Archive for the Mercedes Benz Category

Retrospect: 1976 Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL

Posted in Editorials, Mercedes Benz, Notorious Retrospect with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2016 by 99MilesPerHour

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Luxury saloons come…and luxury saloons go. Some leave an indelible impression. The iconic and unforgettable Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL is one such automobile. This elegant machine is highly versatile. Some are still in service and used throughout Europe as limousines. These high performance saloons are also at home on the Autobahn or on a nice leafy run in the countryside. Mercedes-Benz is a pioneer with monocoque construction, automobile aerodynamics, active and passive safety features, as well as ergonomic cabin design.

Form and function combined with notorious reliability is how the Mercedes-Benz brand retains world-class status.  Their engineering prowess keeps the automotive industry at the drawing board. The Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL remains at the top of the list for popularity. It was built as W116 450 SE and 450 SEL from 1973 until 1980. The formidable S-Class is simply one of the world’s finest crafted creations…it is part limousine and part performance saloon. They’re the perfect marriage of luxury and logic. From the iconic pentastar that adorns the classic radiator grille to the sleek aerodynamic silhouette, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is one of the most technically advanced saloons on the planet.  Mercedes-Benz presence in the industry has always been central, never peripheral.

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The Mercedes-Benz dynasty began with the collaboration of two master minds. In 1886 Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz presented an idea that changed the way transportation was destined. The automobile…or “horseless carriage” was born. Gottlieb Daimler’s credo was “The best or nothing.” This premise remains as a most enduring legend. Decade after decade the Mercedes-Benz motorcar has achieved success through innovation and advanced engineering prowess. It’s a standard of excellence that serves as a measure by which all automobiles are measured.

From supercharger to fuel injection through bi-turbocharging…no automaker in history has accomplished or contributed more. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class saloons are the flagships of the brand…they are considered a supreme achievement in motoring. The incomparable 450 SEL is the pioneer that laid the foundation for today’s version. The long wheelbase S-Class introduced an entirely new concept of aerodynamically efficient luxury saloons. The idea of precision automobiles first introduced by Mercedes-Benz is now an industry standard. Abundant power, ample cabin space, and myriad creature comforts makes the 450 SEL a favorite among collectors of fine automobiles.

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The world was introduced to a new premium luxury saloon September of 1972 as the next generation of high-end precision vehicles. Project W116 S-Class began in 1966 and was finalized in 1969. “S” denotes Sonderklasse, this translates to ‘special class’ which all senior Mercedes-Benz flagship models are tagged.  It began a prolific existence as the W116 280 series offered in two versions equipped with an M110 straight-six engine; the 280S uses a Solex carburetor and series 280 SE is equipped with a Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection system. “E” denotes fuel injection. W116 is also available as series 350 SE equipped with an M116 3.5 litre V8 engine. 

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The big news for the 1973 model year was the introduction of the 450 series. It includes the 450 SE and the 450 SEL. “L” denotes long wheelbase. These posh saloons are powered by the venerable M117 V8 engine. The epochal W116 S-Class escalated the brand to limousine status, refined, yet elegant. The sleek architecture is ahead of its time. While other luxury cars were bulking it up at the time, Mercedes-Benz was working on weight reduction and aerodynamics.

The W116 S-Class embodied the best in advanced German engineering for the genre. Its architecture is designed to battle crosswinds and overall wind turbulence. W116 S-Class has a mere 0.4 drag coefficient. The exact rake of the windscreen is part of the aerodynamics. Mercedes-Benz discretely incorporated aerodynamics into the body shell’s silhouette to manage airflow around the vehicle. Even the head and taillamps are built into the architecture to be exposed to a constant stream of air to keep them free from slush and debris while driving in inclement weather. Rain water is aerodynamically routed away from side windows. No other make had even considered such advanced thinking at the time.

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The 450 SEL is the epitome of European grandeur with architecture designed to slip through the airstream like a fuselage. This car moves in a manner the oversized dinosaurs we drove here in the USA… dared not try to replicate. The car is designed to ferry its passengers in a most luxurious style…but if you’re like me, slip it off the main roads to the back roads for a long leafy run – you may then use it as a sporting machine.

