Though not as objectively offensive to your eyes as the BMW M Division, modern Mercedes-AMG products can be hit or missed in the looks department. It’s to the point that you might think twice about buying a new CLA-AMG because it looks a bit like a bullfrog, nothing like the chisel-jawed, uber-handsome machines old Mercs used to be. So why not merge the two paradigms of old and contemporary Mercedes-Benz and AMG in order to get the best of both worlds?
That’s what Kwiek Classics of Nashville, Tenessee, was able to accomplish with this 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC. This particular shop is especially qualified to merge the reams of new and old Mercs together. Their custom-built restomod portfolio includes many classic Mercedes products with modern drivetrains from the same corporate family. The occasional Mustang, Falcon, and International Harvester Scout build is just the gravy on top. In so many ways, coupes made by Mercedes-Benz and AMG today carry a little bit of this classic architecture of this 1983 500.
As a range-topper of the flagship S-Class line, the C126-series 500SEC was perhaps the finest luxury sports coupe to come out of West Germany in its day. From the start of production in 1982 until 1985, the 500SEC left the factory with a five-liter M117.963 V8 jetting 230 horsepower to the rear tires. The 500SEC model line would live to see the fall of the Berlin Wall, leaving production in 1991. In that time, the model’s engine was updated to the more modern M117.965 V8 that made 261 horsepower by the end of its run, or 248 horses in the US, where catalytic converters sapped some of the power.
No doubt, these were solid engines in their day. From some points of view, they’re almost like a German take on the American 302 small block engine. But we can do better than we did in 1983, a lot better. That’s why the early-model M117 in this restomod is gone. In its place is a supercharged 5.4-liter Mercedes M113 K V8 from a 2003 S55 AMG. By all ostensible measures, this was one of the finest V8 engines ever built by Mercedes AMG. It looks right at home under the hood of this vintage 500SEC.
Add on a fully-kitted suspension with Dkubus springs and performance shocks from Bilstein, and this custom build may legitimately be faster than the vehicle its engine came from. With a recent Classic White paint job finished in 2022, plus a wicked AMG-inspired body kit, Kwiek Classics’s brainchild is no doubt the most noteworthy German vehicle for sale on Bring a Trailer right now. If someone manages to take it home for less than $50 grand, it might as well have just been stolen.