Curbivore Brad spotted this in country Echuca and sent it to fellow curbivore jim, who sent it on to me. Those little numbers on the right tell us this is the mighty 6.9 litre V8 version of the Mercedes Benz 450 SEL, the superest of super saloons. It’s got ACT plates, which means it’s 350 km from home. And it’s on its way to Adelaide, which is another 570 km away. As the crow flies. And this is a round trip.
Jim know his 6.9s. He has one in DB 906 Grey Blue. This is the view from his sunroof.
He and Brad (himself owner of 300 SE Lang heckflossen – yep, more than one) think the silver car was once run by BHP, the mining conglomerate. It was apparently thrashed through the outback during its tenure.
Our gentleman had a brief chat with Brad, revealing that the car has done 500,000 km.
Jim’s not surprised, his has done 323,000 km and the head has never been off.
The 6.9 was launched in 1975, but we got it in 1978. Juan Manuel Fangio was in Australia that year to run a W196R GP car against Jack Brabham in his BT19. Before the race, some motoring journalists were taken for a spin in a 6.9. Peter Gavaghan of the Melbourne Sun;
‘The drive was a revelation as well as an exhilarating experience. As Fangio whisked me along it was impossible not to be infected by the passion for driving. There was never a moment’s anxiety. Fangio punted the heavy car in a display of skill and swift reflexes that belied his 67 years. He pushed the car around bends at substantially higher speeds than I would have done, but never once did he provoke a blink from any passengers.’
Numbers sold here via M-B; 1978 – 87, 1979 – 140, 1980 – 1. Our silver car is apparently a private import.
I used to do CC trips like this when I lived interstate, but now that I’m back in Melbourne the longest I’ve done in my W116 280 SE is about 400 km round. This car’s body is ideal for those extended drives; you can stretch out your legs thanks to its lowline profile, and the package is ergonomically untiring. Mine has that same darkened left-side rear light cluster, but it doesn’t have the autobahn-inhaling 6.9.
This gentleman is doing it in absolute style.