The 450 SEL is versatile and is equally at home on any road. You will discover, it floats over the worst boulevard pavement taking it all in stride. The flagship Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL saloon is a workhorse. At the time, it was the most aerodynamic luxury saloon sold in America. But we didn’t really care about such…we were driving our Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham, Lincoln Continental with the TownCar option, and lest we forget…our Imperial LeBaron – all of which were a city block long and half a city block wide!!!

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While other auto manufacturers concentrated on aesthetics, bells, and whistles…Mercedes-Benz designed not only safety into cabin specifications, but ergonomics as well. Padding anyplace that comes in contact with the body is integrated. This includes the dash, door impact cushioning, head restraints, and seat backs. Deformable switches and controls further occupant protection.

The heavily padded steering wheel absorbs severe impact with a collapsible steering column to protect the driver. The seats are designed in an upright fashion that is contoured to the body for comfort and safety. Americans at the time considered this configuration “stiff’ and uncomfortable because we were spoiled by our Fleetwood Broughams, Lincoln Continentals, and Imperial LeBarons which rode like big ‘ole rollin Barco loungers. The notorious 450 SEL is more than “just a car”…it’s a Mercedes-Benz.

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The long wheelbase in the 450 SEL adds extra legroom for rear seat passengers. Take note of the ergonomic design of the seats and head restraints. There are no dangerous protuberances in the cabin, everything is designed with occupant safety in mind. In the event of a serious collision, the entire cabin is designed to wrap around the occupants to shield them from injury without air cushion restraint systems…Mercedes-Benz leads the industry with safety innovation.

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Safety is paramount in a Mercedes-Benz, it is built-in and never added on and includes both active and passive systems. The brand adopted monocoque construction in 1951 because of its inherent rigidity and structural integrity. The fact that it isn’t held together by nuts and bolts means there are no squeaks and rattles. The collapsible crumple zone safety principal was pioneered by Mercedes-Benz. In addition to the steel safety cage constructed to surround the passenger cell, unique energy absorbing front and rear sections are designed to accordion at a controlled rate upon impact. This feature cancels negative energy before it reaches the passenger compartment.

The passenger cell is several thousand welding points strong. All doors are designed to neither burst-open nor jam-shut in an accident. Its skeleton of pillars, crossmembers, and panels is not only stronger, but far more resistant to torsional stresses than conventional body on frame construction. The steel passenger cell has a stiffened roof structure with high-strength roof and door pillars to further enhance occupant protection. Mercedes-Benz factory deployed robotic welding machines ensure each welding point is precise. Other auto makers were doing the process by hand. All body tolerances are routinely audited for quality control. Perfection is a driving force for Mercedes-Benz engineers.

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Under the hood resides the Daimler-Benz SOHC 4.5 litre, naturally aspirated 275.8 CID 16-valve V8 engine. It’s equipped with Bosch Jetronic indirect fuel injection. The 3,990+ pound behemoth moves with aplomb. This highly spirited luxury saloon cranks 180 hp @ 4,750 rpm with 248 Nm of peak torque @ 3,000 rpm.

Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 11.3 seconds, 0-100 mph in 34.8 seconds with a top speed in the 122 mph range. This is mighty-fast for a vehicle this heavy. It can do the ¼ mile @ 79 mph in just 18.2 seconds. The 450 SEL sports a front traditionally mounted engine with rear-wheel drive for excellent weight distribution to further refine its excellent handling and stability attributes.

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A high degree of suspension engineering is the basis for these stately saloons. Mercedes-Benz set benchmarks in the auto industry. The eminent W116 models come standard with 4-wheel independent suspension systems. Double wishbones with a stabilizing bar is fitted to the front. A diagonal swing axle, trailing arms and stabilizer bar is fitted to the rear. Coil springs are fitted at all four wheels. Power assisted rack and pinion steering is coordinated to suspension dynamics.

Mercedes-Benz and safety are synonymous. The W116 saloons are the first in the auto industry to offer electronic multi-channel anti-lock braking systems as an option for the 1978 model year. Four wheel power disc brakes teamed with ABS enhances stability and steering control during panic braking to provide shortened braking distances.

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The beauty of a Mercedes-Benz is the fact there is never a dramatic styling change overnight. According to the brand, “there has never been a violent change.” The overall appearance changes through gradual evolution. This is why every Mercedes-Benz S-Class looks as good today as it did when it drove off the assembly line, it is designed to challenge the years gracefully. “Evolution instead of revolution.”

