You can’t get a Mercedes-Benz S-Class station wagon today, but in the early 1990s, you could buy a coach-built conversion. This 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560 TEL Estate is the work of German firm Caro International GmbH. It’s scheduled to cross the block at an RM Sotheby’s auction January 22.
The car started out as a German-market 560 SEL sedan and was delivered new to Caro’s Hamburg facility in May 1990, according to the listing. The coachbuilder used the taillights and rear deck from a contemporary W124-generation wagon. The W124 was the predecessor to today’s E-Class, and was one step below the W126-model 560 SEL in size, price, and prestige.
However, Caro couldn’t use the W124 wagon’s rear windows, so the 560 TEL got custom glass. Some fabrication was also required to extend the roof, rearrange the roof pillars, and align the rear quarter panels with the new wagon bodywork.
1990 Mercedes-Benz 560 TEL Estate by Caro (Photo by RM Sotheby’s)
The Pearl Black metallic over black leather 560 TEL is powered by a 5.5-liter V-8 producing 300 horsepower, according to the listing. That power is sent to the rear wheels through a 4-speed automatic transmission.
Including the cost of the 560 SEL sedan donor car, the wagon carried a sticker price of 337,000 Deutsche Marks when new. RM Sotheby’s expects it to sell for between $30,000 and $40,000, which seems like a relative bargain for an unusual, coach-built car.
Wagon conversions of luxury sedans once filled a specific niche, catering to wealthy buyers who needed a more practical vehicle. Today, that role is filled by luxury SUVs like Mercedes’ own GLS-Class. If you really want to stand out, though, this 560 TEL Estate is likely to draw more attention than the newer behemoths—at a fraction of the price.