Junkyard Find: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEL, Bubba's Cab Edition

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1986 mercedes benz 560 sel bubbas cab edition

The Mercedes-Benz W126 S-Class was the king of 1980s sedans and it sold very well in the United States. You’ll still see plenty of them on the street today and it’s rare that a California self-service wrecking yard doesn’t have at least one fully depreciated, high-mile example in stock. I haven’t paid much attention to these cars for this series, but that changed when I saw a 560SEL taxi in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard.

At first, I thought the taxi markings were a joke, because what kind of madness could induce a cab company to drive a 30-year-old S-Class with the thirstiest engine option? But no, there really is a Bubba’s Cab — and the Yelp reviews mention the Mercedes-Benz cab.

Obviously, a W126 with a mere 250,000 miles on the clock would be a couple orders of magnitude more comfortable than a rattly 700,000-mile P71 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor still reeking of Perpetrator Piss™ from its previous police career. But the cost of maintaining a W126 must have been ten times as high as the cost of maintaining a Crown Vic.

In any case, Bubba finally retired this glorious Benz, and now it awaits its date with The Crusher.

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  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on Oct 31, 2016

    I would love to have one of these, and they are in my price range. While this saw cab duty, it's not unusual to find low mileage examples. I understand timing chain and guides are the only critical engine maintenance, maybe this one had its chain skip?

    • See 1 previous
    • HotPotato HotPotato on Nov 02, 2016

      @-Nate My parents took advantage of the 1970s gas crisis to buy big gas-hog boats for a song, since their "commutes" were nearly walking distance. This landed us a '73 Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL, a wafty '68 Lincoln Continental, and a Dodge Tradesman 250 conversion van previously owned by a lady of the evening--if the van's a-rockin', don't bother knockin'... The Benz had a fuel-injected 4.5 liter V8, the Lincoln had a carbureted 460 V8, and the Dodge had a 4-barrel carbureted 440 V8. All three got 10 MPG, rain or shine, city or highway. Silent, waftable torque, though...I think growing up on that is why I like EVs. The torque, not the 10 MPG.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Nov 03, 2016

    My mother had a 72 Cadillac Sedan DeVille with a 472 ci V-8 during the 73 Arab Oil Embargo. It got 8 mpg but it was a smooth driving car with a very under stressed engine. It was a very easy car to work on--lots of space under the hood.

  • Slavuta Civic EX - very competent car. I hate the fact of CVT and small turbo+DI. But it is a good car. Good rear seat. Fix the steering and keep goingBut WRX is just a different planet.
  • SPPPP This rings oh so very hollow. To me, it sounds like the powers that be at Ford don't know which end is up, and therefore had to invent a new corporate position to serve as "bad guy" for layoffs and eventual scapegoat if (when) the quality problems continue.
  • Art Vandelay Tasos eats $#!t and puffs peters
  • Kwik_Shift Imagine having trying to prove that the temporary loss of steering contributed to your plunging off a cliff or careening through a schoolyard?
  • Inside Looking Out How much costs 25 y.o. Mercedes S class with 200K miles?