Live Auctions

Stump Puller: 1978 Mercedes 450SEL 6.9

s-l1600 (14)

Ask most car guys about the movie Ronin and almost all of them will likely mention the scene where a Mercedes 450SEL 6.9 sedan executes a perfect J-turn and takes off after the bad guys. Mercedes’ powerhouse of a sedan is recognized globally as the epitome of a Q-Ship, but this example here on eBay is even more deserving of the title: as a true European-market model, it churns out an impressive 405 lb. ft. of torque! 

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Now, let’s get real for a second: you’re a long way from feeling that thrust beneath your right foot. This thing is a mess, from the deflated and defunct air suspension to the absolutely roached-out interior. I’m not sure what this Mercedes did to end up being so poorly neglected, but I’m personally surprised the lifted truck in the background of the photo above hasn’t driven over it a few times. The registration sticker shows it likely last turned a wheel sometime in ’98.

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This monster motor does turn freely, but don’t expect it to be any less of an undertaking to bring it back to life. The Euro-spec 6.9 pushed out 286 b.h.p. to accompany all of that torque, but it looks as if its primary use has been as a winter home for rodents over the last several years. The seller says this could be a good parts car for more road-worthy examples, but it breaks my heart just a bit to think of a true grey market 6.9 being parted. When new, this super sedan could rocket to nearly 150 m.p.h.

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Man, this thing has been left for dead. The rust in the fenders and lower sills, combined with the dented rear bumper and missing tail light all indicate long periods of neglect. Curiously, it retains its Euro-spec gauge cluster but the headlights have been swapped out for U.S. units; I wonder if the fun-sapping U.S. smog equipment has been installed as well. What does the future hold for this hot-rod Benz? Currently, there is one bid to $699 and no reserve listed.


  1. MH

    That thing is junk and should be crushed by the truck in the background. What’s up with the front seats? Put it out of its misery!

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      What’s up with the truck? The Testarossa truck would probably be a better canidate for the crusher.

      Like 1
  2. Grr

    “Left for dead”? Someone sure was. There’s an old, bloody murder weapon in the passenger footwell.

    • Blaster

      I just looked again – GRR is right, there is a freaking MACHETE in the floorboard!

  3. Bob

    The 6.9 is truly a factory hot rod but this one would cost twice as much to restore than it will ever be worth.

    • Dave Wright

      The same year 6.9 was for sale at the factory Museum last fall for 225,000 euros. It was off course very nice but had been driven. this is another car that prices are being driven by the European market.

  4. jaymes

    pretty cool, a slammed mercedes

  5. nessy

    To those of us who know, this is one rare and serious Mercedes. I once had a chance to drive one for about 30 minutes and while it was peppy at best, off the line, it pulled soooo hard at high speeds, it was scary. Real scary and the sound it made was unforgettable. A monster. The engine alone is well worth the current bid price. This old looking big tank, if running right, can still outrun most of the current Mercedes models on the showroom floor. This car does have incorrect wheels from a post model 86 560SEL but that is the least of it’s problems….

    Like 1
  6. wayne

    I like those sl rims on it. Keeps it with that Q-ship theme.

    Like 1
  7. PaulG

    These were pricy new, and only for the well heeled. I’m surprised it was left to end up in this condition, especially with such low miles. It’s too far away (thank goodness…) for me to bid on, otherwise I’d be very tempted

  8. ROAR

    For someone with the STRANGE tools AND the ability to work on these typically unique German beasts one can pick up these very good but inexpensive chassis and after rebuilding everything including a DRY SUMP system they’d have a serious hauler!
    They used this chassis for all their cars from the diesel up so you can find a nice one for $3K+/-.

  9. Dolphin Member

    I think these were the winners of the Autobahn wars back then, especially since most other cars had an engine with much less displacement and a fraction of the torque. You used to hear claims and stories about these on the unlimited sections of the Autobahn, and unless there was a Ferrari or Lambo around they never lost on top speed. Given the price of maintenance and petrol in Europe back then, with about 7 liters it must have been a very pricey ride.

    • Dave Wright

      When I lived in Europe, these big cars were a very good buy second hand. It was because if you could afford to drive one… could afford to buy a new one. My ex-chaufer driven 6.3 was less expensive than a comparable common diesel. The realitivley economical diesels really held there resale.

  10. jaygryph

    I really want to know more about that strange monster truck in the background. :D

  11. John

    Oh, but what stories those seats could tell…..

  12. Frank

    Great car. Sorry it’s so beat up.

    Programming note: the car in Ronin was an Audi S8.

  13. Old geezer

    These cars represented what Mercedes was capable of doing as opposed to the cars they build today.

    • Dave Wright

      I have 5 Mercedes right now and have owned dozens. My late model S600 is pretty magnificent. As are all of them I own, some for different reasons. Mercedes is like GM, they make a broad range of cars, the difference is all the Mercedes use the same name instead of building a Chevrolet to a Cadaliac.

  14. hhaleblian

    Lock and load.

  15. Mr. TKD

    I’ve always wanted one of these — but I don’t want this one. I imagine one of these in the best condition would be a pricey beast to maintain. But I can only daydream about what it would be like to have it on the highway where you could open it up and let it eat. I really need to win the lottery!

  16. john montgomery

    I’ve owned two 6.9’s over the years – both US models. The fascination quickly wears off after driving one for a while. It’s just old technology. They were awesome in their day for sure, but the HVAC systems sucked, it was far from being aerodynamic at speed, and really wasn’t all that quick, to be honest. My 560 SL was much faster than the 6.9, and my 500E was a breed apart entirely. It’s what happens with changes in technology over the years. The 6.3 was a raw beast, then the 6.9, then the 500E.
    The new Mercedes line-up runs circles around these old dogs. Not belittling the older cars at all, just stating fact. Shame to see one in this state. I agree, this is too far gone to be a worthy restoration candidate.

    • Horse Radish

      I want to see ANY 500e still around after 40 years…..

      • Dave Wrig

        We always thought the 6.3 was a better car but these have become more interesting with time. A 6.9 liter dry sump Overhead cam fuel injected V8 is pretty cool.

  17. Dan10

    This looks like a possible flood car. Too bad.

  18. Horse Radish

    What’s not to like .
    Two owner car with 36k original miles….

    If it weren’t for the photos and the description.
    Euro car (rust) worn out before shipped to PA (more rust) then parked 20/30(?) years ago ?
    And a flipper, used car dealer (LLC) with 88% feedback .

    This can ONLY end in disaster

    • Horse Radish

      Seller also has a Ferrari for sale at no reserve (hahaha).
      Just look at the bids on that and you know what’s going on with that LLC……..

      Now WHO WOULD bid on a 6.9 in that shape and bid on a Ferrari ?
      Bidder with (185)

      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        Does seem fishy. Maybe they decided they wanted the Ferrari instead?

      • Dave Wright

        So………What is fishy? I am the high bidder………….you guys need to get a life.

      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        Well, good luck Dave.

  19. ghalperin Glenn

    I’m digging the Testarossa.

  20. Ryan

    I’d like to have that Buick Reatta in the last picture…

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