The 450 SEL has dimensions close to those of contemporary luxury saloons. It’s 209.4” in length, 43.6” wide and 56.3” high. It rides upon a 116.5” wheelbase. As far as its appearance…it resembles today’s cars minus the chrome and if it were a tad bit boxier. The 450 SEL blends right in with what’s on the road now. The sophisticated styling will always remain prominent. The only issue with the 450 SEL…is the 4.5 litre V8 engine and its gas-thirsty attributes…but then no pain, no gain – right? Besides…spend it all while you are “above ground.” How many U-Haul trailers do you see attached to hearses?

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The completely new generation of Mercedes-Benz automobiles was developed as W116 luxury saloons and debuted in the fall of 1972. This is the birth of the S-Class series which became the flagship models for the brand. The S-Class represents a milestone in workmanship, handling characteristics, safety, and engineering that no other automobile manufacturer could match for the day. The formidable 450 SEL offers a level of performance, comfort, spaciousness, reliability, and perfection that satisfies the most discerning clientele. It is one of the first cars in the world to provide monocoque construction and a body structure designed to absorb and deflect impact from collisions.

Outstanding active and passive safety features combined with 4-wheel independent suspension and 4-wheel disc brakes catapulted the brand to world-class status. The Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL is part limousine and part performance saloon; an intriguing combination which enticed the auto industry to follow. This elite example of automotive technology earned its place in automotive history as the prelude of innovations the entire industry would replicate – NotoriousLuxury salutes the formidable Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL. Special thanks to Rodd Sala at Park Ward Motors Museum…he is one of the hardest working caretakers of fine automobiles in the entire industry! God Bless you Rodd!!

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Greg’s World is NotoriousLuxury…

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The contemporary Mercedes Maybach

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2016 Mercedes-Maybach Is Elite Sophistication

Posted in Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Grande Marque, Luxury Sedans, Maybach, Mercedes Benz, Mercedes-Maybach with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

“Nil fato relinquemus”

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The Mercedes-Maybach is an intriguing new Flagship with the core values of a German precision automotive legend. It characterizes a modern expression of dynamism, intelligence, and progressivism. The new Mercedes-Maybach has a specific character yet it draws unmistakably from the Mercedes-Benz genetic pool. It will also encompass the engineering prowess and paramount concern for safety, which made the Mercedes-Benz brand famous.

The Mercedes-Maybach debuted at the Geneva Motor Show February 17, 2015. These magnificent luxury saloons will be available as the S500, S550 exclusively for the US market, the S600, and the ultimate achievement in motoring…the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman limousine.

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The Mercedes-Maybach S600 top…Mercedes-Benz S600 bottom…to differentiate the two, the Maybach S600 rear doors are modified placing the rear door quarter windows into the “C” pillars, and placing the rear seats further back which affords more privacy for rear seat passengers. The Mercedes-Maybach S600 uses chrome to frame the windows and “B” pillars. It has a longer length than the Mercedes-Benz S600 which provides more room in the rear passenger compartment as well. They both have lovely, luxurious silhouettes.

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The Mercedes-Maybach is not a mere trim level, to clear up any misconceptions. It is an ultra-luxurious sub-brand of Daimler AG that blends the integrity and engineering achievement of the S-Class with the heritage and prestige of the Maybach name. These are even more exclusive than the S-Class which places the Mercedes-Maybach in a luxury class all by itself. It has been created for customers who demand the best in automotive design and manufacture.

Maybach DS 7 Two Maybach DS 7s, 1930 - four-door convertibles in front of the Zeppelin factory in Friedrichshafen

Wilhelm Maybach

The Maybach legend dates back to 1909 when it was founded by Wilhelm Maybach. The company built diesel and gas engines for zeppelins which are a type of rigid airship. The company built their first experimental car in 1919, and built the production version in 1921. They built a variety of luxury cars between 1921 and 1940 which are now highly sought classics. Daimler-Benz bought the company in 1960. After which, the Maybach Company was used to hand-build special luxury Mercedes-Benz editions in the W108 and W116 model range.

