Decades before Porsche built the first Panamera, it was assembling a different kind of sedan for Mercedes-Benz. Back in the early 1990s Porsche was running low on cash and it was happy to secure a contract to assemble a very fast muscle-sedan for cross-town rival Mercedes. The car was made possible by stuffing Merc’s 5-liter from the SL into its W124 mid-sized sedan chassis. Because Mercedes was already busy developing a new S-class it contracted Porsche to make this muscle sedan possible. Through a complex amalgam of Porsche and Mercedes facilities, the cars were transited all across Germany to make it possible. The chassis and parts were delivered to Porsche in Zuffenhausen to hand assemble the base components. Those chassis were trucked to Mercedes’ plant in Sindelfingen to be painted. Those painted cars were then sent back to Porsche for interiors, drivetrains, and suspension. One more time, these completed 500E were sent to Sindelfingen for final inspection and delivery. Each car from start to finish took 18 days.
Mechanically the car shared much with Mercedes’ 400E, which featured a 4.2-liter V8. This bump in displacement gave the 500E a stonking great 322 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. It also received a 1.5″ wider track thanks to special wheels and tires hidden under flared fenders, and uprated brakes from the SL line. Around 10,500 examples were built worldwide, making them a desirable collectible of the Radwood era. These things were $81,800 brand new, which when accounted for inflation is equivalent to over $150,000 today.
I’m not going to give away all of the car’s quirks and features, so I’ll leave that to Doug DeMuro in the video below to handle for us! Enjoy this Tuesday feature.