The ultimate autobahn cruiser of its time and then some. Nothing could touch the Mercedes 6.9 in terms of might and comfort. Following in the tradition of the Mercedes 6.3, this was also the fastest four door sedan in the world when new. 100 MPH on the highway could be enjoyed as long as the fuel in the tank held out. The 6.9 liter (417 cu. in.) engine made bursts into the 140s attainable if needed.
The car’s impressive hydro-pneumatic suspension, operating at over 2000 psi provided silky smooth road manners and kept the car on an even plain on hard launches and braking. The system is however expensive to service if not maintained properly. Unmaintained 6.9s can be spotted by their lowrider like appearance as the suspension settles. Vacuum operated cruise, door locks, and trunk were nice features as well. Also of note is the car’s impressive 12 (!) quart dry sump lubrication system. This allowed for better oiling during a spirited workout and made it possible to cram the monster engine under the hood. The oil reservoir is mounted near the fender instead of in a pan underneath. Taking this car in to your local quick oil change place was not considered a viable option as you would either end up with a drained transmission pan or an engine short half a case of oil.
Genuine AMG vehicles of this era are hard to document. The factory didn’t keep great records so knowing a cars history is important.
is an interesting case since it has been restored and has a new engine rebuild.Â The seller seems to know his stuff in terms of the 6.9, so likely there is no deal to be found here, just a chance to take ownership of mighty Merc. This car is also unique in that it is a a U.S. delivery Euro car. It has the good looking Euro headlights, but does that mean it has the Euro engine horsepower. With the new pistons it probably doesn’t matter. It also has leather which Euro cars did not have. Cali 6.9s were restricted down to 250 horsepower with emissions garbage. While full blown Euro spec cars hit nearly 300 with a meaty 420 lb ft of torque. Torque figures like that were scarcely seen anywhere outside muscle cars or dump trucks, neither of which could compete with a 6.9 in terms of all around enjoyment.
This car has some neat AMG options like the correct AMG steering wheel and 300 KPH speedometer, as well as an old style AMG trunk badge. Mercedes offered the 6.9 with debadging as an option. You could go super stealth with nothing on the trunk lid or just leave the small 6.9 tag minus the 450SEL label.
Full on AMG 6.9s with complete mono color body kit, blacked out trim, the Penta wheels and engine add ons like AMG cams are extremely rare and extremely good looking creatures. This one definitely qualifies as a stage 1 AMG, but doesn’t have the full treatment.
Having owned a full euro spec 6.9 I can attest with great vigor to the pleasure of driving these cars. The road manners and power are just amazing particularly considering the time period these cars were produced, think gas shortage and American luxo-barges.
There is plenty of information online about the 6.9 if you want to go look, but quickly here is a look at the 6.9 suspension being operated manually (the lever sits on top of the steering wheel):
and here is a link to the famous Brock Yates article about his experience thrashing a show room stock U.S. spec car around Road Atlanta for 100 miles. This is a fantastic article and reminds us that all cars are not created equal. Make sure to note the part about getting 5.9 MPG.
Below I’ve included a picture from one of my vintage AMG brochures, one of the only AMG brochures to show a 6.9, and a Flickr photo showing how the full 6.9 AMG package compares to this eBay listing in terms of looks. The sturdy lines of the 116 chassis Benz with AMG accoutrement in my mind are still some of the best and coupled with the formidable engine this is a package that 30 years later is still surprisingly sophisticated.
Lastly just for fun here are some 6.9s in the movies showing their stuff.
Ronin, scroll to about 4:50 for the good stuff:
Lost Highway, gets good about 1:00, R for language:
And of course Claude Lelouch’s C’etait un Rendez Vous, the film that started the “getaway” movie genre. Though the sound dubbed in is that of a Ferrari the car actually used was a 6.9. View the making of video to see the 6.9 with the camera mount.