1993 Mercedes-Benz 300SE

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You spend a billion dollars on developing a car, it better be damn good. That’s what Mercedes-Benz was faced with when debuting the W140 S-Class. It had to every bit as good as the legendary W126 it was replacing and more. When it launched in 1991, opinions were mixed. Some say it was the last great over-engineered Mercedes that was built without cost in mind. Others say it wasn’t attractive with it’s body panels that look like slabs. Either way, 25 years later these cars still have me amazed at what it took to get this car — along with all of it’s advancements — into the hands of buyers who were willing to pay over 25% more than the W126 it replaced.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Mercedes-Benz 300SE on eBay

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1978 Mercedes-Benz 600 SWB

While we’re probably all familiar with the legendary Mercedes-Benz 600, one little fact of which enthusiasts may be unaware is that these behemoths were produced all the way up until 1981. It’s fairly amazing this über sedan that was introduced in 1963 outlasted the W116 S-class that was introduced in 1972 and lived on to see the birth of the W126 S-Class. In its time, this was quite possibly the best car money could buy, favored by dictators, celebrities and the well-to-do alike. The car wasn’t just a pretty face, however. It was also a technical tour de force, with a SOHC 6.3 liter V8 under the hood, a hydraulic pressure system that powered everything from the windows to the self closing doors and trunk as well as adjustable air suspension. This right-hand drive example for sale in London is not only rather uncommon due to its late build date, but has a rather muted cloth interior in place of the usual leather we see in these limousines.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 600 SWB on Classic Driver

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Elvis Presley’s 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600

(lights lift slowly over a sole figure on stage, the band strikes up the first notes to the familiar tune Jailhouse Rock. The singer breaks into verse…)

“Seller threw an auction up on eBay’s site
He was hopin’ that the listing got his price just right
He thought that the famous owner would take bidding far
‘Cause that giant Mercedes-Benz was Elvis’ car

Let’s bid, everybody let’s bid
Anyone who remembers who Elvis was
Will want to get in his old cars…”

I was going to make a concerted effort to write this entire post without referencing either a Twinkie or the signature catch phrase “Thank you, thank you very much”, but I’ve just failed. Look, I’m not here to give you a history lesson on Elvis or his importance. I’m not here to recount the leather jump-suited Vegas years, whether I like fat old Elvis or young vibrant Elvis, or even debate if he stole music from African Americans. I’m not going to give you a history lesson on the Mercedes-Benz 600, either. But let’s consider a few things about this car. The 600 was expensive. Really, really expensive. Arguably, in the late 1960s it was the nicest car that money could buy, and since it took a lot of money to buy, some really famous people owned them. Only about 2,600 were made, mostly in short wheel base variants like the one that Elvis bought. We learn he put $5,500 down and yet still had 36 monthly payments of $344. That equates to $17,844 in 1969; a figure which doesn’t seem particularly outrageous today and even inflation corrected it’s “only” about $116,000. But it was far more expensive than your average car, and it took near royalty to get into the 600. You needed to be someone like Elizabeth Taylor, John Lennon, or…well, Elvis to buy one. And if you weren’t an A-list celebrity , you were probably a dictator; Chairman Mao, for example, was a famous owner, along with Tito, Ceausescu, Pol Pot, Papa Doc, Hirihito, de Klerk, Marcos, Kim Jong-il, and Saddam Hussein. Basically, you go through history, and everyone the West considers a “baddy” owned a Mercedes-Benz 600. But, universally they’re still lauded as one of the most impressive automobiles ever made, and when you couple a celebrity owner (which, proportionally, is perhaps more likely than any other single model car in history other than some really low-volume models of Ferraris and Duesenbergs) you’ve got a recipe for a high asking price:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600 on eBay

