Automotive History: The Curious Case of the W126 Wagon


As some of you know, I have a serious love for the W126 Mercedes S-Class. Can you blame me? It’s just the best in engineering and nigh-on invulnerability that a Mercedes-Benz at the top of its game could do. In my mind the only way that you could improve it in my eyes was to make a station wagon out of it, and….here it is! I love you, Wagon Week.

It turns out some coachbuilders decided that since Mercedes itself was already making a coupe and a convertible in addition to their sedans, it was only sensible to do the one variant that wasn’t available. And thank the coachbuilders for that.


The best documented and recent of the conversions is the 560TEL that appears above this text. Made by Caro International, a coachbuilding company in Hamburg, this was a spare-no-expense project overseen by the CEO (A classic Mercedes fan) himself. The objective: take a 1990 560SEL and make it the most luxurious of wagons. The engine and drivetrain are unchanged from a standard 560SEL, but the body has seen substantial alterations from the B-pillar back. The doors have been elongated and custom glass has been added to better fit the new shape (and  avoid the Volvo Amazon look).


In the back, tall taillights out of an S124 wagon have been fitted to replace the longer ones of the 126 and allow for a larger rear door. Currently Caro is working on a second wagon, this time built on a 1991 model. Price: Very expensive, I’d say.


While the TEL seems like the newest and best done wagon based of the W126, the idea in itself is nothing new; in the 1980s, Zender built this 560 ZEL.


And if you Google around you’ll find pictures of a slew of custom jobs that go from the very well done…


To the done…


To the ‘What have you done?’

I’ll no longer say that any W126 wagon is a good wagon, but the fact that someone actually went ahead with the idea of making a wagon out of the S-Class is amazing in and of itself. Now to check every couch in the nation for change–I’m sure Caro doesn’t accept organs as payment.