Parked in 1990: 1969 Mercedes 300SEL 6.3

This 1969 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 sedan is one of the more collectible high-performance sedans to emerge prior to the legendary 6.9L Benz hitting showrooms. This example has been under the care of a longterm second owner prior to being parked in 1990. The seller is a friend of the owner and states the 300SEL remains in excellent shape despite being a non-runner. Find it here on eBay where bidding is just over $10K and the reserve remains unmet.

The 6.3 is powered by the M100 V8, which provided thrust that’s still respectable today. Other high-end features included air suspension, disc brakes, and the usual power features and leather trim. This example is said to have a very straight body despite in desperate need of a cleaning, and the seller says he cannot find any rust on the vehicle.

The interior remains in surprisingly good condition, but this is a testament to the wisdom of indoor storage for vehicles that go into early retirement. The dash isn’t cracked and the wood trim still looks lovely. Other interior photos show the door panels to be in good shape with leather in decent shape on the rear and passenger seats; the driver’s seat exhibits some cracking.

No attempt has been made to fire up the monster V8, and this is where these cars can give some enthusiasts pause. They are robust and reliable when running well, but expensive to restore. Fortunately, this example shows no sign of the bodywork many of these cars need at this point. If you’re looking for a parts car or project, check out this recent Barn Finds Exclusive. 

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Comments

  1. Rhett

    These cars have always intrigued me. The embodiment of understated intercontinental cool. My 60’s playboy self would never sell the Dual Ghia or the 330 America to make room for one, but I guess I could keep it at the NYC apartment garage..

    Like 2
  2. Superdessucke

    These were fast for the day. Once read a great story about a kid getting whooped by one of these in a 1970 Chevelle SS 396 and ending up in a field. I’d be concerned about costs to get this one roadworthy tho.

    Like 3
    • Steven Ligac

      That would not surprised me at all…

  3. Bob McK Member

    Lovely car. The cost to repair it is much like a Rolls Royce.

    Like 2
  4. Martin Horrocks

    The engine is the least of the problem with these. But this looks like a beautiful thing for a sympathetic and knowledgeable owner to take on.

    Magnificent.

    Like 2
  5. John Holden

    Watch out for the hydropneumatic suspension!

    Like 3
    • Superdessucke

      Unless it’s gonna be a showcar, point that system towards the nearest dumpster and go with regular coils and shocks. Your wallet will thank you, a little. Still won’t be cheap tho.

      Like 1
    • Mark

      If you can’t afford fixed ?
      Don’t try to purchase- this is only for people who like original car and respect to
      Power and Beauty and speed

      Like 3
      • Superdessucke

        I’d purchase. And then put a set of Bilstein shocks and Eibach springs on it and go to town. Maybe a 1″ drop. Nothing huge.

        Like 3
    • Audifan

      W109s have air suspensions.
      W116s 6.9 and non US spec. W126s have hydropneumatic suspensions.

      Like 1
  6. Jeff

    Amen on the hydropnuematic suspension troublems…I have a 1990 560 SEC, 140,000 orig miles,beautiful car, head turner etc etc….BUTsuspension does not function…stymied

    Like 1
    • Audifan

      560 SECs don’t have the full hydropneumatic suspension.
      It’s only a load leveling system for the rear axle. The shocks are unfortunately 500.– a piece, but the spheres are only 100.– a piece. That should fix the problems.

      Like 3
  7. Will Fox

    You could EASILY match what you pay for one of these 6.9’s just getting the engine in shape. I doubt it starts, and without new clean oil, antifreeze, and battery I wouldn’t even try. These were not built in large numbers, and Benz lovers covet these. They’ll cruise all day at 145mph. These provide all the thrill of any huge engine/smaller car combo out there. You either know how to work on these, or know someone who can & you can afford it. Otherwise, don’t even bother.

    Like 2
  8. That Guy

    I’ve owned two of these. Suspension is airbags, not hydropneumatic. On one car, I had to replace the two rear airbags and it wasn’t that expensive as I recall. The system was generally robust and reliable.

    Many new cars will outrun a Mercedes 6.3 today. In 1969 though, it would out-drag almost anything less than a big-block Corvette or a Mopar hemi. It’s still a thrilling drive even now. Both mine have been sold on, and I’m grateful that I had the chance to own and experience them.

    Like 4
    • Dave

      6.3=383 cubic inches?

      • Audifan

        It’s not a domestic car.
        The rest of the world uses the metric system.
        Ergo, six point three.

      • Dave

        384.3, to be exact. This car would fly!

        Like 2
  9. Audifan

    The air suspension in a W109 is not that complicated.
    Usually the weak components are the 3 leveling valves. If bought at MBZ, a 2nd mortgage might be necessary. But these can be bought rebuilt on German ebay for approx 1k for all three.
    The control valve and the compressor usually don’t break and the 4 air bellows also last for a long time. Replacement bags are not very expensive.
    In the 15 years I owned my 1967 300 SEL I had to replace only the 3 leveling valves.
    The ride comfort is fantastic. The suspension also stays up for a very long time when it’s in perfect shape.

    Like 1
  10. RG in PDX

    A buddy in college had one of these, and we partied all over Dallas on weekends. So cool, but super-spendy to repair. The air suspension was always a problem, and finally he sold the car (traded it for a sensible Honda, not as cool, but cheap to operate and never needed fixing!).

  11. Steve Bush Member

    Was lucky enough to drive one of these, thanks to a neighbor, as an teenager in the mid 1970s. Just around the neighborhood, not on the highway. Even so, it seemed quick, luxurious and solidly built, a much better car in all ways than my parent’s somewhat larger and slower 1974 Matador sedan.

  12. Steven Ligac

    I always remember that the venerable 302 Ford is (mathematically speaking), today’s 5.0. Thus, I use 60 cubes per litre as a general point-of-view.
    🙂🙂🙂

    Like 1
  13. ArtyParty

    A lot of the interior looks quite marked with rusty brown staining…..I think Winston Wolf must have had an off day! Also what’s with the air controls on the dashboard?

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