This 1970 Mercedes Benz 300 SEL 6.3 is the topic of a nut and bolt restoration thread by “jbrasile” on forum.w116.org, linked at the bottom of this page. He purchased the needy Tunis Beige Metallic(paint code DB462) on Dark Brown car from Star Motors in New York and then had it delivered directly to the Mercedes Benz dealership where he works in Sao Paulo, Brazil. His plan was to fully re build it for a client who intends on driving it regularly, which is exactly what our car-guy ears like to hear. Too many vintage cars are rebuilt, only to be driven not even often enough keep their seals lubricated. In any case, it’s good to see that this one will be used. In addition, we are huge fans of this color combination, which is so very period and so very Mercedes Benz of that era. There is just something about their dark brown leather interiors combined with the burled walnut that mixes so well together. This model, in this combo, restored for a client who plans on actually driving it. All the right combined ingredients to make a CBI-worthy feature.
Upon their release, these SOHC V8 factory hot rods held the title as “fastest production sedan” for many years. After all, nothing says “sleeper sled” better than a factory engine swap.
Their “M100” 250 hp, 370 ft lb of torque motors were originally the power plants used in the 600 SEL limousines before Mercedes decided to drop them into the shorter wheelbase sedan, as a test to discover who the real car nuts out there in the wild really were. Well, they found their answer out fairly quickly, as the result of said engine and chassis marriage turned out to be the monster sedan of that era which even lead-foot Steve McQueen couldn’t resist to house in his own garage.
The car featured here had already received an engine rebuild, an upgraded air conditioning compressor and 4 new air bags for the self-leveling rear suspension before they bought it, but the rest of the car still needed work. The 4 speed automatic transmission had to be rebuilt, along with all of the other inevitable little items that are discovered once dis assembly starts.
This particular car’s restoration included overhauling the front and rear suspensions, then removal of the engine, transmission and all of it’s interior. The car was then stripped down to it’s bare shell before paint started, using no body filler at all. With the insanely high cost of labor and parts in Brazil, they estimate the body and paint were up to $25-30,000 already by that point. In addition, re chroming the bumpers was a $3,000 job, not to mention the amount it would cost to restore all of the interior and wood. As many parts as possible were supplied from either the Mercedes Classic Center in Irvine, from their dealership stock or directly from the factory in Germany. Five original 15″ Bundt rims were ordered, as well a Europa or Becker head unit to decide between in order to keep everything period correct.
Star Motors had previously already repaired frame cracks around the steering box area, which is a known common issue with these 108 and 109’s. While cleaning and detailing the suspension, they discovered that the front airbags had to be replaced even though they were relatively new, a problem that arose because the car had sat static for a year already at that point. Refer back to first paragraph. Found it? Alright, now continuing…
Finally, the dashboard wood was sent to Madera Concepts in Santa Barbara,California and all of it’s gauges were sent to Northern California’s Palo Alto Speedometer. Additional attention to detail included replacing all of the air vents, dash buttons and all of the switches with new pieces.
After viewing the photos of the car’s original bank vault construction, the obvious cliché that comes immediately to mind is the old phrase which just gets more true every day: they don’t build them like they used to. Their vintage, big greenhouse style is a classic look that we seem to appreciate more as time passes, while modern cars are becoming clones of each other, making it hard to even distinguish between most manufacturer’s designs any longer. It would probably be safe to say that every era of every generation has had this same complaint about every conceivable subject. Unfortunate, but along with it comes an appreciation for all things vintage, and the desire to upkeep that old tradition. We just hope that the procedures which craftsmen of the old world used aren’t lost through the generations. This hobby is one way to keep that knowledge of the old world alive as long as possible.
In any case, this 6.3’s restoration was coming together nicely until a few months ago when the last post was made, so it’s one to keep an eye on for updates. We are expecting pictures of the finished product any time now.
Follow the build-in-progress HERE.