1979 Mercedes 450SEL: Deflated 6.9


Take a look at this classic Mercedes 450SEL here on eBay with the torque-monster 6.9 V8 stuffed inside. This is a serious project, for people not scared of spiders in addition to untold thousands of dollars in work. The seller sounds nothing short of eccentric, if not standoffish, for his admission that he parked the car 3 years ago and lost all interest in it after years of being maintained by a specialty European shop. He refuses to clean if off because, well, he’s sick of cars and doesn’t care if he loses some money in the interest of moving inventory (that tends to happen when the local government starts levying fees for excess vehicle storage). While I do love these old air-suspension Benzes – and when running right, that engine is a gem – this car may be destined for parts status unless the seller’s claims hold water that a faulty compressor is its biggest sin. And that’s not all he has for sale….


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  1. randy

    The 6.9 450SEL has quite a few parts that only fit this car, very expensive restoration.
    You are better off investmentwise with the 6.3 300SEL

  2. Walter Joy

    That ZIMMER though

  3. z1rider

    A friend of mine restores primarily 190sl’s but dabs in many other Mercs of the 50’s and 60’s. When he was approached by an owner of a 6.9 he advised they would need to deliver it with a trunk full of 100 bills.

    They thought he was kidding. At first.

  4. Rs

    The W116 450SEL 6.9 is a wonderful, reliable car, with a hydraulic suspension developed by Citroen and a 3 speed transmission. Many underpinnings as well as body, and interior are the same as the sprung counterpart 4.5 and 2.8 litre cars. This seems to be being confused with the W109 300SEL 6.3 (and the 600 which is also a wonderful car, but hard, and expensive to keep on the road, with a 6.3 litre mechanically injected engine and a pneumatic (air) suspension backed up by a 4speed auto trans. The 6.3, while being my favorite of the trio driveability-wise, is nowhere near the car the 6.9 car is.

    • Tobias

      Excuse me, but this is completely wrong. Mercedes’ installed 4 speed automatic transmissions since the 60ies and it’s very own developed hydropneumatic suspension. Nothing to do with citroën at all.

      The 6,9 engine is based on the 6,3 but with 286 HP rather than the 250 HP the 6,3 has. Both engines are M100

  5. Kieron

    Hi it must be worth a dealer buying it if only to strip
    It wouldn’t last long on eBay in Europe

  6. randy

    No confusion here, the 6.3 300SEL will appreciate much more quickly than the 116 chassis 6.9. There are a vast number of parts that WILL NOT interchange with the 4.5, 2.8 116 chassis. Body parts are a given. I am suggesting that if you want a hole to throw money into, the 6.3 would be a nicer hole with fewer leaks.

    • Dave Wright

      You may be wrong about the appreciation numbers…… A 40,000 6.3 might go to 60,000 but a 2000.00 6.9 will much more likely go to 10,000. In my business school, that is much better appreciation. The old lexicon…….you buy straw hats in the winter applies again.

      • randy

        I do not understand how you compare a 40K 6.3 to a 2K 6.9? The better comparison would be, a 2K 6.3 or a 2K 6.9? I think you’d pick up the 6.3 if the condition of both were the same.

        On the same note, I’d buy this 6.9 for 2K if it were next door. You cannot go wrong at that price.

      • Dave Wright

        I have owned 3 6.3’s and am doing a 1973 300SEL 4.5 right now. A engineless 6.3 chassis will sell for more than 2,000 today. I have seen 6.3’s in the same condition as this 6.9 sell for 15k or more. Appreciation is figured as a percentage…..I know we Americans are math challenged. But the fact remains

  7. Horse Radish

    Worth it for parts ?

    There has to be enough cars out there that people are willing to fix.
    I don’t see that.
    For every decent cars there are 10 ‘parts-cars’ out there………
    .. and usually the same parts that are needed are bad on those ‘parts cars’….
    hydraulics, brakes, interior….

  8. John Edwards

    Last checked at $625.oo someone better scoop it up if for no other reason than for parts. I had a 75 450 SEL 5.2 even these cars were costly to maintain, but well worth the effort.

  9. George

    Maintenance deferred is his motto for all of his vehicles.

  10. Chris

    @ John Edwards,
    I wan that “75 450 SEL 5.2” one of a kind prototype…………………
    6.9’s are money (Eating) machines.

  11. randy

    Hey Dave, you just made my point. The 6.3 has way more potential.

  12. Jeff Staff

    I don’t know – I keep watching this scene from Ronin over and over again without any concern about cost to restore:


  13. Mark

    A junk yard with a gardener? Must be a high end joint.

  14. Rex Kahrs Member

    With 48+ plus cars to keep track of, it’s no damn wonder the guy got sick of it. And who but Jay Leno can afford the upkeep on 48 cars, especially a money pit like this Mercedes? Rancho Luna if you ask me.

    We’ve all seen so many car guys/hoarders that just accumulate cars, but never have the energy or money or ambition to get ’em running and enjoy them, and as we all know, they just sit and rot and go to waste. It’s mental. (You can tell I’m getting agitated…deep breath….).

    For what it’s worth, my poor-boy approach has been to buy a project car each year, work on it and get it running and enjoy it, then either keep it or sell it along. I’ve never won at Amelia Island, but I haven’t lost money on any car believe it or not (OK I haven’t been paid for labor I admit) yet my wife encourages every new acquisition…she loves the cars. And there isn’t one non-running car on my property covered in Oak leaves, and nay shall there ever be!

  15. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    This one ticks all the boxes for me with the exception of it being on the Left Coast.
    A sunroof equipped car, have done mods to the these pneumo suspended cars but now the parts are at least available at a price, high, but worth the extra.
    The eccentricities of the owner concern me, mainly because he’s not close.
    Would be interested on how the driver’s seat managed to get that bad.

  16. randy

    Way to be Rex, I have seen lots of $$ go down the tubes on neglected cars. I do not think I’ve ever made money on the strays I take in and then sell to someone else.

    I’d like to say I do it for the fun, but it does not end up being much fun after a while.
    My last find is a doozy though: ’65 F100

  17. Dave Wright

    The car sold for 3100.00, (I was the third highest bidder) I was at the Stutgart Classic Mercedes center yesterday. They had the identical car for 70,000 euros. That leaves enough cash on the table for a lot of work. The Europeans are driving the markets on this type car today. I had a friend offer me a very nice 3.0CSI yesterday at what he thought was a very good price…..58,000 euros. The classic centers are pricing common 123 chassis coupes for 30,000 euros. The European economies have become very wealthy and are a force to be reckoned with in the old car market,

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