Nothing exceeds like excess. These two highly modified '90s Mercedes-Benz coupes began life as fast, subtle ways of getting about. That's until the excess-all-areas modifiers got hold of these sports cars and added everything they could think of. And then, for good measure, added a whole lot more. After a while in the minimalist doldrums, the calculated maximalism of these motor cars has matured nicely. They're still hilariously over-the-top, but, like an early 1990s-vintage magnum of Champagne, these Mercs, both up for auction at RM Sotheby's, are now highly desirable. Just bring your own Ray-Bans.
Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC Koenig Specials | Estimate: £125,000 - £150,000 | Year: 1990 | Engine: supercharged 5.5 litre V8, 400 bhp
You might think that a 268 bhp V8 would be quite enough for anyone considering Mercedes-Benz's top-of-the-line grand tourer in the early 1990s. Not for ace modifier extraordinaire Willy König, a man who even modified the spelling of his name to make his "Specials" more alluring. His engineers added an Albrex supercharger to Merc's V8 to boost the factory output to a hefty 400 bhp. The GT was transformed into a supercar. But that was just the start.
For Willy König, a man who thought nothing of adding wings, turbochargers and just about everything else to a Ferrari Testarossa, that supercharger wasn't nearly enough. You're looking at what happened when a customer ticked all the possible Koenig Specials option boxes. This Japanese-market 560 SEC has the full "Version II" bodykit, featuring skirts all round and wings so wide, the Merc looks ready to take off. Wheels, wider at the rear than the front, are 17" split-rims by Oz Racing.
Blue-black metallic bodywork is impeccable as is the period black leather interior, featuring perforated leather to the front seats. There's just 56,000 miles on the clock and the 560 SEC has been impeccably looked after since its import from Japan in 2014, a fact underlined by the Mercedes being named best "Young-Timer" at the 2021 London Concours car show. Just to make sure everyone knows what you're driving, the Koenig Specials logo replaces the Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star in the front grille, and indeed everywhere else. Not for shrinking violets, ideal for old school rock stars.
Mercedes-Benz 300 CE 3.4 AMG Brabus Widebody | Estimate: £50,000 - £60,000 | Year: 1992 | Engine: 3.4 litre inline six, 268 bhp
If one modifier isn't enough, what about two? This stealthy Batmobile of a Mercedes features the work of the obsessive engineers at AMG, who currently run the Mercedes-Benz Formula One team, as well as the cosmetic experts at Brabus. That makes this coupe a very rare beast indeed, since just 25 examples of the AMG version were made. This example is thought to be the only one of the 25 that wears a Brabus Widebody kit: like padded shoulders, but for a car.
AMG modifications include a highly tuned version of the already revered normally-aspirated inline six cylinder engine, the work of AMG's respected engineers. Other functional AMG additions include an aerodynamically researched front splitter as well as flared wheel arches both front and back. For most customers, this was quite enough to produce a distinctive motor car. But then the Mercedes was delivered to Brabus, who are renowned for taking the possible and going way beyond that.
Most immediately noticeable of the Brabus modifications are the black-and-silver split rim 18" alloy wheels front and rear. Your ear will notice the Brabus exhaust which will mean that everyone will know that you and your AMG Brabus are on the way. Inside, even the pedals are Brabus branded. All external Mercedes-Benz badging has been removed, to be replaced by Brabus logos, which tie in nicely with the blue-black metallic paint and the all-black leather interior with its lashings of wood. In short: this is one unique motor car. And seriously, why wouldn't you?