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The Maybach name was revamped in 1997 with a luxury car concept shown at the Tokyo Motor Show. They showcased two models as the Maybach 57 and the long wheelbase variant Maybach 62 which are the model’s lengths in metric decimeters. These automobiles were advertised as chauffeur-driven and never owner-driven with exclusivity being the intent. The Maybach 57 and Maybach 62 were built from 2002 until production ceased in 2012. Only 3,000 were built during its tenure. Prices ranged from $344,000 USD for the Maybach 57 and $1 Million USD for the Landaulette.

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 A special edition Maybach Zeppelin is limited to 100 built

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The Mercedes-Maybach S600 will augment this impressive new line-up in US markets. Prices will start at $189,350 USD. With a wheelbase exceeding 133” and a total length of 214.7”, the Mercedes-Maybach S600 saloon is a substantial automobile guaranteeing a smooth journey. The interior will offer two versions. The rear passenger compartment may be ordered as a 3-seat configuration or a 2-seat reclining style for added comfort. Amenities will include heated/air-conditioned and massaging seats, heated arm rests, and a 1540 watt Burmester 3-D surround sound audio system with 24 speakers.

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Reclining rear seats have extra cushions for the headrests

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Beautiful hand-crafted veneers available

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Gracious appointments abound in this luxury barouche

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Additional luxury amenities for the Mercedes-Maybach S600 includes a Driver Assistance Package (Intelligent Drive), Magic Body Control, Night View Assist Plus, a Warmth and Comfort Package that includes a heated windscreen, Head-Up display, LED Intelligent Lighting System, an Executive Rear Suite Package, Rear Seat Entertainment System, and the Air Balance Package. Due to the exclusivity of these magnificent saloons, they can be as unique as the owner’s request.

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The LED ambient lighting is mood enhancing

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As with all Mercedes-Benz motorcars there are no light bulbs

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Rear Seat Executive Suite

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Mercedes-Maybach S600 is unique among luxury motorcars

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Power for the Mercedes-Maybach S600 is derived from a 6.0 litre V12 bi-turbo engine that will produce 523 hp with 612 lb-ft of peak torque @ 1,900 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 5 seconds. The Mercedes-Maybach S600 inherits all contemporary design and engineering from Mercedes-Benz.

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Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman

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The ultimate achievement in motoring is the Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman limousine. This luxurious saloon has been the choice for government officials, heads of state, royalty, and other assorted high-profile individuals for decades. For its 50th Anniversary, a new top of the range position has been launched as the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman limousine. It is chauffeur-driven high-end automotive luxury that is traditionally associated with the brand.

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The Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman limousine is a bold new statement of exclusivity and supremacy. It proudly showcases the attributes of the next generation of the formal limousine. Its all-new design is a “High-end luxury-class motor vehicle with a proud pedigree.” This magnificent motorcar has the size and tasteful appointments that are important to luxury limousine clientele.

It follows the tradition of elegance, grace and dignity set forth by its predecessor. Its luxury length of 255.6″ allows passengers to stretch out and relax. The Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman limousine will continue to be the choice for dignitaries and high-profile personas based upon its stateliness and regal stature.

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An automobile of such eminence requires a passenger compartment to cosset its occupants in a manner to reflect extraordinary comfort and convenience. It’s the rear passenger compartment that makes a difference. Mercedes-Maybach calls it “the club lounge.” Two standard specification VIP or executive seats, face forward in the direction of travel. These seats luxuriously cradle the occupants with electrically adjustable recliners that are ergonomically correct. The head restraints have an extra cushion for comfort. Two additional seats face the executives’ seat for face-to-face contact.

The generously sized and tastefully appointed club lounge reflects the high-end luxury associated with the Maybach legend. The entire interior of the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman limousine is upholstered richly with hand-stitched leather augmented by diamond quilting. An electrically operated glass partition separates the passenger compartment from the chauffeur’s compartment for the ultimate in privacy. Being a highly bespoke automobile, the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman limousine is available with unique opportunities to make each as distinctive as its owner’s requests.

The Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman limousine is the new status symbol. Prices for unarmored versions start at 500,000 EUROS or $566,922 USD. They are exclusivity at the highest level. These exquisite automobiles epitomize the brand. Their passengers are chauffeured in the lap of luxury.

