With a new crop of hybrid supercars taking over the performance car scene, it’s easy to forget about the automotive legends of the past. We are not talking about Lamborghinis, Porsches, or Ferraris, but an iconic Mercedes-Benz jewel with AMG DNA thick in its veins. Ladies and gents, this here is the legendary V8-powered Mercedes-Benz 500 SEC AMG.
Forgive yourself if you’ve not had the privilege of feasting yourself on this artistic, automotive piece of widebody V8 awesomeness – not many humans have, and the few that still chomp their glorious octad cylinders only exist as art pieces, neatly preserved for the next generation of performance enthusiasts, in museums, and private car collections.
Like any other tuner company that made it to the commercial scene, AMG (Aufrecht, Melcher, and Großaspach) was initially an independent luxury car tuning outfit. Pre-merger (the 70s and early 80s), they focused on making performance upgrades on Mercedes-Benz models. But the release of the Mercedes-Benz 500 AMG, the so-called Hammer, sent ripples through the automotive scene, earning them a seat on the global stage in the process.
Take a minute and think about this. In the 80s, few performance cars could match up to a Lamborghini or Ferrari. But here was a tuned-up sedan that churned out supercar performance figures and could easily take out industry leaders.
Legend of the Mercedes-Benz 500 ‘Hammer’ sedan
AMG gutted out the 300E’s 3-liter I6 and, in its place, squeezed in a 6.0-liter V8 engine. The 6.0-liter V8 was, in fact, a modified 5.5-liter V8 ripped out of an S-Class Mercedes-Benz. They thrusted it into the league of supercars, and AMG swapped out the S-Class’ single-cam two-valve cylinder head for a twin-cam four-valve setup. That’s not all.
They also upgraded its fuel injection system and used a rear differential from the S-Class. The result was a 6.0-liter V8 super sedan capable of pushing 355 hp (360 ps) and 388 lb-ft (526 Nm) of torque. Matched with a four-speed automatic gearbox, the Mercedes Hammer V8 could do 0-60 mph (97 kph) in 5 seconds. This was a scarce car, with about 30 units produced (five coupes) and only thirteen units shipped to the United States.
Rare unrestored 1985 Mercedes 500 SEC AMG (C126)
If you’ve been following our barn find pieces, you might have read about a rare secret collection of AMG and Brabus Mercedes Car (including an ex-Saudi Arabian Embassy 500 SEL) discovered by Jonny Smith of The Late Brake Show on YouTube.
The collection, owned by Neville Brown, a performance classic car collector based in Surrey, England, had a hidden gem – the 1985 Mercedes 500 SEC AMG (C126) with 52,436 miles (84,387 kilometers) on the odometer.
According to the owner, this rare ’80s performance car (number plate CC 77) belonged to a film producer known as Chris Christophers. It was taken new to car tuner Strattons of Wilmslow, who converted it into a Mercedes W126 or C126 widebody.
This ’85 Mercedes 500 SEC AMG was also rare. Back in the ’80s, you had to be an AMG concessionaire to get all the rare parts for mods (AMG was based in Germany). There were only two AMG Concessions in the UK, Duncan Hamilton and Strattons of Wilmson.
“You would basically order a Mercedes through Strattons or take your own, and they would do the conversion for you using all their parts,” Neville revealed. “The engines, allegedly, were not built in the UK. They were shipped over,” he added.
Only six engines shipped to the UK
Neville believes only six engines were shipped and modified in the Mercedes 500 SEC AMG. Unlike other vehicles in his collection, this automotive art piece from the ’80s has gathered dust for the last 17 years.
The car was ordered new with the body kit, wheels, and interior bits. The only modification done was under the hood. It might be covered in dust, with a broken window, but it’s in far better condition than most barn finds we’ve documented covered in rubble. As you’d expect, this 1985 Mercedes 500 SEC AMG has a full widebody AMG body kit complete with chunky wheels (Penta 9 x 16 J/front and 10 x 16 j/rear).
The exterior styling is reminiscent of early generation-one AMG treatment with C78880170 AMG Widebody kit and satin black chrome treatment (fiberglass wings).
Under the hood, this particular ’85 Mercedes 500 SEC AMG packs a 5-liter V8 engine with 32-valve DOHC AMG ‘Hammer’ heads good for 335 hp (340 ps) and 337 lb-ft (457 Nm) of torque.
Will it run after 17 years?
Neville stumbled upon this gem by chance. He was looking for an engine for his ex-Saudi Arabian Embassy Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL AMG, and this rare gem came up as a possible donor car in 2006. The original idea was to swap the engine into his SK123 and restore it to its pride and glory. Fortunately, he didn’t move forward with the plan to do the conversion after he found another engine.
Like other barn-find episodes on The Late Brake Show, Smith and Neville tried to get it running for the first time in a while. We recommend watching the video below. If you love early AMG cars, you’ll learn a thing or two about reviving these glorious machines.