1976 Mercedes 450 SEL 6.9
The 450 SEL 6.9 is a true pioneer of the Q car movement, an iconic sports saloon and real wolf in sheep’s clothing for sure. The 6.9 was double the money of the standard 450 SEL at £24,500 and consequently a rare sight, as a car mad child I remember craning my head out of the car window to see if by any chance a passing S Class would be a 6.9. It soon became the car to be seen in and the roll call of first owners features the great and the good of the period including a number of well-known racing drivers, notably James Hunt whose 6.9 ended up on wooden blocks in his Wimbledon driveway and Niki Lauda who fondly referred to his as the world’s fastest taxi. It was also the star of that great short film ‘Rendezvous’, it was long thought that a Ferrari was used in that high speed drive through early morning Paris but in actual fact it was a 6.9 albeit with an overlaid Ferrari V12 soundtrack.
Most purchased their 6.9 in order to cover many miles in comfort at high speeds and consequently most are rather down at heel after years of heavy use. In short, it is hard to find a very good original car, particularly with a nice specification anywhere. However, here at Hairpin we have that unicorn. A lightly used 6.9 finished to a great and original specification with great history in exceptionally good original order.
This 6.9 was supplied new as a European left hand drive model by Garage Selvosa, the Mercedes Benz main dealer for Cannes in the South of France. It was ordered to a great specification with Silver Green Metallic paintwork and contrasting Olive Green full leather interior, options specified included air conditioning, Becker Monza stereo with Hirschmann aerial, cruise control and rear head rests.
The car remained with the original owner until 1994 and remained in the South of France until 2007. During this time it was well maintained as indicated in the original stamped service book and invoicing/correspondence on file.
In 2007 the 6.9 returned to Germany following purchase by a devoted Mercedes enthusiast. He obviously recognised how great and original this 6.9 was as he spent much time and money preserving and gently improving the car as indicated by many invoices on file and further service stamps.
The 6.9 was purchased by a UK dealer six years ago and was quickly sold on to a very discerning English collector and regular Hairpin customer who had been looking for just such an example for many years. It remained in his private collection of exceptional cars and featured in the Hampton Court Concours during this time. We bought the 6.9 from him several years ago and sold it to another regular customer again with a great collection. We re-purchased the 6.9 last year and immediately sold it back to the previous collector! It has come back to us again as this last owner is relocating. During its time in Britain the car has continued to be well maintained and is well-known to Mercedes supremos, Roger Edwards Motors.
Today the 6.9 remains in exceptionally good and largely original order throughout having covered 149,000 km from new and everything works as it should. It even retains that distinctive original Mercedes smell of the era and features superb detail. On the road many motoring icons disappoint, this one doesn’t, delivering on the legendary image with prodigious effortless performance even in a modern context with a precise hewn from solid feel. Indeed, one could easily use and enjoy this car every day without sacrifice, it is even ULEZ compatible!
The 6.9 comes with the above-mentioned history file, a full book pack in the correct wallet, original working stereo, tool kit and first aid kit.