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Contrasting Classic and Contemporary

1964 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman and Mercedes-Maybach S600 saloon

From a blank sheet, creating a dynamic forward-looking design is best fulfilled by reinterpreting the essence of the past, at the same time introducing 21st century engineering. The culture of innovation and integrity are impetus to Mercedes-Maybach. Being true to its heritage yet contemporary, it is a distinctive new expression of an automotive legend. Technology and tradition are brought together with exceptional results. This is a dramatic beginning of a new era for the motorcar. The Mercedes-Maybach is a dynamic step forward in the ultra-luxury automobile arena…where only the strong survive –

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Mercedes-Benz 600 (1963-1978) (Internal Type Mercedes W100)

Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman Landaulet 1

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Photos courtesy Mercedes-Benz Media Club

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The 2016 Mercedes-Maybach is NotoriousLuxury

The Unrelenting Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 4.5

Posted in Mercedes Benz with tags , , , on November 3, 2013 by 99MilesPerHour

This avant-garde saloon was available for the US market only

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The last of the classic hand-built S-Class series are highly sought after collectibles. The traditional Mercedes-Benz of old was the classic W108 and W109 platforms. These were high-profile vehicles featured in movies, books, and other media. Mercedes-Benz had a trio of formidable saloons built on the W109 platform. This was the last of the classy-curvy sculpted architecture. The Mercedes-Benz 6.3, 6.9, and 4.5 are the most iconic models in their history.

These super saloons paved the way for future luxury-limos with their understated elegance and high performance. The Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 4.5 was a formidable super saloon available only in the US. Stuttgart turned out three exemplary examples of automotive art consecutively. The 300 SEL 4.5 was made from 1971-1972 with only 2,533 built and remains a perennial favorite among auto enthusiasts world-wide. 

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The Series W108 & W109 were extremely successful during their tenure from 1965 through 1972. A total of 383,361 vehicles were built. The W109 premiered at the Frankfort Auto Show in 1965. It was the long wheelbase variant with a pneumatic suspension. The 300 SEL 4.5 saloon was equipped with the M117 4.5 litre V8 engine and available only one model year for the US market exclusively. This is why one hardly ever sees anything about it in print. This power plant is less expensive to maintain than the Goliath 6.3 litre V8.

The naturally aspirated 4.5 litre was equipped with Bosch D-Jetronic SOHC with indirect injection fuel delivery. It delivered 195 hp @ 4,500 rpm with 358 NM of peak torque @ 3,000 rpm. That engine packed the famous Mercedes-punch! It went from 0-60 in 9.6 seconds and when you take the car’s weight into consideration, this is an outstanding figure coming from a limousine. The 300 SEL 4.5 saloons could do the quarter mile in 17.1 seconds.

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The robust 4.5 litre V8 delivers 195 hp @ 4,500 rpm

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358 Nm of peak torque @ 3,000 rpm

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The 300 SEL 4.5 handled excellently because of its touring suspension. This was a solid saloon that was nimble and quick. It rode on double wishbones, air springs and stabilizer bar up front with a swing axle, radius arms, air and rubber springs fitted to the rear. Four-wheel power assisted disc brakes were standard. Mercedes-Benz focused on safety, speed, and reliability always right through today’s offerings.

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The interior featured burled walnut, power windows and leather upholstery. Back then, the focal point of the interior was ergonomic design and convenience. Aesthetics were triggered by US design in the 1970s and 1980s which is why you now see luxury saloons world-wide as luxurious as they became. They were all inspired by “Yankee” sedans! However, the foreign cars taught us safety.

The cabin of a Mercedes-Benz is designed to cradle one in the event of a collision. Seating, padding, etc, all comes together to network safety…..like each of the 300 SEL 4.5’s doors were designed neither to jam-shut nor burst-open during violent impact. Both front and rear of the car had crumple-zones designed to accordion at a controlled rate upon impact. A Mercedes-Benz wasn’t designed to be pretty, but functional. 

