Offered for sale is an exceptionally clean, mechanically excellent, three-owner Southern California example of the vaunted W124 Mercedes-Benz E500, finished is desirable Black Pearl Metallic over a grey leather interior and showing 154k original, well-cared-for miles. Conceived and hand-built in close collaboration with Porsche in Zuffenhausen, the 500E/E500 is one of the rarest, most desirable Mercedes models of the era, a true predecessor to the in-house AMG performance model range still popular with enthusiasts today.
Sold new by Rusnak Mercedes-Benz of Pasadena, CA, the car was serviced exclusively at Los Angeles area dealerships, remaining with its original owner until 1999, when it was traded-in and sold as a Starmark Certified Pre-Owned example by Cutter Motors, the Mercedes dealership here in Santa Barbara, CA (now Santa Barbara Auto Group). The third owner acquired the car locally in 2001 with +/-68k miles and, like its two previous owners, has always provided the car the utmost care, always keeping it garaged, regularly detailed and extensively serviced by one of the region’s best Mercedes mechanics. The result of each of the owners’ high level of care throughout the years is a car that looks as good and drives as well as many of the much lower mileage examples we’ve encountered.
The stack of service records is extensive and dates back to the 3rd owner’s acquisition (the service booklet and CPO assessment can speak to the car’s service history and condition prior), however we’ve included a photo of the labor snapshot between 2004 and 2016. It tells the tale of a meticulously maintained example: whenever the car needed anything, it was done, and you can feel it from behind the wheel. The 5.0L V8 engine starts effortlessly, idles smoothly and consistently and pulls with incredible force when asked. The automatic transmission was rebuilt at 113k miles and shifts smoothly throughout each of the gears, the car drives and brakes straight and true and all of the gauges, switches and systems (including AC) work without fault. The ride quality is all-at-once tight, precise and comfortable and the car is equally at home tooling through town or bombing down the Autobahn.
The car is also in fantastic cosmetic condition, the Black Pearl Metallic finish deep, lustrous, consistent and marred only by the most minor of imperfections (a handful of tiny rock chips, etc.), none of which are significant enough to appear in the photographs or detract from the car’s considerable appeal. The finish cloaks an entirely straight body, with even panel fits and gaps throughout. All of the trim is in great shape, as is the glass, and the original wheels have been refinished, remain flawless and are wrapped in Bridgestone tires with plenty of remaining tread.
The car’s interior is equally as clean: the grey leather seats show only negligible wear, the interior panels and carpets are all exceedingly clean, the car’s dash is free of cracks or warping, the wood trim is in great shape and the headliner is clean and free of sagging. The Becker radio was replaced by the second owner with an excellent Alpine system that includes flip out, touch screen navigation and the original airbox was replaced with what appears to be a Renntech carbon fiber unit – aside from those mild upgrades the car remains just as the factory intended it. The car comes with an entire clean CARFAX report, a thick stack of service receipts and all of its original books and records.
This is an excellent opportunity to acquire an incredibly clean, mechanically strong, exceptionally well-maintained and documented E500. We hope it will find a new garage as good as its prior three and would be happy to answer any additional questions you may have or schedule showings or inspections.
500E / E500 General Background and Technical Information
From 1991 to 1994, Mercedes-Benz sold a high-performance version of the W124, the Mercedes-Benz 500 E (W124.036). The 500 E was created in close cooperation with Porsche; each 500 E was hand-built by Porsche, being transported back and forth between the Mercedes plant and Porsche’s Rossle-Bau plant in Zuffenhausen, Germany during assembly — taking a full 18 days to complete each model. Design began in 1989 and into 1991. Called ‘500 E’ through model year 1993, for model year 1994 it was face-lifted along with the rest of the range and renamed to ‘E 500’.
The 500 E had a naturally aspirated 5.0L V8 engine derived from the 500 SL (R129) roadster. Sports car braking performance also came from SL components: front SL 500 300 mm disks with 4-piston calipers came installed on the 1992 and early 1993 cars. The later 1993, and all 1994 cars came with the upgraded 320 mm set taken from the 600 SL. Rear brakes on all years were 278 mm brakes from the 500 SL. In the USA, the 500 E came fully equipped, with the only options available to the buyer being a dealer-installed CD changer and an integrated cellular telephone. The 500 E was only with four seats in left hand drive, with the four leather seats supplied by Recaro (the fronts heated).
Called the “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” by the press, performance tests of the day yielded impressive results: 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) times of 5.5 to 6.0 seconds and acceleration through the quarter-mile (0.4 km) in 14.1 seconds at 163 km/h (101 mph). The top speed was redline limited at 6,000 rpm to 260 km/h (~160 mph). It was rated at 16.8 L/100 km (14 mpg) in the city and 13.8 L/100 km (17 mpg) on the highway.
With its aggressive stance: 1.5 inches wider track, 0.9 inch lower profile, flared fenders, side skirts, front air-dam and wide tires, the 500 E is easily distinguished from its lesser brethren. Because of its look, limited numbers, hand-built construction, and unique pedigree, the 500 E is already considered a “classic”, even within Mercedes-Benz and an example remains on exhibit at the Porsche museum in Zuffenhausen.