1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 Sedan

Mercedes-Benz, known for its precision engineering and opulent designs, created the 450 SEL 6.9 as a flagship model within the W116 S-Class series. This model stood out in the 1970s as an unexpected champion of speed and luxury, rivaling and often surpassing many renowned sports cars of the era, outpacing the Ferrari 308 GTB by half a second and the Aston Martin V8 Vantage by 0.3 seconds in the 0-60 mph sprint, a testament to its advanced engineering. Yet, its prowess extended far beyond mere speed. Distinguished by its lavish all-leather interior, exquisite walnut veneer wood dash, and an array of luxurious amenities including heated front and rear seats, automatic climate control, and a premium Becker sound system, the 450 SEL 6.9 redefined automotive luxury. Holding the coveted title of the quickest 4-door sedan for several years, it was a symbol of engineering excellence and unmatched comfort. Only in 1987 was its reign challenged with the arrival of the Mercedes-Benz 300E AMG Hammer, marking the end of an era of unparalleled performance and sophistication.

The 450 SEL 6.9 utilized a substantially large 6.8 Litre dry-sump M100 V-8 engine, producing 285 brake horsepower. Each engine was meticulously hand-assembled at the factory, bench-tested for nearly 4.5 hours before installation. Notably, the crankshaft, connecting rods, and pistons were all forged steel for exceptional durability. These engines were built to last, propelling the vehicle to an impressive top speed of 150mph. Remarkably, this was achieved by a car weighing over 4,400 lbs. Additionally, the 450 SEL 6.9 was the world’s first passenger car to be equipped with a modern form of ABS, an electronic four-wheel multi-channel anti-lock braking system from Bosch.

The 450 SEL was known by several names, including the S-Class and the W116. In the North American market, the 450 SEL 6.9 was simply called the 6.9, featuring the model’s name on the right side of the trunk lid. The 6.9 is less commonly referred to as “The Tank” due to its advanced hydropneumatic self-leveling suspension. This system, like those used in modern tanks and large military vehicles, provided a dynamic and high-capacity suspension for superior ride quality on various surfaces. Notably, unlike other S-class models, the 6.9 received the full system for both front and rear suspension.

This particular 1979 450 SEL 6.9 is the best-preserved example we have ever seen. The body is crisp, beautifully straight, and exhibits the precision quality that defines Mercedes-Benz cars of the era. The original Light Ivory (623H) paint remains impeccably preserved, exhibiting no signs of discoloration or fading. Emphasizing the vehicle's pristine condition, traces of the factory-applied Cosmoline undercarriage coating are still evident. The engine bay mirrors this preservation with its immaculate cleanliness, further underscored by the presence of the OEM Mercedes-Benz battery, thoughtfully chosen by the previous owners when replacement was required. The M100 engine provides endless power, impressive throttle response, and hums like a well-tuned instrument. For aesthetic enhancements, the previous owner also equipped the car with the more desirable and stylish European headlamps, likely installed when new as this was a common upgrade at the time, making it stand out from other US spec models. Notably, the odometer reads a little over 46,000 miles, and with the reliability of the hand-built M100 engine, it has only just begun its journey.

The theme of well-kept preservation continues into the interior of this 6.9, with the Bamboo-colored leather upholstery showing no signs of wear. All materials in the cabin appear original throughout and are in superb condition, including the deep-pile carpets, wood trim and Mercedes branded Coco floor mats reflecting this car’s cherished existence. When the car was originally purchased, it came equipped with a plethora of  standard features and factory  options including electric power windows, a heated rear windshield, a Becker Mexico radio, two power antennas (one specifically for the Motorola CB radio installed at the time of purchase), auto climate control, an electric sliding roof, heated front seats, and the exceptionally rare feature of a heated rear bench. The car boasts five brand-new speed-rated tires mounted on its original Bundt alloy wheels. Lastly, the owner will receive the original Mercedes-Benz owner’s manual, protecto plate, service book, and some service paperwork dating  as far back as 1980.

The 450 SEL 6.9 is considered a milestone in Mercedes-Benz history, revered for its technological innovation and luxury. Its legacy as a pioneering "hot rod" continues to influence modern AMG sedans. As collector's items, these vehicles are increasingly sought after, with this example standing out as one of the finest, most original, and correct examples available today. Whether on display at a concours or on the road experiencing the thrill of a genuine German autobahn cruiser, the 450 SEL 6.9 remains an iconic symbol of automotive excellence.


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Stock number 7726

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