Market Analysis of the Week: Mercedes Benz 560sec AMG "Widebody"


© Sotheby’s, SPTC, Inc.


In recent years the value of ‘pre-merger’ AMG cars have begun to soar. As these cars continue to grab the spotlight at auctions, the values only seem to be rising. The term ‘pre-merger’ is still new to many, but refers to the cars modified by AMG prior to the formal purchase of AMG by Mercedes Benz. While Mercedes Benz and AMG began working together on the development of the wildly successful DTM series cars from the late 80s, Mercedes did not officially purchase majority share of AMG until 1999. To be considered a true pre-merger car, you must look at the time when anyone with deep enough pockets could take their Mercedes Benz to AMG and order modification a la carte. Some were mere aesthetics, adding aggressive bumpers and wheels while others were mechanically modified to ensure your family man land yacht smoked Uncle Joe’s Mustang from the red light. These were the glory days of AMG which are considered to be 1995 and prior. Beginning in 1996, the C36 AMG became the first jointly developed and factory produced AMG car. Clearly, it was a formula that worked and Mercedes Benz has continued to elevate the brand and performance of their AMG versions.


© Sotheby’s, SPTC, Inc.


One of AMG’s greatest achievements is the legendary widebody version of the 500/560sec. AMG did offer different variations of engines above the standard 5.5L M117 motor. The most sought after would be the double overhead cam 6.0L, followed by the 6.0L single overhead cam. One could also order a car without the widebody treatment. These cars typically had AMG body kits and wheels from a visual standpoint. Other aesthetic modifications included AMG steering wheels, gauges, Recaro seats, and additional wood grain throughout the interior. Everything AMG offered at the time was a-la-carte, meaning no two cars left AMG identically.


© Sotheby’s, SPTC, Inc.


From a value perspective, an all original 560sec AMG widebody with a 6.0L DOHC engine is the holy grail. This was proven true at RM Sotheby’s Paris auction on February 6, 2019 where one sold for $330,000. A close second came at RM Sotheby’s London auction on October 24, 2019 where one sold for $179,000. Occasionally, a 6.0L widebody version will pop up online for sale. Currently, there’s a 1988 on eBay Motors listed at $158,999 obo. Unfortunately, there was not much description as to the specifics of AMG mods on these vehicles. We assume these cars both had the Tri-Y headers and full Sebring exhaust. The 4v cars also had modified firewalls and battery trays to make additional room inside the engine bay. AMG also improved the suspension with stiffer springs and shocks which is safe to assume both of these examples had, being true 6.0L conversions.


© Russo & Steele

Over the years, many companies have attempted to make replica wide body kits for these cars. As one would imagine, fit and finish is typically terrible as materials are cheap and poorly designed. Recently however, a company from California, Bespoke Orange County, custom built a restomod version of the holy grail. The experts over at Bespoke are no strangers to these pre-merger cars and have a sharp eye, paying very close attention to detail. We have to admit, this car looks like the real deal. The fenders are custom made from carbon-fiber and make this car 10 inches wider than a stock narrow body version, and 4 inches wider than an original AMG widebody. The interior has custom red leather Recaro seats, an AMG steering wheel, and what appears to be a grayscale version of zebrano wood grain. Personally, we’d have liked to see a black interior with walnut wood grain but we’ve been known for being old-souls. Possibly the greatest improvement over stock is the coilover suspension which gives the car a great stance and feels much more modern with excellent response. Of all the time spent on this car, we did find it interesting that the motor remains a stock 560sec motor. With only 32k miles on the clock and knowing the stock 5.5L motor is likely the more reliable, we doubt there will be any complaints from the peanut gallery. Still, we can’t help but imagine a tuned 6.0L motor would’ve hurt to back the beastly aesthetics.


© Russo & Steele


This bespoke restomod widebody sold at the Russo and Steele Scottsdale auction on January 18th, 2020 for $253,000. Yes, that’s just over a quarter of a million dollars. On one hand, we were a bit shocked that a non-original version with a stock motor could fetch such a figure. On the other hand, we weren’t surprised a bit considering this car was built the right way, has incredibly low mileage, and looks the part from head to toe.


© Russo & Steele


Not even 5 years ago these widebody cars could be had for under 6 figures, in many cases well below. In addition, 5 years prior to that you could hunt one down on Craigslist for $20,000 if you were bored. Considering there are widebody versions out there with stock motors, it makes you wonder what the values are now and what they’ll do in the future. For the 6.0L cars, it seems the sky's the limit. So far, it’s been a one way roller coaster to the moon with no signs of stopping.


-Blakley Leonard, The MB Market

Contact Us