West Coast Classics are proud to present an extremely rare opportunity to purchase an original (491) US version 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 Long Wheel Base (W116-036 Series) 250HP V8 Sedan, a car which was built only between the years 1975-81 in Europe and imported to the U.S only between the years 1977-1979, with only 1,816 cars officially allocated for export to the U.S.A.! The car was introduced into the U.S. for the 1977 model year with a price of over $44K (over $160K according to the CPi when price adjusted for inflation in 2018) which went to over $52K by the end of U.S. production in 1979! That was virtually the same price as a new Rolls Royce and at a time when the most expensive Cadillac, the full size Fleetwood series 75 Limousine listed for less than half that amount!
This particular example will need some restoring both cosmetically and mechanically although it does drive well. It is a car which was reportedly owned until recently by a long time southern California owner who had kept the car in storage without using it very often for some years and it is a mostly completely stock example with it's original factory 'Becker Casette Stereo' radio, power windows, power steering, power brakes, spare wheel and jack, original Mercedes Benz chromed alloy wheels and factory sunroof and air conditioning!
The car has been repainted at some point in a highly striking 'Midnight Blue' color paint and has a seemingly all original 'Black' leather interior! The highly desirable 6.9L/250HP V8 engine runs well, the odometer shows only 91K miles and this is a car fully loaded with factory options including power steering, power brakes, power windows, power antenna, 'Becker Cassette Radio', sunroof, air conditioning and insulating glass all around with a heated rear window. This particular example from 1977 must have spent most of its life garaged as it is in very fine condition throughout although please note that there is some minor rust in some areas of the undercarriage and one of the rear quarter panels (see photos below) and some of the power options are not working including the sunroof, the drivers side front window, the passenger side rear window and the air conditioning. As previously stated the car is running and driving well and appears to have a very straight body with no signs of any accidents or damage.Please also note that although raising and lowering when started, the suspension system drops to the ground when parked for a period of time due to a probable leak in the hydraulic system.
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. The car only was ever imported to the U.S in the first place because there was a sufficient outcry from American dealers and customers to practically force the factory to import it, even though it couldn't build enough for the European market where the car has been on sale for eighteen months. At a rate of less than 500 U.S cars per annum between 1977-1980, they sold as fast as they came off the boats. It should come as no surprise that the car was therefore 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.
The 6.9's variable height suspension was actually illegal in the U.S at the time of production so the U.S. specification cars had the knob deleted for the raising of the car. For fans of the discontinued earlier legendary 6.3 model, this was a car that continued its legacy with 'Car & Driver' magazine proclaining it to be the "Greatest Mercedes-Benz Ever Built!" and Britain's 'Classic & Sports Car' magazine as recently as April 1999 declared the Mercedes-Benz 6.9 fourth on their list of no less than "the World's Greatest Saloons!".
Indeed it certainly seemed true that money was no object for those that had to own one and for that tiny handful of people, many of them former owners of Mercedes-Benz 6.3 sedans, who truly wanted the fastest production four-door sedan in the world, boy were they were willing to pay for it, even though it had hard leather seats, a slab of wood on the dash, and few other amenities. Slightly wider fourteen-inch wheels and a 6.9 emblem on the trunk lid distinguished it from the garden-variety 450SEL. What you were paying for wasnt flash, it was engineering. And the engineering started under the hood.
The 6.9 was destined to be more than a mere replacement for the 300SEL 6.3. The 6.3 was the big news in 1968 when it was introduced. It was the 300SEL body with air suspension and a hot-rodded version of the 600 limousines engine and it went like the clappers. A total of 1840 were sold before Daimler-Benz stopped producing the car in 1971, but the 6.3s impact on enthusiasts far exceeded its sales. Its successor, the 6.9 was the continuing flagship car of the entire Mercedes-Benz fleet. The car boasted a dry-sump engine, self-leveling hydropneumatic strut suspension, specially modified three-speed automatic transmission, beefed up driveline and a very sophisticated Watts linkage applied to the already superior Mercedes independent rear suspension to enhance anti-dive and anti-squat performance on hard braking and acceleration. The 6.9 feels more nimble, more agile than any other classic Mercedes sedan of its era. The new suspension, combined with the extra power of the 417-cubic inch engine makes it possible to toss the big sedan around like a bug-eye Sprite. It would accelerate 0-60 in a little over seven seconds and has a top speed of nearly 140 mph.
In summary this is one very rare and head-turning example of a mostly completely original 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL Long Wheel Base 6.9 sedan that although runs and drives fairly well, please note is nevertheless a car that has recently come out of long term storage and which has not been serviced or maintained for some time and will therefore will be needing some TLC both mechanically, and as previously stated, cosmetically. A perfect candidate for the Mercedes collector or enthusiast, or indeed any classic car lover, with the time and inclination to fully restore.