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Mercedes-Benz automobiles are mostly all destined to become classics. The 6.3, 6.9, and the 4.5 litre saloons will always be favorites among collectors around the globe because of their monstrous performance and their rare exclusivity. The indomitable 6.3 litre saloon with its engine plucked fresh from the Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman limousine engine bay, the 450 SEL 6.9 saloon and its “Dry-Sump” lubrication system and a maintenance schedule that is practically non-existent, and the 300 SEL 4.5 with its “avant-garde” enigma are all hallmarks of the Mercedes-Benz Dynasty. These three performance limos are in the automobile hall of fame, as they have left their indelible impressions in the history of the automobile. Do a search on my home page to read about the 6.9 & 6.3 saloons. Click on the photos to enlarge them for detail.

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Keep an eye for more Mercedes-Benz history.

The Indomitable Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3

Posted in Mercedes Benz with tags , on November 1, 2013 by 99MilesPerHour

This saloon has the engine of the 600 Pullman limousine

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The Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 and the Mercedes-Benz 6.9 were my all-time favorites from the Benz garage. These are two of the rarest and the fastest saloons in the world. The 6.9 surprisingly requires less maintenance than the 6.3, it is also cheaper to service than the 6.3. But that 300 SEL 6.3 was and is still awesome. Now mind you, the 6.3 was in the home stretch kickin’ up dust when all of the others in its class were still 6-cylinder models. It was nicknamed “The executive road racer.” The star of the show was the famous M100 6.3 litre V8 engine plucked from the engine bay of the Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman limousine – only 6,500 were built. This is a highly collectible Mercedes-Benz saloon.

If you have ever seen a 600 Pullman in person, it is intimidating because of its humongous stature. It was a factory custom hand-built limo. Now think about the capability of its M100 engine, designed to propel all of that metal with aplomb! That 6.3 litre V8 engine is strong and versatile; it lives forever with the proper care and maintenance. So how did such a large power plant find its way into such a “plain-Jane” saloon?

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The formidable M100 6.3 litre engine

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 was the world’s first “super-saloon” (I know that is a bit dramatic and brings to mind the W109 saloon with a cape leaping tall buildings with a single bound…). In 1966 Erich Waxenberger, company engineer for Mercedes-Benz took the powerful M100 6.3 litre V8 engine out of the 600 Pullman and fit it into the Mercedes-Benz W109 S-Class saloon.

It was actually more cost efficient to market the engine in the 300 SEL rather than installing it into the 600 Pullman which had a low sales volume. The end result was a two-ton saloon with the legs of a sports car. It was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in 1968. Only one prototype was built in 1967. This is one swift saloon that cossets five occupants in limousine style comfort but with the effervescence of a sporting grand tourer. The 300 SEL 6.3 was built from 1968-1972. Production totaled 6,526 units. It was the first Mercedes-Benz “Q” car.

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A potent 6.3 litre SOHC V8 powered this luxury behemoth. This is the classic example of a big-block engine planted into a conservative saloon creating a high-performance rocket. The concept could be compared to the Chevy Bel Air or Dodge 330 with their big—block V8 engine set-ups. Grocery getters that packed a punch were these two American muscle cars.

The 300 SEL 6.3 went from 0-60 in less than seven seconds, with a top speed of 135-143 mph. This saloon could pace at 120 mph on the autobahn for hours with power to spare. The 300 SEL 6.3 was the fastest production four-door saloon in the world at the time. This M100 power plant delivered 250 hp @ 4,000 rpm with 500 Nm of torque @ 2,800 rpm. It used a Bosch fuel injection system and a 4-speed automatic transmission.

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Luxury was basic in the early super cars

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The Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 was a fire-breathing dragon disguised as a plain-Jane saloon. It was the fastest production four-door available at the time. The SEL was the long wheelbase variant of the 300 S/SE. It was the flagship that boasted performance and they meant it! It had a touring suspension with a luxury sport leather trimmed cabin. This model is a highly sought after collectible with only 6,526 built. They are outrageously expensive to maintain but so satisfying to own and drive.

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Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3

JOYRIDE: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560 SL Lorinser

Posted in Editorials, Mercedes Benz with tags , , , on September 21, 2013 by 99MilesPerHour

The last day of summer deserves a joyride………..

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As the finale for the last official day of summer, let’s go for a joyride in the Mercedes-Benz 560 SL roadster. Mercedes-Benz had their act together with this series roadster and engine combination. It was as graceful as a gazelle; you never really wanted to park it. This was a really quick and fun car to drive. With all four wheels anchored close to the ends of the car made handling and overall performance outstanding. Even fuel economy had been greatly improved over the good old days with the extremely gas-thirsty 4.5 litre V8. Those of you who drove them know what I mean!

