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Lot 214: Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 Saloon

The Monaco Sale, Bonhams (11 May 2012)

It was, and remains, one of the finest, safest and most impressive saloons, and it is surely a testament to the quality of Mercedes engineering that there are still so many in regular use today.'  Lawrence Meredith on the 450SE, Mercedes-Benz Saloons, Crowood Press. Mercedes-Benz replaced the S-Class in 1972, the successor W116 line up having been on the drawing board since the mid-1960s. Much of the development programme had concentrated on secondary safety, to such an extent that its occupants were considered more likely to survive an accident in the 450SE saloon (or its peers) than possibly any other car in the world. Base model of the new S-Class was the 280S equipped with a carburettor-fed 2.8-litre twin-cam six while for those with deeper wallets there was a choice of 350SE or 450SE V8s, both of which were available in long-wheelbase 'SEL' variants. A necessarily heavy automobile, the 450SE was little quicker off the mark than its smaller-engined siblings but as Motor Sport observed: 'It is in these middle and upper ranges, rather than in sheer standing-start acceleration, that the 450SE excels, all powerfully, simply "whooshing" through overtaking.' For plutocrats there was the 450SEL 6.9. Fast, well engineered and luxuriously equipped in Mercedes-Benz's finest tradition, the 450SEL 6.9 first appeared in 1974. The new super saloon used the long-wheelbase bodyshell of the larger S-Class fitted with an enlarged and developed version of the overhead-camshaft V8 engine found in its predecessor and the leviathan 600 models. All Mercedes-Benz's latest safety developments were incorporated along with automatic transmission and self-levelling suspension as standard. Top speed was 140mph (225km/h) with 60mph (97km/h) coming up in seven seconds. Only 7,380 examples of this exclusive model were made between 1975 and 1980. A Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 of identical specification and colour starred in Claude Lelouch's infamous 1976 short film 'C'était un rendezvous', in which the director drives across Paris in a little under 8 minutes. Lelouch was arrested shortly after the film's first screening but was released without charge. The car is finished in the tasteful combination of grey metallic with black leather interior and benefits from extensive maintenance during the past 10,000 kilometres, a total of ¬14,000 being spent on new brakes, exhaust system, ignition and Michelin XWX tyres. The car is offered for sale with a most substantial maintenance file.

Lot Details
Auction The Monaco Sale
Bonhams, Monaco
TypeCar
Lot Number214
Estimate€18000-€25000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price€15000
Hammer Price (inc premium)€17250
Year1978
Condition rating
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number11603612004349
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors4