1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 with 48,900 Miles

The W116 has been a star on the rise in the Mercedes-Benz world; long unappreciated and forgotten, like most of the models in the company’s history a great recognition of the first “S” Class means that prices have been steadily increasing. The most valuable in terms of collectables really seem to be the 6.9 models, for obvious reasons. Perhaps the original bad boy super sedan, the 6.9 predated cars like the M5 by the best part of a decade. The recipe was simple: take a giant car and insert the largest possible motor. Due to low residual values in the 1980s and 1990s, though, finding a good one can be quite difficult – but today we have quite a gem:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 on eBay

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1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 Euro-Spec – REVISIT

The stellar looking two tone 1978 European specification Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 with unique Ronal Racing 3 piece Turbos is back on eBay, this time with a “Buy It Now” of $30,000. That puts it about about a condition 2 price level by Hagerty’s valuation guide, which overall seems pretty appropriate. Appreciation of these big Benz models is growing and it’s expensive to repair one to properly sorted level. Period mods can go very wrong, but somehow I really love the look of this car – it may be the coolest 6.9 I’ve ever seen. What do you think?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site July 2, 2014:

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1975 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9

What, the 500E AMG 6.0 AND 500SL AMG 6.0 weren’t enough? Okay then, how a 6.9, this time lumped under the long hood of a W116? Well, if I’m honest I’m disappointed, as this spot was originally supposed to be filled by a rare 1990 560SEC. It’s not that the 6.9 isn’t rare, it’s just that particular SEC was a claimed AMG widebody 6.0 with full documentation. The highlighted text brings you to the auction. You know when they put “seller reserves the right to end the auction early”? Well, apparently that’s true. In any event, though I’m fairly disappointed that car disappeared early, it does give us the chance to look at this lovely early European-spec 450SEL 6.9:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1975 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 on eBay

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1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 with 44,000 Miles

While the M5 may have the notoriety of being the first serious super performance sedan, it’s easy to forget that Mercedes-Benz really started the trend. As early as the 1930s, Mercedes-Benz was building some of the fastest large cars in the marketplace. They were expensive, complicated, and beautiful works of engineering. It took a while post-war for both the marketplace and the company to come back to full strength, but two cars created in the midst of an international oil crisis I really think point towards the character of their respective companies. First was BMW’s hard-edged, barely disguised racer for the road, the 3.0CSL. It was expensive, relatively lightweight, stunning to look at and pretty quick to boot – a sporting nature that would carry through to the current generation of BMWs, still considered the benchmark in sporting sedans. On the other side of the fence was the 450SEL 6.9; who else but Mercedes-Benz would put the largest production V8 into a sedan when there was a gas crisis? If the 3.0 shouted about it’s racing prowess, the Mercedes was subtle and understated. Indeed, option number 261 even removed the displacement badge on the rear, and outside of that you’d only see hints of the car’s performance by the bulging tires and slightly more showy exhaust. But stomp on the loud pedal and the best part of 290 horsepower was on tap for you – and this was 1975. Remember 1975? It was when the base Corvette had 165 horsepower and if you wanted to just break 200, the L-82 was your only option at 205 horspower. A full 40% more powerful, the Benz was the match for sports cars of the day in a straight line but offered extreme luxury at the same time:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 on eBay

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1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 Euro-Spec

I’ll get this right out of the way, and I’m sure that it won’t be the most popular statement: I’m not a big fan of the Ronal Turbo wheels. It’s strange, because I like many, many wheels, but something about the recent editions of the Ronal Turbo just leave me flat. Perhaps its the racing look put onto cars that aren’t racing cars, or the wrong offset, or the wrong finish – I’m not sure. But whenever I see a set pop up on a newer Audi, Volkswagen or BMW I’m just not impressed. However, throw an original set of 3-piece Ronal Turbos on an iconic car from the late 1970s and suddenly they work. Oh, how they work!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 on eBay

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1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 Euro-spec

Ah, the wonders of the “grey market”. I long for the days when it was apparently fairly easy to import and legalize European versions of the cars that were turned down for the U.S. market. They were more powerful, better looking and lighter; but best of all, for most of these designs they were much closer to the original design language than what we were sent in the U.S.. The perfect example of this is the W116 Mercedes-Benz, though it’s not alone. The W116 came to the U.S. with Texas-sized bumpers and somewhat unattractive DOT-approved headlights. When those items are returned to their natural state, the transformation is nothing short of miraculous:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 on eBay