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All North American Mercedes-Benz SL roadsters carried a V8 engine. The alloy 5.6 litre V8 with SOHC produced 227 hp @ 5,200 rpm with 389 Nm of torque @ 3,500 rpm. It was mated to a three-speed automatic transmission with silky-smooth shifting. This nimble roadster rode upon a front double wishbone suspension with coil springs, additional rubber springs and a stabilizer bar. A diagonal swing axle, coil springs, and a stabilizer bar were fitted to the rear. Four wheel disc brakes provide fade-free stopping in short distances. Its contemporary bodywork is sheet metal with unibody construction. The 560 SL came standard with both soft top and hardtop. This 560 SL has the aero-bodykit by Lorinser.

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The 1988 SL roadster offered optional dual stage heated seats and eight-way power memory seats. Electrically powered orthopedic backrests were available for both driver and passenger. A driver’s side airbag and ABS brakes came standard. Manual seat adjustment was still standard. The MSRP for the 1988 Mercedes-Benz SL roadster was $61,130 USD. 

Every generation has enjoyed an SL from Mercedes-Benz. For more than half a century there has been five full-sized SL’s (the 190 SL of the late 1950s and early 1960s and two smaller SL’s including the SLK). The average SL stays in production for a full decade. An SL’s timeless design will never be out of style. They look as fresh and inviting today as they did the day they rolled off the assembly line in Germany.

This design is very popular with collectors. If you are considering the purchase for investment purposes, please do your homework. Time hasn’t been kind to some examples out there and the cost of restoration is frightfully expensive. The Mercedes-Benz 560 SL was the quickest out of all the SL’s of its time. Now enjoy the gallery.

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The hardtop made the 560 SL roadster weather-proof

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Enjoy the ride today, winter is coming and it will be time to put this away shortly.

Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR 199: Renovatio by Mansory

Posted in Bad Boy's Club, Mercedes Benz with tags , , on September 13, 2013 by 99MilesPerHour

Here is still another masterpiece from Kourosh Mansory

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Kourosh Mansory has been successfully modifying the Mercedes-Benz McLaren since 2004. Mansory is the specialist in customizing limousines and supercars world-wide. It was Mansory who inspired Mercedes-Benz to manufacture this car in almost unaltered form.

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For weight reduction, carbon-fibre dominates the Renovatio. The production car bodywork is also made from this lightweight, high-strength material. It also optimized aerodynamic efficiency. Form and function are the Mansory principles. Take that beautiful front end for example; its apron with a dynamic sport design channels the air stream perfectly to the custom intercoolers of the performance kit. This ensures extra cooling air for rapid heat dissipation.

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The aero body kit uses the sideskirts not only to adjust the airflow between the axles, but it also serves to house the custom Mansory side-pipe high performance exhaust system. The rear apron with integrated diffuser creates additional downforce. This is all too important for a super sports car, that is, keeping it on the ground…..an aero dynamic wedge out of control becomes air born…..and we do want to drive our Mansory Renovatio more than once….right?

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The 5.5 litre V8 had components swapped for Mansory technology. Optimized electronic fuel injection, a newly developed pulley, sports catalyst, and manifolds add more mechanical power. Horsepower was increased from 626 hp to 700 hp with 880 Nm peak torque.

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The tasteful cabin is the result of leather creating this unique upholstery style, aluminium foot pedals, illuminated door sill plates, and carbon-fibre used throughout 

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The Mansory Renovatio escalates the already impressive McLaren SLR to an even higher level of exclusivity and supremacy. This is tomorrow’s collectible today.

The Iconic Mercedes-Benz SL & SLC

Posted in Classic Exotic Luxury, Mercedes Benz with tags , , , on September 10, 2013 by 99MilesPerHour

These are two of the most admired cars in the world……….

