West Coast Classics are proud to present an absolutely exceptional example of this extremely rare and unrestored mostly all original survivor, apart from one repaint in its original factory 'Tobacco Brown' (MB code 423) color paint, of a long time southern California owner W109-018 1969 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6,334cc 6.3 300HP V8 M100 fuel injection sedan with it's original M100 engine with a low but undocumented 83K original miles, rare factory BEHR air conditioning and power steering and power disc brakes and original 'Cognac' color leather interior! This was the first regular Mercedes model to use the massive 6.3 liter V8 and was the incredibly fast 300SEL 6.3 sedan of 1968, the fastest production sedan in the world at the time.
This particular example has been repainted once in its original 'Tobacco Brown' color and is in very fine condition throughout. The original 'Cognac' color leather interior is in excellent condition for its age as is the 'Rosewood' burled walnut, all the original gauges, knobs and dials are all in a virtual time warp and there are no signs of any damage from the elements. The car boasts its original factory 'Becker Europa Grand Prix AM/FM radio, power steering and original factory BEHR air conditioning and this rust and accident free example would prove a worthy classic addition to any serious collection.
The car was reportedly originally owned by John Whitney Sr, a well known Hollywood, CA computer graphics engineer and animator who pioneered computer animation in the movies including for example the animated sequence in Alfred Hitchcocks film 'Vertigo' in the 1950's, amongst numerous others. We only recently acquired the car from the car's most recent owner who had been an associate of the internationally renown 'Peterson Automotive Museum' in Los Angeles, CA. This is one of the last 1,000 models ever built and a sure fire way to gain the respect of the renown 'M100 Group' of enthusiasts who are "dedicated to the preservation of the M100 powered cars; the Mercedes 600, 6.3 & 6.9 automobiles"!
As is well known and documented, Daimler-Benz has produced many Mercedes models which have achieved great success both on the tracks and in daily driving. The Blitzen Benz, the 540K, the 770L and the 'Silver Arrows' come immediately to mind, however few Mercedes have ever possessed more extraordinary qualities than this little known model to the general public, although legendary and well known to Mercedes enthusiasts and collectors, of the late 1960's; the awesome 300SEL 6.3 Sedan!
Built by Mercedes from 1968 to 1972, it featured the company's powerful 6.3-litre M100 V8 from the luxurious 600 limousine model which was installed in the normally six-cylinder powered 300SEL. The result was a luxury sedan with performance similar to most dedicated sports cars and American muscle cars of the era. At the time of its release it was the world's fastest four door car with 0-60mph in 6.5 seconds and a top speed of over 140mph. A very fast car by any standards, even today, and when you realize that the 6.3 weighs in at over 3,800 pounds, it comes as no surprise to learn that it is rightly known as "the executive racer!".
The car started out as a private venture in 1966 by company engineer Erich Waxenberger who took the powerful 6.3 litre M100 engine from the luxurious 600 limousine and installed it into the regular body shell and frame of a 300SEL model which only had 6-cylinder engines at that time. The 600 series engine was designed to propel a car of such awesome size at virtually sports car speeds as the designated M100 engine generated 300HP. The accomplishment of planting the monster M100 engine in this medium sized car was an astonishing feat of first class German engineering with such attention to details such as an inner fender panel switch which was added for safety reasons to turn off the auxilary cooling fan when the hood was lifted for engine inspection. Such attention to details was characteristic of the superb engineering of the 6.3. The high performance sedan debuted in the United States at the 'Laguna Seca' race track in June of 1968 and 'Car & Driver' commented "This automobile is the most stimulating, desirable 4 door sedan to appear since the Model J Dusenberg!" 'Road & Track' called it simply "The greatest sedan in the world".
Amongst the 6.3's barriers to entry was both its low production and high price; $14,000 in 1968, which climbed up to an astonishing $16,000 by the time it was discontinued in 1972 and its rarity, only 6,500 cars were ever built! Not many people have ever seen one, let alone driven or owned one!
As with its sister model, the 600, the 300SEL 6.3 sedan features ventilated disc brakes on all four wheels, power windows, central locking and power steering all as standard. Air conditioning, power sunroof, writing tables (for rear seats), window curtains, audio tape deck and rear seat reading lamps were available as optional equipment.
6,526 of these vehicles were produced and they are extraordinarily collectible today.
It is of interest that AMG, now the sports tuning subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz, but then a small local tuning company founded by former Mercedes engineers, produced special versions of the 6.3 to compete in racing events, usually with the engine enlarged to 6.8 liters or more. The car had an impressive, but short-lived racing career, due to the lack of suitable tires, or rule changes preventing the use of the
The cast iron block overhead camshaft M-100 engine with alloy heads matched to a four speed automatic transmission was designed specifically to be used in the 600 and was intended to provide smooth, effortless operation combined with more performance than any other sedan in the world. The enormously complex chassis featured air suspension and electro-hydraulic controls which help drive the 600's great size and weight and as it's numerous hydraulically driven amenities required more power than Mercedes' largest engine at that time, the 3-litre 6-cylinder could produce, a new V8 with more than twice the capacity was developed, the now legendary 6.3 L M100. It featured SOHC and Bosch mechanical fuel injection. It developed 300HP however the total usable output was more like 250HP as 50HP was used to power the hydraulic convenience system. Adjustable air suspension delivered excellent ride quality and sure handling over any road surface. It is a self leveling system pressurized at 260psi by means of 2 valves, front and rear. There are hard and soft settings and the suspension can be raised up to 2" for extra ground clearance.
These exclusive cars employed top flight engineering from the world's best automotive engineers and gained a reputation and following from the world's elite who required the ultimate luxury and ride. These are the most imposing Mercedes one can own and have earned a 'Milestone' classic car status.
Given it's 130mph capability, the car needed the best brakes in the world and Mercedes therefore fitted four wheel discs that have separate hydraulic circuits front and rear. Each front disc has twin calipers.
As previously stated in 1968 the M-100 engine and hydraulics from the 600 were fitted to the much smaller but still substantial 300SEL 6.3 creating the world's fastest four-door sedan. Upon the introduction of the W116 chassis, a larger 6.9 liter version of M-100 was installed in the 450SEL 6.9. It should come as no surprise that both the 600 and the 6.3 sedan was in an exclusive territory of only those who could afford the very best, and who were fortunate if they could even obtain one of these rare imports from their local Mercedes Benz dealer, such was the exclusivity and demand of these amazing motorcars. Hand built with generously applied chrome fittings, combined with the finest natural materials available, provide an unmatched ambiance of luxury and wealth in its lavishly appointed interior, with fine ROSER leather, exquisite 'Rosewood' burl wood; the standard of craftsmanship apparent everywhere on this car is nothing short of astonishing in these hand-built Mercedes luxury cars. This particular car still boasts it's mostly all original interior including original 'Becker' radio and striking burlwood and also boasts original factory air conditioning and power windows!
This car must be seen and driven to be fully appreciated - in summary, this is one very rare example of a mostly all original 1971 Mercedes Benz 6.3 V8 sedan and a worthy investment for any Mercedes enthusiast to add to their collection or simply a fine daily driver for any classic car enthusiast!