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This 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560 TEL Is the Custom S-Class Wagon We Deserve

Coachbuilder Caro of Hamburg built a wagon that looks like it came straight out of Stuttgart.

Between 1979 and 1991, the Mercedes-Benz Sonderklasse range of full-size sedans (and a coupe) supplied well-heeled elites with a perfectly understated, rock-solid, and exceptionally classy way to get around. Unlike its W123 stablemates a size smaller, the range that would become the E-Class in its next generation, Mercedes-Benz never built a factory wagon version of its big body sedans.

But a few coachbuilders did, such as Crayford with the previous-generation S-Class, and Zender in the 1980s with its superb conversion with an SEC front. Caro of Hamburg did the bodywork on this 560 TEL, and it looks very, very factory-correct. However, while it looks original, it's a later conversion than the other period-pieces. By the way, the "T" is for "T-Modell", Mercedes-speak for the estate (or wagon) bodystyle.

That doesn't dissipate our interest in the least. It's a Euro-spec car, so it has the good headlights (with extremely Euro headlight wiper/washers), shorter bumpers, and the European tune on its 5.5-liter V-8. The formal black is lightened a bit by the grey lower bodywork, and the black leather inside is set off with the typically lovely Mercedes wood inlays. The odometer shows 103k KM, or about 40k miles, and at least from pictures the condition is exquisite—although the exposed fasteners at the top of the rear hatch opening seem a little jarring. That said, the later W124 300TE and E320 wagons had similar exposed screw heads holding the rearmost roof trim and headliner in place, so, um, well done Caro.

The cargo area itself is trimmed with high-quality cloth and appears to have a few storage cubbies, probably for the tool kit and so forth. With the hatch closed, from behind, it looks like a hybrid of the W123 and W124 generations of E-Class wagon, handsome but perhaps very slightly less well-proportioned than a true factory effort might be.

It's listed at the Stuart Parr Collection, and price is by inquiry. If you're looking for a very unique S-Class, this might be the ticket.