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1991 Mercedes Benz 420 SEL Diplomat, 1983 Mercedes Benz 500 SEC
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello BenzWorld Community and fellow w126ers,

I'm new to this forum, but have had Benzs in my life since I was born.
And as it should be, my father has passed the obsessive affliction onto me!
In the stable now we have something that from all the stories, seems to be important or rare at least!:
The car in question:
  • 1991 420SEL Diplomat-Spec (armoring has been removed)
  • Auto, Black on Burgundy Leather
  • ~50,000 miles
I've just pulled it out of hibernation, its been in storage in storage since 2004.
It will go through a full cleaning, and detailing now, and I will be fixing the dents as much as possible without having to paint, as its still all original paint. (While being moved around it got 2 dents on the rear right door, and on the trunk lid.)

***pls ignore the "600LS" badge on the trunk, my 5-year old nephew found it in my garage and then put it on the car and brought my father out to show him he can work on cars too, and we've never had the heart to take off until now since he's all grown up now hahaha

The restoration will be to put it back to 100% factory original (minus the armoring), ideally not replacing any parts.
Trying to keep all the parts that came in the car with it. Ideally clean up and restore, rather than replace anything.

Why I think this is a special w126:
I think this is the very last w126 to leave the Benz factory!

Particularly, I do not believe it was the last one ever built, but the last one to take delivery from the factory.

This is where I need some help from the gurus here on BenzWorld to find out if its true!

The story goes:
This Diplomat SEL was originally ordered for "Senator Ksikura B. Kpoto" through the "Liberian National Petroleum Company (LNPC)".

According to the docs (I've attached them here), order confirmation of the car was originally February 16, 1990, however was then adjusted to August 21, 1990. (no idea why)
Order number of the car at the Benz factory was: "0 0 633 00502"
Turns out Senator Kpoto did not order this car early enough, because he was assassinated in early-1991 while the car was being built.

This is where my father comes into the story,
So we were living in Curacao at the time, I was born there. My father is a Civil Engineer, and served as the Chief Technical Officer for Citco Bank in Curacao before starting his own companies.
The LNPC had some of its off-shore accounts in Curacao.
The Bankers of the LNPC in London needed to make this car "disappear" after Senator Kpoto was killed.

The Managing Director of Citco Bank knew my father was a car buff, so he asked him if he wanted to pay down the balance on the car (approx. ~80,000 DM), and take it for himself.
Obviously my father accepted without thinking about it, he had to double-back and buy a 500SEC after all this for my mother to make up for not telling her anything haha!

However, if you read the letter in the provenance documents, you'll see my father had to go to pick up the car from Germany as if he was Senator Kpoto's chauffeur. He actually had to go get the driver's suit, and hat and all.

According to my father's memory, our 420 SEL was the very last w126 left at the factory when he went to pick it up, the w140s were already being lined up for delivery.
However, because of the mix up with the assassination of Kpoto, and then the bankers trying to figure out what to do with this car... it was sitting at the factory for about 6-8 months after the 9-month build time.

From the shipping docs, I can see that it was shipped on February 14, 1992. (Indecon NV is one of our companies)
My father told me specifically that he then Autobahn'd it straight out of the factory, to The Netherlands, and drove the car straight into the Port of Rotterdam, and into a container headed for Curacao.
So I'm assuming the delivery date of the car was either on, or +/- 2 days, from Feb. 14, 1992.

This is the interesting bit:
My father distinctly remembers that when he was going to get in the car to drive away from the factory, he was asked to wait.
The Production Floor Manager came out, and gave the car a kiss good-bye as my father drove away. My father says that the Production Floor Manager had worked there for decades, and he had declared that the w126 was "the best Benz that ever came out of the Benz factory", and that he would miss it.

The car is now with me in Suriname, the country my parents were born in.
Our family collection cars that have been in the family all get sent here for storage and safe-keeping.

So my questions:
  1. Is it really the last one to leave the factory? How can I figure this out?
  2. Is there any department in Mercedes that someone can direct me to for as much info/provenance I can get on this car?
Now for what all you guys wanted to see from the beginning...
PICS of the car and docs!
I will also be putting together a restoration thread on the car later on as well!

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Moderator
1991 500SEC 55K mi. 1987 560SEC Now 153K mi. 2020
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4,527 Posts
Welcome Aboard to BenzWorld!

What a fascinating story indeed...

I know myself & others are looking forward to your next installments..

MBL
 

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1991 Mercedes Benz 420 SEL Diplomat, 1983 Mercedes Benz 500 SEC
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20 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Welcome Aboard to BenzWorld!

What a fascinating story indeed...

I know myself & others are looking forward to your next installments..

MBL
Wow cool and fascinating story indeed!

Excited to get started on this journey and happy to bring you all along with me, i'll definitely need the help here!
The car really doesnt need much.
Mechanically it just needs the regular maintainence, and i have to go through the suspension bushings which have gotten hard.
But it still rides tight as hell!
 

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1991 Mercedes Benz 420 SEL Diplomat, 1983 Mercedes Benz 500 SEC
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20 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
It's even got the fridge!
Theres a whole bunch of options that I'm seeing in this one that I'm not seeing in very many other places!

The fridge of course is for me the coolest option, and the fact that its factory installed with all the factory wiring and fuse block and stickers and all is just so wicked.

additionally from what can be read off the factory build sheet, it has all factory installed:
  • Becker CD Player (BE 0876)
  • Low Compression engine (it was meant to go to Liberia)
  • "Special Upholstery"... i'm assuming this is that the burgundy leather was on request only or something
  • Curtains on the rear doors and window
  • Reinforced Shocks/Springs
  • High Capacity Battery for the tropics
Are there other options in this that you guys recognize as rare?
These are just the things i'm noticing that i dont see in many other w126s
 

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Outstanding Contributor
450slc5.0cab 280sl5sp 280se4.5 500se+500slAMG +250seStkW108 350sl4spdX3 500secEuro
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22,568 Posts
Very cool story and car.

