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Lot 487: Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL Sedan

Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia, Bonhams (3 June 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 program 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 carburetor-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.' These sentiments are ones which the owner of this car subscribed to when he purchased it and endorses today. VIN plate stamped as built in November 1974, the car would have been shipped to this country shortly after that and was bought from stock at Mercedes-Benz Manhattan in June 1975. Its build plate confirms that its color was and is Metallic blue, (#387) an elegant hue which appears almost dateless. Throughout the last 37 years the Mercedes has been fastidiously maintained and although the bills for its maintenance have currently been mislaid at the time of cataloguing, the condition of its paintwork and matched blue interior are quite simply exemplary and can only be the result of genuine care. It is nevertheless complete with its original Mercedes-Benz wallet including handbook, service schedule, radio guide and data plate for service/invoicing. Continuing the Bonhams tradition of offering the finest examples of every era of collector cars, it would be hard to find better than this car, which is surely a classic of the future.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia
Bonhams, Greenwich, Connecticut
Lot Number487
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$8500
Hammer Price (inc premium)$9945
Condition rating
Registration number
Chassis number116033 12 035589
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors4