1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SEC Coupe
When Mercedes-Benz designed a new S-Class range for the 1980s, the brief was to build the best luxury car in the world and they succeeded admirably - the W126, as Stuttgart designated the new model, was arguably the last S-Class to unequivocally hold this title. The W126 was both lighter, thanks to a new range of light-alloy V8 engines, more aerodynamic (boasting a class leading Cd of 0.36) and therefore far more fuel efficient whilst also incorporating several innovative safety systems like ABS and SRS airbags. Right from the outset a coupe version of the W126 was planned on a shortened wheelbase, with distinctive pillarless styling, a unique grille and headlamp arrangement and more sharply raked front and rear screens than the saloon. Inside the interior housed all the luxury features of the saloons, including electric seats with seat-shaped switches mounted in the doors, climate control, power windows and central locking plus several items unique to the SEC such as new front seats and individually-contoured rear seats, velour trim (with leather optional) and a retracting seat-belt arm that offered the belt to the front seat occupants. Initially the SEC was available in two versions, either as a 380 or 500, each using a version of the single-overhead camshaft V8 with Bosch fuel injection and a four-speed transmission. The bespoke SEC was produced in limited numbers and in common with earlier two-door Mercedes-Benz coupes will no doubt become a collector's dream in years to come.