1000SEL, it's the name of this website. But does anyone know it's origin? Well time for a little history. It was the early 1980's when it became fashionable for Middle-Eastern men to drive a highly modified Mercedes-Benz 500SEL, we're talking about S-classes modified to Rolls-Royce specifications, both interior and exterior-wise. A standard W126 S-class was a nice car, no doubt, but if you were going for extravagant a standard 500SEL wouldn't do. Companies like Styling-Garage and Gemballa were happy to help you with this, modifying everything from wheels, bumpers, paint to a completely new interior. One perticular customer received his "new" 500SEL rebuilt by Styling-Garage and came to the conclusion his new ride was at least twice as good as the 500SEL he began with. Simple conclusion was to have the trunk badge changed from 500SEL to 1000SEL. It's now clear he started a trend, because within 5 years the standard name for any modified Mercedes-Benz W126 was "1000SEL" (or similar like 1000SEC, 1001SEL, 5000SEL, 5000GFG, etc), nomatter if it was a 380SE or a 500SEL that was used as a base vehicle.
After Styling-Garage got into trouble with Mercedes-Benz they were officially not allowed to use the 1000SEL name, since it was too similar of official Mercedes-Benz nomenclature, they had to change the name from 1000SEL to 1000SGS. This did not change anything about the contents of the Styling-Garage 1000SEL/1000SGS formula. Basically anything was possible when ordering a 1000SGS in Pinneberg/Schenefeld. Most of the time a 500SEL was used, but there are examples of Styling-Garage converted 1000SGS that use a 280SEL as base. The options were endless, as when will see in the pictures from this article. From the official pricelist Styling-Garage could offer you the following options:
Styling-Garage 1000SGS exterior options (03/1985)
600-style (W100) bonnet
SEC-style front end (bonnet, grille and bumper)
SGS front bumper with 4-foglights
SGS rear bumper
Chrome wheelarch covers
Centra, BBS, Remotec or SGS rims with Pirelli P7 tires (SGS and Centra wheels were optionally painted in exterior color if the car)
Special rear lights that fill up the space of license plate
All original exterior chrome work painted in the car's exterior color
Styling-Garage 1000SGS interior options (03/1985)
Dashboard covered in leather matching color of interior
Curtains for rear windows
Burr walnut interior trim
Burr walnut picnic tables with lighting, intergrated in rear doors
Burr walnut picnic tables, integrated in the rear of the front seats
Small console place in between the front seats, cooled by the airconditioning
Special burr walnut console between rear seats with minibar and small cooling compartment
Larger burr walnut console between rear seats, that contains minibar, small cooling compartment, TV and video-equipment
Burr walnut shift knob
Wooden sports steering wheel
S-class separate rear seats, electrically adjustable
Conversion of the rear bench into separate seats
Fridge in the trunk
Cooling compartment for the middle console
Stereo options, Nakamichi, Clarion or Pioneer
TV between front seats in a burr walnut console
Make-up mirrors with lights, intergrated in the front headrests
Usually a full-option Mercedes-Benz 500SEL (W126) was used as a starting point and then all the options could be added. The customer could basically order whatever he wanted, even options that weren't on the list, as long as bills were paid. Styling-Garage made most of the 1000SGS conversions prior to their first bankrupcy in 1986. How many were made is unknown.
A Styling-Garage 1000SGS with candy-apple red paintjob, chrome trim around the wheel arches, new SGS bumpers and the common 16" Centra rims. The interior had been reupholstered with white leather and red piping.
A common looking Styling-Garage 1000SGS, with US-head lights, new front bumper with two foglights, new sideskirts and BBS rims with white-wall tires.
Two photos of what used to be a standar Mercedes 500SEL, now a Styling-Garage 1000SGS. White paint covers the whole car, including the new SGS front bumper, sideskirts and rear bumper. The trunk has received a intergrated spoiler, similar to that one seen on Lorinser S-classes. All chrome trim is now 24-k gilded and the standard Mercedes rims have been replaced with Remotec 16" rims which were availaible from Remotec at an extra-price.
This is an odd one: this Styling-Garage 1000SGS was based on a 500SEL of the W126-model, but has received the nose of a Mercedes-Benz S-class of the 1960's (the W108). It must have been quite a job to make it fit, most panels probably made from new. Several of these conversions were made by SGS in the mid 1980's for a Saudi-Arabia based dealer. Note that the just the front has been modified, the rear bumper is stock W126 S-class. Futhermore it has chromed Centra rims, candy-apple red paint and additional chrome trim.
