A Pair Of 6.3s: Mercedes-Benz 300SEL Projects


There are some cars that can always be cheaper. As in, given the amount of work involved in bringing this 1971 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 here on eBay back to life, the $5,500 asking price still seems a bit high. I love these cars truly and deeply; the 6.3 8-cylinder engine is still a beast of a motor today and turned the sedan landscape on its head when introduced. However, there was nothing cheap about these sleeper sedans. From air suspension to air conditioning, simplicity is not a trait often identified with classic Mercedes. The seller does himself no favors by enlisting the help of a friend with an eBay account (with zero feedback) who claims to know very little about the car, other than the obvious rust holes that pockmark the roof. As you can see in the listing, this example has been cast outside with another 6.3 that is also listed on eBay by the same seller in similarly rough condition. The big-bodied V8 cruiser was once called “The greatest sedan in the world” by Road & Track – hopefully, both of these examples will soon find better homes than a vacant lot.


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  1. The Walrus

    When the author says he doesn’t know much about it, I wonder if he is referring to the systems in the car. Due to the heft of electrical components of the day, and the relative inefficiency of vacuum, the power systems in these are hydraulic. Restoring or even returning function to dilapidated examples such as these would be a frustrating if not impossible enterprise for an amateur. They are beautiful when functioning, but I have just accepted that they are out of my league.

  2. Chris A.

    Mortgage your house, then use the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ to build a replica “Rosso Schwein” 300 SEL 6.3 endurance sedan racer. Don’t even think about the tire cost or the gas mileage. Find an AMG 6.8 liter engine built to 400hp if you have really deep pockets. It’s not a car, it’s a panzer.

    • Roni Solomon

      I believe the German nickname for this car was “Die Rote Sau” for “The Red Pig.”

      Here’s a pretty neat video of it in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIMBKqajRqc

      • Horse Radish

        And mind you: There are a half dozen or more replicas out there already and counting………..

  3. jean Lecointe

    I still wonder how these luxury cars went to that dilapilated state.
    I have a story about a friend of mine who heard about a garage in Paris which had to be emptied.
    All he knew was that there was a Mercedes in the garage that he could take for free.
    He went with a friend, a big four wheel drive Toyota and a trailer.
    When they opened the garage, they found a 1968 300SEL with 65000Km on the odometer, flat tyres,a thick cover of dust but untouched for 18 years.
    Taking the car back home was not very simple but with air in the tyres, fuel in the tank and a new battery, the engine started each cylinder at a time and after 20minutes the car lifted herself with the pneumatic suspension. Not a single spot of rust, red leather interior like new.
    The only things missing are cartriges for the 8 tracks tape player.
    After that, don’t you think that Santa Claus does exist?

    • Jeff Staff

      Jean, that is the stuff dreams are made of. I think watching an ‘ol girl prop herself up on the factory air suspension would be on my gearhead bucket list of barn finds.

  4. DENIS

    And now let me tell you about the 100s of tales of woe from people who went to buy, only to get their dreams shattered because they believed in that one fairy tale…I guess that’s part of the FUN? Generally, sellers of classic vehicles are liars(or do they sin by omission)? I have driven many hours to pick up the car of my dreams, only to get there and say…”This is not the one in your ad, you must have another in the garage”..? What is the fine in this county for assault? lol

  5. jean Lecointe

    Hi Denis,
    You are perfectly right, I do have also very pitiful stories about unpleasant sellers and disapointement.
    But, once in a very long while, a miracle happens.
    That’s, in my opinion, a reason to keep faith.

  6. redwagon

    that is the definition of training, or behavior modification. the reward is not given every time but randomly after similar events occur. not everyone who goes to investigate a barn find brings home a winner, but once in awhile someone does and it serves to reinforce the behavior. as humans we share the stories and so it reinforces the behavior in more than the single individual that brought home that reward.

    perhaps a more rational person would look at the odds and say ‘the effort involved plus the cost are not worth the potential payback, therefore i am not going to investigate that hobby.’ however the emotional payback if and when we find a winner keeps not only one person but many people looking for the next reward.

    do you feel like a rat pushing a bar? perhaps. no perchance my next push will get me that treat!

  7. Dave Wright

    I take many risks in everyday life including my old car hobby. There are obvious sights to beware of but I am frequently rewarded by risking the purchase of a poorly described car or even one that doesn’t photograph well. I love making a deal and finding a better machine than everyone else expected. There is noting more fun than being at a sale with a bunch of pessimists, I beat them every time. I love these cars and have owned many, have a 300SEL 4.5 now that I may be buried in but have owned many 6.3’s. They are scary on paper if major repairs are required but they are very good cars and seldom need the big dollar stuff……….so, to all you pessimists, these are terrible expensive cars, you will never recoup your investment….so, leave them to me.

  8. Dolphin Member

    I never thought I’d ever be making this choice, even theoretically, but as I see it, it just can’t be avoided.

    Given what Dave just said I might be dead wrong, but between this M-B 6.3 and the ’62 Caddy deVille convertible that came just before it, I would go for the Caddy, for all kinds of reasons that don’t need listing here—-personal preference for early-’60s style-on-the-cheap, a roof that lets the sun in, a body and mechanicals/suspension that don’t need lots of fixing (hopefully) with very special know-how and expensive parts, and a ready market down the road to sell into when the next toy comes along.

    Sorry, l guess that’s a bit of a list after all.

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