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Mercedes 450 SEL 6.9 - Torque rocket from the wild 70s

Decades ago Mercedes had been the only popular European luxury brand in the Middle East region. One of the best-selling luxury cars was the top-of-the-range Mercedes 450 SEL with the 6.9 litres engine.

By 1975 the USA had long mothballed its moon vehicles, as with the Mercedes 450 SEL 6.9, W116 series the Germans unveiled a road rocket, whose thrust felt like it could easily rival a Saturn V. The constructors borrowed the engine from the basis of the powerful State limousine 600, which was equal to a Rolls-Royce in fame and luxury. From a gigantic 6,834 cubic centimetre capacity it wrung out 550Nm.

At its time this was an absolute record for a car and in comparison still has enough, to achieve the decisive trump against a current S500. These are sports values which many people would hardly expect behind the “baroque" facade, even though the price of 70,000 Marks for the vehicle at that time represented the value of a commonhold flat.

For everyone who didn’t really want to restrain the concentrated power, Sportservice Lorinser even then offered an extra-portion of overtaking prestige.

While the factory version of the W116 was a typical 70s car, thanks to the optical package from Lorinser it was able to make the jump to the modern era. The slim chrome bumpers, making the bodywork seem slim and flat, have been replaced by the technicians with wide, square plastic aprons at the front and rear. It almost seems as if the front spoiler with the racing grill insert and the integrated fog lights served as a prototype for Mercedes in the design of the next S-Class with the factory code W126.

On the sides massive side sills form an arch to the rear, which has also gained in volume due to a new rear apron and on its left side boasts a massive double exhaust pipe from Lorinser. With a firm step on the accelerator you can hear the snorting of 286 horses (210kw), which manage the gallop from 0-100 km/h in 7.4 seconds in a three gear automatic. Unfortunately the tyres, which are thin for modern dimensions in 205/55 VR 16 format, limit the traction a little.

On the other hand the multi-spoke alloys are a real sight for sore eyes: They come from BBS, as in the 70s Lorinser did not offer its own wheels. The eight-cylinder, which like a real sports car has dry sump lubrication, permits a maximum of 225km/h. Even then the hydro-pneumatic suspension system of the S-Class, which is based on a French patent, offers a harmonic ride. For its age the Mercedes takes fast corners extremely coolly and can be controlled with the maximum-grip Lorinser steering wheel surprisingly nimbly. It is therefore a car which doesn’t just invite cautious cruising.

The Mercedes 450 SEL 6.9 is indeed a very interesting car, which was used by several Middle Eastern royal families and presidents in their private and official arcades.

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