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1967 Porsche 912

The 912 had a fairly short run as Porsche’s entry-level coupe. Though it had a lot of early success and seemed well liked, its appeal seems to have waned rather quickly and after a short 5 year production run it was replaced by the 914 as Porsche’s cheapest offering. It did reappear for one year as Porsche transitioned from the 914 to the 924, but it is that first run that was most interesting. Perhaps the 912 simply was too similar to the 911, a trait that now stands as one of its best features, and as Porsche released the 911T the writing on the wall was clear, the 912 would be replaced. Nearly identical in appearance to the 911, the 912 used a 1.6 liter flat-four derived from what had been standard in the 356. This smaller and lighter engine had the effect of creating a more balanced chassis relative to the 911 and early 912s were reputed to handle better than their more expensive sibling. On the short-wheelbase models produced from 1965-1968 those dynamic differences were at their most pronounced. In 1969 Porsche decided that with the release of the 914 and 911T that production of the 912 would no longer be viable and the model was discontinued. Here we have what looks like a very nice example of one of the short-wheelbase models: a Bahama Yellow 1967 Porsche 912 Coupe, located in Oregon, with 58,516 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1967 Porsche 912 on eBay

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1967 Mercedes-Benz 600 SWB

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For a car manufacturer with a history spanning over 100 years, it’s fairly impressive that historians and enthusiasts still regard the 600 as one of the most notable models from Mercedes-Benz. This was a landmark vehicle not just for the company but the whole automotive scene. It was one of the most expensive and complex vehicles of its day and as such, anyone who was anyone seemed to own one, from movie stars to dictators. These cars are highly valued today and many that come up for sale have been treated to lavish restorations costing thousands of dollars. This 600 SWB for sale in Illinois, however, is a driver quality car, showing the wrinkles of age as it closes in on 200,000 miles. But it wears its patina in a dignified manner in which only a Grosser Mercedes can.

Click for details: 1967 Mercedes-Benz 600 on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 1965 Porsche 911

For some time, old race cars were near throw-away items. Vintage racing has changed that and given new life to old steeds to the point that some vintage race cars are actually more valuable than their road-worthy counterparts. This is especially true when you’re talking about very rare cars or cars with historic wins – but in some cases, provenance doesn’t matter quite as much when the market is red hot. One red-hot market right now is the early Porsche 911 market with cars tripling in value over the past year and a half. Couple a short wheel base ’65 911 with one of the most historic races linked to the Porsche name – Sebring – and you’ve got one desirable package:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1965 Porsche 911 on eBay

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Grösser Mercedes Roundup

With the discontinuation of Maybach, the S class once again becomes the flagship of the Mercedes-Benz lineup. There has been talk of an über S-class of sorts, but nothing yet has materialized. Back in the early 1960s, however, Mercedes was toying with the idea of going up against the world’s best with the 600, available in short and long wheelbase forms, as well as Landaulet version with a rear convertible roof. There’s a few 600s floating around the auctions this week, beginning with this short wheelbase (SWB) example for sale in Miami.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1971 Mercedes-Benz 600 on eBay

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1966 Porsche 911 Sunroof Coupe

The 911, for good reason, has developed a reputation as a difficult car to drive. Much of this has to do with the rear-engine layout and subsequent dynamic imbalances from the resulting rearward weight distribution. In its early years, these effects were actually more pronounced due to the 911’s shorter wheelbase. A shorter wheel base produces greater agility and provides for easier right-to-left transitions, but in a car with its weight shifted towards the rear those nimble qualities can quickly get out of hand. For the 1969 model year Porsche sought to improve the 911’s overall stability by lengthening the wheelbase, making the short wheelbase cars somewhat of a historical footnote. The car we have featured here comes from those first few years of 911 production: a long-time garaged 1966 Porsche 911 Sunroof Coupe with a mere 14,620 miles on it, located in Oregon. It doesn’t wear its original shade of Light Ivory paint, but still looks very sharp here in Red.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1966 Porsche 911 Sunroof Coupe on eBay

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1966 Mercedes-Benz 600 SWB

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Besides the good weather, one benefit to living in California is the never ending stream of privately imported vehicles that arrive regularly from the Far East. Most coming into the ports these days are Japanese machinery forbidden to us, such as Nissan Skylines, Toyota Soarers and the odd, diminutive Kei car. Occasionally, a few European motors will be sourced, such as this 600 SWB. Just a few days ago, we featured a very nice, original 600 SWB, but this one is a bit different. This 600 comes equipped with the divider between the front and rear passenger compartments, a rare option for the “smaller” variant of the 600 range. Also, velour upholstery is present in the rear compartment in place of the more common leather.

Click for more details: 1966 Mercedes-Benz 600 SWB on eBay

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