“Built like a Mercedes”. This is the inevitable comparison drawn on anything that, while heavy in construction, aims for the tolerances, materials and engineering excellence of the Mercedes-Benz cars of the 1970’s and 1980’s: vehicles robust like few, truly meant to last a lifetime if properly taken care of. Cars that, while relatively spartan compared to Rolls-Royce or Bentley, offered an ergonomy, fit and finish only found in aircraft and precision equipment. A machine truly built with no expense spared, priced only after being fully tested by legions of meticulous German engineers to the highest of standards. The wheels of choice for industrialists, celebrities, bankers, and government leaders. The best of the best, for the best.
In the late sixties, Mercedes-Benz incorporated the 6.3-litre M100 powerplant from its 600 limousine to its S-Klasse lineup, effectively creating the world’s first fully European Q-Car. The next generation of flagship models, the W116, would see its top models equipped with a refined 6.9-litre engine evolution, and a cushy —yet responsive— hydropneumatic suspension. With the largest European engine since the Second World War, the mighty 6.9 could outrun many exotics of the time, and could reach 100kmph from a standstill in little over seven seconds.
Excluding the Grand 600, the 6.9 was the most expensive Mercedes money could buy in the late 1970’s, retailing at nearly Rolls-Royce pricing. It became a favourite with movie and music stars, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and David Bowie, and starred in different films that epitomizing its power and stability: Lelouch’s “C’était un rendez-vous” (1976), Lynch’s “Lost Highway” (1997), and Frankenheimer’s “Ronin” (1988), all prime examples of what the 6.9 could really do on the tarmac.
Tomini Classics is proud to release what may be one of the finest 6.9’s available anywhere in the world. Practically a new car, this 450SEL 6.9 was delivered new in the United States, and has covered less than 500 miles from new. The car subsequently moved to its native Germany, where it received an overhaul of its hydropneumatic suspension to ensure full operability. The original service manuals are blank and untouched; all paintwork, rubber and leather are original, and the car looks, smells and sounds like it did back in 1979. A true time-warp example.