a twelve-year production run. But, it has also acquired a few quirks that its owners have learned to deal with.

    For instance, W126 owners know to close the rear vent during the winter because it will always blow cold air, even with the heater turned on. They also know that the bounce test isn't a good indicator of how worn out their car's shocks are since the W126 model-variants aren't as springy as sedans from other brands. Instead, they will examine the shocks for any leaks to know if they need to be replaced. Finally, they know that they need to regularly clean the contacts between the seats and window switches so that they work all the time. Otherwise, this switch will work at odd intervals.


    Difficulty with cold starts

    The Mercedes-Benz 420SEL itself has had an issue with its fuel distributor. It may sometimes refuse to start cold even if it will fire up with a little gas and some backfiring. Despite cleaning the cold start valve with a cleaning solution, the fuel distributor may still have a hard time cranking up.

    To solve this, 420SEL drivers need to ensure that their overall fuel mixtures aren't too lean as this can give them some trouble starting. Then they need to make sure that the cold start valve is getting power and ground when the motor is being cranked. The valve only works for up to 10 seconds when the motor is cranked while its cold, so make sure that it isn't spraying fuel out instead.