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1979 Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9 Euro-spec

I recently read a report by Esurance which indicated that green cars were the least common amongst all cars owned. Now, truth be told I’m not sure how much accuracy or scientific research there was to this study. Perhaps my skepticism is rooted in my history with British cars and my family’s history of having green cars; I count 6 that I remember. Or it could be that my automotive youth matured in the early 1990s, when it seemed that only green cars were produced. Either way, it’s rather irrelevant, because if owning a green car sets you apart from the beigeness that is the normal family sedan I’ll gladly accept the most usual tone in the automotive world. Further, there are some great greens out there to enjoy; Viper, Mint and Signal from Porsche, Ragusa Metallic from Audi, Oak and Montana from Volkswagen, Tiaga, Java and Urban from BMW, and from Mercedes-Benz there were some neat tones available on the 450SEL – colors like Citris Green, Nickle Green and what I think is Moss Green on this model:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 on eBay

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10K Friday: Ronin v. The Transporter

On the surface, the themes were very similar; two movies staring action superstars playing above-the-law criminals with an amazing ability to extricate themselves from seemingly impossible conditions against improbable odds driving large, fast executive cars. Despite this, the movies Ronin and The Transporter couldn’t be more different. I watched the former on the edge of my seat, captivated by the mystery, floored by the incredibly filmed stunt scenes, the attention to reality and detail, and the staggeringly awesome lineup of cars. The latter I struggled to get through at all; I managed to make it about half way through before giving up. To this day, I still haven’t seen the ending of the first movie, and nothing more than trailers of the second. Is there a third? I’m sorry, I’m sure it made a gazillion dollars in the box office but frankly when I watched the clip of the Audi A8L W12 corkscrewing through the air to miraculously remove a bomb from the bottom of the car on a perfectly placed scrap-metal magnet hanging in mid-air I lost all interest. I can suspend my belief for a movie like Ronin because there was an air of reality to it; the characters were flawed and mortal. Sure, there were problems with the plot and even some of the stunts – I mean, they don’t show Jean Reno standing in line at the DMV to register the 450SEL 6.9, for example. But in terms of reality, it was on this planet at least, while The Transporter seemed to be set in some alternate Japanese-live-action-anime reality I’m not sure I want to understand. Nevertheless, the central plot to both is about cars and driving (at least a bit), and today you can purchase just about all of the cars featured in these films for around $10,000 – so which would you have? I had to use a bit of creative with some of the versions, so you’ll bear with me I hope – here we go!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL on eBay

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1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9

It’s been a while since we saw Paul’s near perfect Silver Euro 450SEL 6.9 during V8 week last fall. These super-sedans established a trend Mercedes-Benz continues today; stuffing the largest V8 they can find into the largest sedan they can build. For many, it’s a winning combination – while the 6.9 was no slalom-assassin, there was simply nothing else that came close to this combination in the 1970s. Remember, this was the time period where the fastest Audi had around 113 horsepower in Europe. Then there was BMW, producing the 733 which made the Audi look downright slow but was still nearly 100hp shy of the Mercedes. But 1979 signaled the end of an era and the start of a new one, with two turbocharged sedans introduced signaling the future: Audi would release the 200 5T Turbo and BMW the 745i Turbo, and while both still couldn’t come close to the power output of the 6.9 they were much more efficient, modern motors. It wasn’t just the era of the giant motor that was on its way out, either, as the aging W116 was also on the verge of being retired in favor of the newer and more stylish W126 – a car that subsequently has become such a legend even in its own time. It’s easy therefore to discount the importance and significance of a car like the 6.9, but what it did was show us what would happen when engineers dared to let their hair down. Today there’s a lower mile example on Ebay:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 on eBay

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1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL

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The 1970s weren’t a particular promising time for most automakers, but Mercedes-Benz nonetheless pushed on in the face of every tightening energy supplies and tougher safety standards. The W116 would carry the S class torch through this decade, introducing new luxury and safety features that would become commonplace today. These aren’t the most particularly loved classic Mercedes models, but this two owner 450SEL has been a Texas car all its life and looks great for its age.

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