By on March 7, 2012

In yesterday’s Name That Car Clock challenge, we went all the way back to 1965 and admired a beautiful, though admittedly nonfunctional, Oldsmobile timepiece. Today, we’re going with something from my collection of junkyard-harvested clocks that’s a bit newer. Quick, what’s the year/make/model of the car that yielded this clock to my junkyard toolkit?

1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SEL

There’s no visible VDO emblem on this gauge assembly, but that blue triangular inspection stamp on the metal frame should be familiar to those of you who have torn apart a few German instrument clusters. Yes, the W126 came with a driver’s airbag in 1986. Did you get this one right? If not, what was your guess?

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20 Comments on “Name That Car Clock: Small Analog With Tachometer...”

  • avatar

    I guessed 300E/E320 (W124). The tachometers are similar, but the red band starts several hundred revs higher on the E320.

  • avatar

    I knew it was German, from the style, typeface and ‘x100’ counting scheme, but I assumed an M117 would redline below 6k… so I figured it had to be a ‘lesser’ Benz, maybe a ‘201 or ‘124, or perhaps a Bush-I-era Passat (the interior of which I’ve never seen, somehow).

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, I was surprised to see that it came out of an S-Class. I thought it would be a Passat (or other high-end VW) from that era too. It’s a bit quirky-looking, and the clock adjuster seems overengineered yet flimsy. Both are certainly VW hallmarks.

  • avatar

    I guessed 1984 190E. I’d expect that car to be in the junkyard.

  • avatar

    I wonder what the doorbell switch on the center column activated?

    (I wrongly guessed a 400E W124. I had a 260E and I was pretty sure the redline on the petrol sixes was a bit higher, and the diesels a bit lower.)

  • avatar

    I was sure it was German, reminded me of my 1981 South African made 520 4cyl BMW, my first car!

  • avatar

    I had an Olds Calais once with the same x100 marked tachometer. Having two identically sized, double digit labeled gauges was confusing as hell. Plus it was on the right side of the cluster where my eye was trained to find the speedometer.

  • avatar

    At first I thought it was GM because I thought the idea of combining the clock into the tach dial was kind of insulting and missing the point – when you’re looking at the tach you’re doing it because you are pushing the engine hard, and you should be focused on nothing else.

    Then I remembered my 2011 BMW still has a stupid vacuum “economy gauge” even though all the rest of the gauges are computerized, and I realized this must be a German car.

  • avatar


    1986 190e. (Aww I was wrong! But close enough.) Mine’s a 16v. I have a suspicion that the Red line is different between the Merc’s of the day, but funny coincidence that most I’ve seen have a US standardized 7k redline. Currently trying to euro-ize mine with a 7200 RPM redline.

  • avatar
    Rob Finfrock

    That’s a dead-ringer for the tach/clock combo in my dearly departed ’85 300D, and I almost said that until I saw the redline.

  • avatar

    thats a merc, u should keep the car pics for another day.

    • 0 avatar

      Tip: Read the question on the front page of the blog, and DON’T CLICK THROUGH TO THE POST UNTIL YOU’VE MADE YOUR GUESS.

      Sheesh, how fricking hard can it be?!?

  • avatar

    Guessed a merc, only because they could afford to spend the dough on such a complicated adjustment mechanism.

  • avatar

    My guess was an early 70s Ford Capri. I got the country of origin right anyway…

  • avatar

    I recognized it as being from a W126 right away. My father has a 280SE, bought new in 1982. It’s still mobile under its own power, but needs a bit of TLC for things like the central locking and A/C.

    Kind of sad to see one sitting like this in a junkyard. From the one picture it looks quite complete, apart from the missing clock/tach hehehe. Is there enough left to save and put it back on the road? Or would that be uneconomical? In that is the case, this fine piece of automotive engineering will be back in a showroom soon – as a refrigerator…

  • avatar

    Recognized it immediately as a petrol-burning W126. I’ve never driven a gas-powered one, only various 300SDs and 350SDL’s, but this one has a marked redline that gave it away as a gasser. My lack of experience with these prevented me from telling which engine though.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    Yep, it’s a pretty close match to my SDL’s, except for the redline.. I friggin love that Futura font as well.. IIRC 1986 was the first year they came standard in S-class, along with ABS? I know by 1987 both were standard as that was one of the criteria when I was looking for a diesel back in 2001..

  • avatar

    I instantly identified it as a W126 S class Mercedes. My father was a big Mercedes fan and drove only S classes starting with the W108/W109, two W116s (280S and later a 350SEL) and an ’86 300SE W126. All were beautiful vehicles and still are in my opinion. The W126 in particular is still a very strikingly handsome and elegant car.

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