The rear wheels appear to be incorrect for a w126. I think they are probably w124 wheels. That should be easy for you to correct.
 

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1977 W116 450SEL and 1988 W126 560SEC
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449 Posts
Interesting story and car. What a mixed bag (low comp engine/no emission controls/MPH cluster/heavy duty suspension and high capacity battery).
 

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04 odyssey (265k) 1995 E320 wagon (295k)
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They look more like early 129 wheels than 124.
Cool story, with documents, thanks for sharing with us!
 

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1991 Mercedes Benz 420 SEL Diplomat, 1983 Mercedes Benz 500 SEC
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Discussion Starter #10
Interesting story and car. What a mixed bag (low comp engine/no emission controls/MPH cluster/heavy duty suspension and high capacity battery).
yes definitely a random combo of options
But sort of makes sense if you put yourself in the shoes of Liberian Senator of the time... likely involved in some kind of corruption...
haha
 

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1991 Mercedes Benz 420 SEL Diplomat, 1983 Mercedes Benz 500 SEC
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Discussion Starter #11
Very cool story and car.

The rear wheels appear to be incorrect for a w126. I think they are probably w124 wheels. That should be easy for you to correct.

They look more like early 129 wheels than 124.
Cool story, with documents, thanks for sharing with us!
yes I’m trying to get the wheels figured out now...
We also have a 500SEC, and we used to have a 560SL (r107)

I threw these on because they had reasonable tires on them still

but right off the bat, the rears are 16” and the front 15” which is definitely not correct

is OE for this car 15” or 16”?
 

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450slc5.0cab 280sl5sp 280se4.5 500se+500slAMG +250seStkW108 350sl4spdX3 500secEuro
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yes I’m trying to get the wheels figured out now...
We also have a 500SEC, and we used to have a 560SL (r107)

I threw these on because they had reasonable tires on them still

but right off the bat, the rears are 16” and the front 15” which is definitely not correct

is OE for this car 15” or 16”?
If 16”, then most likely 8x16 et34 r129 wheels, but 15” would be correct.
 

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Premium Member
1989 560 SEC - V-8 Kompressor - 95 E320 Estate
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2,005 Posts
Very nice 420 but I don't see anywhere in the documents or looking at the pic's that the car was "armored". Just a normal 420 with the addition of rear curtains and burlwood instead of zebrano. As it was a late build only Mercedes would know if it was the "last" off the assembly line which to me wouldn't really make a difference one way or another. W126's continued to be produced in Africa throughout the early 90's. Armored versions were usually the 560 version to deal with the extra weight of that type of vehicle. It's great you have chosen to bring the car back to its glory. Keep the pic's a coming! Mike
 

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1989 560SEC, 1989 560SEL, 1995 E420
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I wonder if there is some confusion between 'armoring' and the 'protective undershielding', which I assume is simply a skid plate?
 

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'87 560 SEC, Pearl Grey/blue; 300,000+ mi; '07 CLS 550, Barolo/stone; 90,000+ mi
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612 Posts
Welcome, and what a great story! At a minimum, just the response of the floor production manager. It would be great to interview him if he's still around.
 

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1991 Mercedes Benz 420 SEL Diplomat, 1983 Mercedes Benz 500 SEC
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Discussion Starter #16
Very nice 420 but I don't see anywhere in the documents or looking at the pic's that the car was "armored". Just a normal 420 with the addition of rear curtains and burlwood instead of zebrano. As it was a late build only Mercedes would know if it was the "last" off the assembly line which to me wouldn't really make a difference one way or another. W126's continued to be produced in Africa throughout the early 90's. Armored versions were usually the 560 version to deal with the extra weight of that type of vehicle. It's great you have chosen to bring the car back to its glory. Keep the pic's a coming! Mike
The car was definitely armored. Thats why it rides a little high now.
A team of Russians came down to Curacao around 1993/1994 with all the non-armored parts to swap over.
Could it have been done by someone else for Mercedes factory?
Is there any ID plates or anything i can look for on the car regarding the armoring?

They gave my pops $25k USD in the day for all the parts, he thought in the time it was a great deal because he didn't like that he couldn't roll down his windows haha!

Is there any place or office at Mercedes i could contact regarding getting more info on the car?
 

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1991 Mercedes Benz 420 SEL Diplomat, 1983 Mercedes Benz 500 SEC
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Discussion Starter #18

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Outstanding Contributor
450slc5.0cab 280sl5sp 280se4.5 500se+500slAMG +250seStkW108 350sl4spdX3 500secEuro
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So cryptic!! lol!
what BenzWorld wisdoms have not yet been bestowed upon me??
For fear of not being 100% clear, I believe he was saying that the MB corporation protects the privacy of those who purchase vehicles from them.
 

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Premium Member
1989 560 SEC - V-8 Kompressor - 95 E320 Estate
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2,005 Posts
Go to a website: datamb.com and enter the VIN #. The data card or build sheet should pop up. Most likely it will match the invoice which you pictured. Armored versions usually had 3" thick laminted glass in the windows plus many other items. If you do an advanced search on this forum you may find one that was on here located in Texas a few years ago. If it was currently armored it would definitely be special and rare. Currently looks like a regular 420 as mentioned previously. A similar scenario would be if a car was originally an AMG car and someone robbed all the AMG bits off of it the car would just be another w126. You may want to take a close look at the springs and shock absorbers, if they were for an armored vehicle you may want to install stock parts for a proper MB ride.
 
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