Buyer's Guide

Frank Barrett

450SEL 6.9, 1975-80

In 1974, Mercedes introduced the mighty 450SEL 6.9, an enlarged version of the successful 450SEL. The new car featured more creature comforts and seventy more horsepower but a nearly identical body. The European version was able to move its 4,400 pounds 0-60 in under eight seconds and had a top speed of 140 mph.

Mercedes produced 7,380 of the 450SEL 6.9s between 1975 and 1980, with the highest production, 1,839 units, coming in 1979.

This car must be rated as a future collectible. However, few 6.9s were officially imported to the United States. Many European 6.9s have been brought in (as used cars) through outside channels, so there are quite a few in America. This is partly because of price (over $38,000 in 1977, rising to over $50,000 by 1979, its last year).

When inspecting any European-version Mercedes-Benz, be aware that the car has probably seen hard use, and may have been improperly converted to US specifications. Also, resale value of European versions is considerably more variable than that of their US counterparts.

The 450SEL 6.9 had the same body as the 450SEL with an additional 2.4 liters of displacement. This car offers a lot for the money.

If you are looking for a good example, don't expect to find a neglected car at a low price and fix it up. Civen the high cost of restoration, you would be better off finding the best example you can afford. If you want to get the most for your dollar, look at the 6.3, but if you want luxurious performance, the 6.9 may be the car for you.