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.