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Running In The ’80s: A 560 SEC AMG Wide-Body – Speedhunters



Blakley Leonard’s impressive collection of Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the most impressive of the bunch. I think most of us would agree that second to owning a W124 Hammer, a C126 560 SEC AMG Wide-Body is the next best thing.

The base Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC was impressive on its own, but with AMG’s touches the model is on a whole other level. It’s mind-blowing to think this was happening back in the 1980s as well; it seems more in line with the popularity of current wide-body kits. Even today, the car still has such an amazing presence. People stop and stare.

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When Blakley introduced me to his collection, this was the first car I walked up to and just stood in front of, soaking it all in. The flares are so wide and the dishes on those OZ Aero III wheels are incredibly deep.

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Blakley has been prominent in the Mercedes community for a long time, but surprisingly enough, this is not his first 560 SEC AMG Wide-Body. There is a Vinwiki video feature on that story here, but in summary, Blakley was driving his normal commute in May of 2005 when the sun caught a back parking lot of a Mercedes-Benz dealership just right, revealing a wide 560. Blakley figured it was just a C126 wearing an aftermarket fiberglass kit, but he felt the need to have a closer look. The car turned out to be the real McCoy and he had to have it.

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It had been sitting for quite some time awaiting repairs, and after some convincing, the shop manager agreed to give Blakley’s phone number to the AMG’s owner and the rest would be up to him. An agreement to purchase the car was eventually reached, but once it was in Blakley’s ownership and after the repair work was completed, he was forced to turn it loose, and for a much lesser sum than what they are worth today. Such is life…

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Fast forward to January 2020 – Blakley was doing his usual Japanese market searches when he came across a magnificent white example up for auction. “I was able to have the car inspected the day of the auction, and with the help of some knowledgeable friends, submit what ultimately became the winning bid,” says Blakley. “Roughly four months later, the car was delivered safely to the Baltimore port. Since that time, the car has undergone extensive refurbishment including all new interior in factory blue suede, a complete mechanical refresh, new custom suspension, rebuilt O.Z. wheels, and a full stainless steel exhaust.”

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Obviously the wide-body is what most people focus on with this car, but I was equally impressed with its interior. I’m not usually a fan of blue trim, this one is not only obviously period correct, but it was so well done back then that it still looks incredible today. Mind you, Blakley has had the seats and door panels re-upholstered to exacting specifications.

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When you open the door, you are taken into a different world. It’s hard to imagine what that must have been like back then. Regardless of whether your wealth was accumulated legitimately or not, this is the car that screamed you’d made it. Features include heated Recaro seats, an AMG M38 steering wheel, and all four windows roll down for a pillarless-style coupe. The front seat belts are absolutely wild, with telescopic arms bringing them out to make it easier to grab before retracting again afterwards. Blakley has also retrofitted a Pioneer 2DIN headunit with Apple CarPlay into the AMG housing where a TV was previously installed.

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Unfortunately, this car did not come with the upgraded 6.0-liter power plant, but being a true Euro-spec example with slightly more power from the factory due to less emissions restrictions, it still has plenty to deliver. I was lucky enough to take a ride in the car, and the quality is top notch. It’s comfortable yet sporty, everything felt nice and tight and there were no rattles. The transmission was smooth and overall the car felt reasonably quick with plenty of torque.

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The car just oozes class and excess but still looks so aggressive and mean. When we got to the gas station, I had to walk around the car and just take it all in.

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I would argue that the C126 is one of the best designs to ever be brought to market by Mercedes-Benz; the proportions and lines are so well thought out. I can imagine this car cruising the neon-lit streets of Tokyo in period at night, catching the attention of everyone it passed.

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I asked Blakley what else he had planned for the car. He mentioned lowering it a bit more but seemed to have some concerns. I agree that dropping the car an inch or so would really set it over the edge. The most menacing looking wide body cars I see are low-slung, and being that way seems to make them appear even wider.

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For now though, Blakley just enjoys it when he can – mostly on nice days commuting to and from the warehouse/home/office. As mentioned in my first story, his location lends itself to spirited drives along the mountains. It’s a truly wonderful place to stretch the legs of such a beast.

I’ve still got one more car from Blakley’s collection to share with you, and this one surprised me the most…

Brandon Miller
Instagram: rvae38

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