The King of Convertibles

The King of Convertibles

Back in the 1980s, a company emerged claiming to offer a customization program for cars with the three-pointed star, promising to add a touch of individuality to the already legendary German quality. But when you lay eyes upon their creations, you realize that “individual distinction” is a gross understatement. This company took a regular C126 500SEC and pushed the boundaries of tuning and modification to the absolute extreme. Yes, we are talking about none other than Koenig-Specials, the wildest German tuning and motorsport company of its time.

Beneath the hood of their Koenig-Specials 500SEC Cabriolet lay a formidable M117 5.0-liter V8 engine, treated to Koenig-Specials magic with twin IHI turbochargers. These turbochargers were the same type utilized by Honda in Formula 1 during that era. Running at 0.5 bar, they were complemented by low-compression pistons, cylinder modifications, intercoolers, and a completely revamped engine management system. As a result, the power output skyrocketed to 460 horsepower, accompanied by a peak torque of 600 Nm.

Setting itself apart from other, more “modest” tuners, the Koenig-Specials 500SEC Cabriolet boasted an iconic bodykit. Koenig-Specials was renowned for their extravagant bodykits, and the 500SEC Cabriolet was no exception. The widebody kit, combined with massive 285mm front and 345mm rear tires wrapped around 10 and 13-inch-wide Koenig BBS rims, gave the car an imposing and aggressive appearance. The updated lower suspension played a significant role in enhancing the car’s muscularity. Many regarded it as the epitome of a true man’s car. However, a similar claim was made about the earlier Koenig Special SL Super Roadster, which Koenig Special themselves described as “flatter, wider, quicker, manlier.” Unexpectedly, it was mostly appreciated by women.

This time around, Koenig had a different way of describing their creation, referring to it as “the SEC Cabriolet, with its characteristic features and dashing side panels and shapely modeled side wing extensions, is like an open-air festival.” The remark is somewhat puzzling, but perhaps it captures the essence of the 1980s. Regardless, this open-air festival of a car became an instant topic of debate among automotive enthusiasts, leaving no room for indifference—it was either loved or loathed.

Since the SEC, or S-Klasse Einspritzmotor Coupe, did not come in a convertible version, the convertible roof of the Koenig-Specials 500 SEC had to be custom-made. The car came equipped with a hydraulically operated soft top as well as a hardtop for wintertime use. The hardtop featured rear window heating and an electric sunroof.

While the engine and exterior of the car underwent extensive modifications, the interior was not neglected. In fact, Koenig modestly claimed that a car like this had never been furnished more perfectly. The interior contained high-quality materials, including the finest leather and rare wood types. The seats were designed to offer both comfort and support through every twist and turn. The leather-wrapped steering wheel was meticulously hand-stitched, while the instrument cluster was modified to incorporate a boost gauge and, naturally, a top speed reading of 300 km/h (186 mph), although the actual top speed was 265 km/h (165 mph). The dashboard and door panels were adorned with a combination of leather and wood trim, providing the car with a sense of luxury and refinement. The center console proudly showcased a custom Koenig-Specials gear shifter, injecting a touch of racing flair into the car’s interior.

Owning a Koenig-Specials Mercedes-Benz 500SEC Cabriolet was a rare and exclusive privilege reserved only for the wealthiest of car enthusiasts.

Those fortunate enough to possess one of these remarkable machines hold in their hands a truly exceptional piece of automotive history. Among the distinguished owners was none other than Hollywood actor Sylvester Stallone, who may not have owned the convertible version but did take delivery of the very first Koenig Special twin-turbo SEC.

Regardless of whether you find yourself on the love or hate team when it comes to this car, there’s no denying that the Koenig-Specials 500SEC Cabriolet stands as a testament to Koenig-Specials’ reputation as one of the greatest automotive tuners of all time. It serves as a powerful reminder of the essence of petrol-fueled insanity and the unrelenting pursuit of automotive excellence.

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