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Mercedes-Benz released two iconic models in the early seventies. These cars were seen driven by stars, Doctors , Lawyers, Executives, and professionals all over the world. They were symbols of exclusivity, immediately identified by their uniquely robust styling. These two cars had quite a cult following then, and now they are sought after collectibles. The Mercedes-Benz SL roadster & the Mercedes-Benz SLC coupe were the consummate status symbols. With engine and cosmetic variants, they adapted to any country in the world. The SL roadster and the SLC coupe were the second longest running production model in Mercedes-Benz history. These automobiles are as luxurious as they are sporting in a refined manner that only Mercedes-Benz could present.

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They were sold as R107 for the SL roadster and C107 for the SLC coupe and manufactured from 1971 through 1989. They are considered one of the best looking designs from Mercedes-Benz to date. The SL variant is a two-seat roadster with standard soft top and hardtop with optional folding seats for the rear bench. The SLC derivative is a two-door hardtop coupe with regular rear seats and a longer wheelbase than the SL roadster. The SLC in reality was the S-Class coupe. With the exception of the SL65 AMG Black series, the SLC remains the only fixed-roof Mercedes-Benz coupe based on a roadster rather than a saloon. 

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The SL roadster’s production ran from 1971 through 1989. The SLC was replaced earlier than the SL in 1981 replaced by the Mercedes-Benz 380 SEC which was based upon the S-Class W116. Production began April 1971 for the SL R107 and the SLC C107 in October of 1971. Sales in North America began in 1972. A variety of engines powered these luxury sport cars:  a 2.8L in-line six (SL, SLC), a 3.0L (SL); and in the V8 engine series a 3.5L (SL, SLC), a 3.8L (SL, SLC), a 4.2L (SL), a 4.5L (SL, SLC), a 5.0L (SL, SLC), and a 5.6L (SL). All used mechanical fuel injection systems.

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Nomenclature on the deck lids identified model designations named as 280 SL, 280 SLC, 300 SL for the six cylinder and as the V8 350 SL & 350 SLC, 380 SL & 380 SLC, 420 SL, 450 SL & 450 SLC (the 450 SL & 450 SLC are featured in all of the photos in the following gallery), 500 SL & 500 SLC, and the 560 SL. As for the transmissions: 3-speed automatic (350/450 SL/SLC), a 4-speed automatic (280/350/380/420/500/560 SL & SLC), a 4-speed manual (280/350 SL/SLC), and a 5-speed manual (280/300 SL/SLC). All US models used the 4.5 litre V8 and were designated 450 SL & 450 SLC respectively. The early 350 series wore the 350 SL & 350 SLC badges but were fitted with the low compression 4.5 litre. They both were renamed for 1973 as 450 SL & 450 SLC.

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These two had issues, some model years worse than others. I couldn’t believe how many SL & SLC models were in junkyards all over until I went on a scavenger hunt for parts. These two, as powerful and luxuriously-sporting as they be were expensive to maintain. Rust was a HUGE problem with both. Corrosion in key areas of their undercarriage ate away at key mounting points rendering the vehicles inoperable for safety. The 4.5 litre V8 DRANK petrol, but back then, no one cared because it was cheap, but, these cars were so powerful and fast that they could pass anything….except a refueling station.

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 The 1975-1976 SL had problems with vapor lock and hard restarts because Mercedes-Benz mounted the catalytic converters under the hood. Starting in 1977 the catalytic converter was moved under the car replacing the resonator located just behind the transmission. Another problem for late 450 SL’s and 380 SL’s was the automatic climate control system’s servo was unreliable. This affected 450 SL’s made from 1978 through 1980 when production ceased, and the 1981 model year for the 380 SL. The 380 SL imported from 1981-1983 had a single row timing chain. The 1984 & 1985 model years had a double row timing chain from the factory. The early 380 models were prone to chain failure which Mercedes-Benz replaced at no cost to the owner. The powerful 500 SL with its 5.0 litre engine made from 1980-1989 was not available in the US through Mercedes-Benz dealers but was a popular “gray-market” import before the 560 SL made its way here.

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It was the beauty of the SL roadster and the SLC coupe that won the hearts of sports car fanatics around the world. These automobiles were symbols of power and prestige. They were always a perennial favorite immediately identified at any gathering of fine automobiles. The sporty two-seat Mercedes-Benz SL roadster and the sophisticated two-door Mercedes-Benz SLC coupe are rare enough to make them highly collectible, but the cost to restore and maintain them isn’t pretty…..

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