1986 Mercedes Paint Color and Upholstery Options
As a kid, I loved going to new car dealerships with my dad and collecting the various brochures. My favorite page was always the paint color chip page. In the 80s, Mercedes had fabulous dealer brochures that included stand alone, fold out brochures with just the color chips and interior options. We’ve scanned various parts of the 1986 Mercedes Paint Color and Upholstery Options brochure for this article.
These days Mercedes offers about 8 – 12 colors for any particular model, back in the 1980s, they offered a lot more. In this article we’re going to delve into the Mercedes Paint Color and Upholstery Options for the U.S. Market in 1986. Across the entire Mercedes model line there were more than 25 exterior colors available and three different interior materials and a bunch of different available interior colors. Clearly, Mercedes was more interested in giving customers choices and keeping them happy, not necessarily making life easy for themselves or doing things in the most cost effective way. So many choices complicates production and material inventory and is much more expensive than offering fewer options. At the very bottom of the article there is a scan of the back of the Mercedes dealer paint and upholstery brochure with showing ‘Recommended Combinations.’
1986 Mercedes Paint Colors
There were 26 available colors to choose from, 14 non-metallics and 12 metallics. All colors were available on all cars except in the case of the 190E 2.3-16, those cars were only available in Black Pearl or Smoke Silver Metallic. Unlike Mercedes-Benz today, there was no up-charge for metallic paint back in 1986.
Non-Metallic colors included (above): 690 – Desert Tan, 684 Pastel Beige, 900 Deep Blue, 459 Mocha, 147 Arctic White, 568 Signal Red, 751 Ascot Grey, 040 Black, 803 Moss Green, 540 Desert Red, 623 Light Ivory, 822 Forest Green, 444 Sand Beige, 904 Midnight Blue
Metallics Included (above): 587 Cabernet Red, 172 Anthracite, 876 Cypress Green, 929 Nautical Blue, 702 Smoke Silver, 199 Black, Pearl, 473 Champagne, 877 Blue Green, 480 Manganese Brown, 881 Thistle Green, 735 Astral Silver, 355 Diamond Blue
There is no reliable source we’re aware of that can provide production information regarding how many of which model were painted a particular color. All we can really do is generalize as to what might have been popular and what colors might be rare based on the cars we’ve observed. We’ve all seen lots of Signal Red and Diamond Blue, but Cypress Green is muh more elusive. There are a few 1986 colors that we can’t ever recall seeing in person, rare colors indeed.
Note, colors were sometimes named differently for different markets. You may see color code 199 referred to as ‘Blue Black Metallic’ in Europe or if you use a European based VIN decoder on your car. The color names associated with the color codes above are for the U.S. market specifically. The photos above are from the Mercedes-Market library of original dealer literature and brochures, this is a U.S. market brochure.
1986 Mercedes Interior Upholstery Material and Color Options
Most Mercedes enthusiasts don’t realize that in addition to leather and MB Tex you could also order Velour interior in the U.S. Velour is usually associated with European spec cars, but it was available in the U.S., it just wasn’t very popular.
Not every model was available with every material or color, some exceptions included:
MB-Tex was standard in the 190 E 2.3, 190D 2.5, 300D Turbo and 300E. Leather and velour were optional at additional charge ($1,125 additional for leather, $1,105 additional for velour on those models).
In the 300SDL Turbo, 420SEL, 560SEL and 560SEC leather was standard, velour was optional (no additional charge). The 560SL was available with leather only. On the ‘Recommended Combinations’ chart below you’ll notice there was a Two-Tone Velour option for the range topping 560 SEC model, we’ve never seen a U.S. market 560 SEC with velour, much less one with a two tone velour interior.
I don’t believe I’ve EVER seen a velour appointed U.S. market Mercedes from 1986, anywhere, ever. I did used to own a 1979 450 SEL 6.9 that was a U.S. spec car that was equipped with leather though. Apparently, velour just wasn’t a popular choice for U.S. based buyers and Mercedes didn’t seem to build cars for regular dealer inventory with that interior option.
Today, there are many, many more Mercedes models to choose from, but far fewer color and interior options. It seems Mercedes now relies on the ‘designo’ line of special paint and interior options to provide special options and colors for those customers that want a little something special.