Now this is sweet: candy blue on a Styling-Garage 1000SGS (note the trunkbadge neatly says 1000SEL) with beige trim, even the Centra rims have been painted beige. New front bumper, but no sideskirts and a modded rear bumper.
The interior of the blue Mercedes car is very worthy of a 1000SEL / 1000SGS. Creme leather everywhere, front seats replaced with Recaro C-seats, a small centre console / armrest and very nice lightly coloured wood trim.
This black Styling-Garage 1000SGS looks rather discrete compared by SGS standards: extrerior wise there's only the bumpers, Centra rims, 4-pipe exhaust and the Styling-Garage that set this apart from any S-class.
The rear view already shows the curtains and the roof console with Clarion G80 stereo system. Just a regular 500SEL badge on the trunk.
An interesting 1000SGS, similar to the blue 1000SEL from above, in that it also has the creme coloured trim and Centra rims and US-headlights. Apart from the paint, there's nothing that prepares us for the interior.
Ooohweee! A full Styling-Garage dashboard that sports the Clarion G-series stereo and a TV. Then there's the centre console / armrest and the interestingly uphostered seats with velour.
Then there's the rear seats, separate ones upholstered in velour in a design that reminds of Duchatelet cars. The small centre console and the picnic tables (both in the doors and front seats) make this a very interesting variation on the 1000SEL / 1000SGS theme.
Another Styling-Garage 1000SGS / 1000SEL of the discrete variation. Stock bumpers, a gilded 1000SEL badge and MB-star and Centra rims. Interestingly it has lengthened rear lights! Also note the big chunky console seen through the rear window..
The interior with a roof console with Clarion-stereo over the front seats, which themselves are trimmed similar to the red car above. This Styling-Garage 1000SGS has the TV centre console between the front seats.
A clear view of the rear seats. The doors sport the picnic tables.
This is the optional centre console with minibar and fridge.
Enough with discretion! This is the Styling-Garage 1000SEL / 1000SGS at it's best....
...the nose of the best Mercedes ever made, the 600 Grosser Benz (W100). Styling-Garage made quite a few of these 600-noses, also sold them to other tuning companies to be fitted on their 1000SEL's (ITS, GrandPrix Metalcraft, Gembala, etc).
The front view clearly shows the 600-nose, a 16.000DM option on the 1985 SGS pricelist. One could buy decent new car for this kind of money. The 600-nose is complemented by the SGS front bumper and peaking through the front windshield one can see a red interior and a roofconsole
Just the front bumper was Styling-Garage on this one. Note the white Centra rims.
The interior of the white 1000SGS with 600-nose. All red leather, a small TV in the dash, Clarion in the roof console and Recaro C-seats are the most interesting features.
The rear seats are Recaro too, covered in leather and velours. The centre console keeps the passengers occupied and the curtains keep them unseen.
This is Chris Hahn himself sitting in the rear of a 1000SEL / 1000SGS with a division window, TV and telephone. Note the completely stock Mercedes upholstery.
Two photos showing a red 500SEL interior very similar to the white 600-nosed 1000SGS above, though in detail it's different. Roof console with Clarion, Recaro's in leather/velour with inbuilt speakers are all the same. No TV in the dash though and different centre console set it apart.
Another 1000SGS in the combination white exterior, red interior. This was a very common combination for cars built for the Middle-East. Again the the SGS bumper (front) and sideskirts and white Centra wheels.
The interior with Recaro's in the common leather velour combo. Interestingly, this appears a car built for the passenger since the roof console is placed above the rear seats. Also not the interesting centre console.
Another 1000SGS as it was supposed to be: 600-nose, SGS-wheels and a white-as-snow interior with large dashboard. Note that the shape of the 600-grille is different from the above white car. This was due to the fact that early 600-noses were made from actual W100 bonnets, later types had custom made ones.
The same car at an Styling-Garage event on the Island of Sylt, somewhere in the early 1980's
A very interesting 1000SGS by Styling-Garage. This Mercedes 500SEL has received the full bumper/skirt set by SGS, a huge rear wing which was seen on several 500SGS Gullwing conversions as well. The rims are BBS.
Though officially not a Styling-Garage car, this Kugok 1000SEL was either built by Styling-Garage or built using SGS parts. The 600-nose is evident, the bumpers are not SGS (Lorinser)...
... but in the interior we find the common 1000SGS items such as the SGS dashboard and the gilded 24-carat falcon's head shiftknob.
This car is a 1000SGS bought by Panther Cars in the UK. It has the 600-nose, Centra rims and more of the SGS-parts.
The interior has a custom dashboard (most likely made in the UK) with TV and Clarion G-series stereo.
Text: copyright Bram Corts 2013