Every Box Checked: 1969 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL

1969 Mercedes 300 Sel Barn Find

It’s said that the clothes make the man. In the case of this recently discovered 1969 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3, the options make the car. This Autobahn cruiser is equipped with a plethora of Mercedes factory equipment that sets it apart from its siblings. Despite having a serious case of the tin worm in the rear quarters, the build sheet alone could make this a 300 worth saving. Find it here on eBay with a current bid of just over $2,000 and the reserve unmet.

1969 Mercedes 300 Sel Tarped

After beginning its life in Germany, this 6.3 made its way stateside in 1972. The original owner was clearly intending to spend some time being transported in comfort and speed, and possibly driving straight through the night. With a set of factory air horns, driving lights, rear fog light, rear curtains, a writing table, and auxiliary reading lamp, it’s not difficult to imagine an oil baron being whisked through the pitch-black countryside by his faithful driver. It even has a rear remote for the original – and desirable – Becker Grand Prix radio. Of course, with that monstrous V8 under the hood, being behind the wheel is the only place we would want to be.

1969 Mercedes 300 Sel Loading

The history of the 6.3 is one every gearhead can enjoy. The Mercedes engineer behind the Frankenbenz was Erich Waxenberger, who dropped the massive lump found in the 600-series limousine into the snooze-inducing 280-series S-Class. Not surprisingly, Waxenberger was also an amateur racer who would go on to pilot a thoroughly massaged 6.3 in numerous endurance races. The tank-like build qualities of early Benzes make the platform an ideal choice to withstand the rigors of road racing, curb weight notwithstanding.

1969 Mercedes 300 Sel Engine

Although this particular 6.3 has spent the last 30 years in dusty slumber, the stacked headlamps and dual-outlet exhaust are telltale signs of its potential. With 300 b.h.p. on tap and over 400 ft. lbs. of torque available at a low 3,000 RPMs, it’s no wonder legendary Cannonballer Brock Yates was left star-struck by its credentials: “The stability of the 6.3 at 130 mph is beyond the realm of comprehension for most drivers who have spent their time behind the wheels of domestic sedans. Even in the non pareil of American sports machinery, the Corvette, a ride in excess of 100 mph is a thrill — knuckles whiten, eyeballs vibrate, mouths become parched — but at similar velocities the 6.3 is merely cantering far below its limits.” CAR and DRIVER 1969.

1969 Mercedes 300 Sel Interior

The interior of this 300SEL has held up well, with a crack-free dash, clean carpets and pleasant navy-blue velour seating still intact. Mercedes-Benz interiors always seem capable of withstanding years of neglect, and this 6.3 is no different. Although the seller is excited to describe the unique features and conditions surrounding its discovery, the lack of input on the car’s mechanical condition would warrant a follow-up phone call. The 6.3 came equipped with a fiddly air-suspension that can bring stratospheric repair bills. In addition, the seller acknowledges metalwork will be a significant undertaking, with the rockers and left-rear trunk floor needing replacement.

1969 Mercedes 300 Sel Back Seat

Despite all this, being behind the wheel of this beast as the driving lamps peer through the night is reason enough to find a six-cylinder model to sacrifice for its rust-free components. Perhaps the next owner won’t be so quick to put down the pen, re-latch the writing table and walk away.

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Comments

  1. Kraig

    Really looks odd to see a velour interior in a Mercedes!

  2. E55

    Velour interior suggests gray market car imported in the 80’s. On the other hand, the headlights do not. I presume the VIN tags would confirm that it is a US market car. Regardless, from what I understand, that the costs associated with repairing the pneumatics alone could render a reclamation unfeasible – and if it has indeed been sitting that long, then issues with the pneumatics are a certainty.

  3. E55

    Also, note Euro rear fog lamp in first picture…

  4. TMP

    As being probably one of the few here that spends more money restoring old architecture than old cars (and I blow a lot of money on old cars) I have to say that I can’t tell whether if I would have that V8 Benz or that amazing barn.

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