This 1977 Mercedes Benz 450SEL 6.9 is the subject of a restoration thread on www.mbca.org by “Joe Brasileiro“. His name and impressive work were immediately recognizable, so a quick search confirmed that it was the same person as “jbrasile” who had restored the 1970 Mercedes Benz 300 SEL 6.3 that we previously featured. After all, how many Joe’s could there be restoring vintage Mercedes in Brazil? We gave high accolades to his craftsmanship on the last 6.3, and this latest 6.9 project is no different. The color combination is equally as striking, and as we said before about the last car’s tones, it is so very period of that era. Come take a closer look on the following page, won’t ya?…
It’s unfortunate that so many of today’s cars are bland, run-of-the-mill flavors such as the blacks, whites and silvers that you see everywhere, especially when hues such as this green on tan look so rich together. Others must agree, as a recent article on Autoblog.com stated that earth tones are making a come back in the near future. It is an interesting and informative read, so we have pasted the full article at the bottom of the page and included it’s link, as well.
Mercedes only built 7,380 of these huge displacement, 6.9 liter 8 cylinder models between 1977 and 1979, and they cost a full 50% more than the regular 450 SEL at the time. They are true factory sleepers, produced during a time before AMG came to the forefront as a household name. Their complex hydro-pneumatic self-leveling suspensions helped them hustle their 4,500 pound heft with aplomb ease. Perhaps it is best that we leave the car’s review to none other than the legendary automotive writer and driver Brock Yates. He wrote an unforgettably thorough assessment of it back when these cars were still new where he takes one on a road trip and then manhandles it around Road Atlanta, only changing the tire pressures before flinging it around the track. His glowing evaluation challenges anybody to pit their daily driver against one of these cars. Needless to say, he walked away extremely impressed. Find it HERE.
Back on subject to this particular 450 SEL 6.9. A client of Joe’s had wanted him to find an SEC without the self leveling rear suspension (SLS), but when this 6.9 project was found, every other preconceived notion was thrown out the window. They planned on a light restoration but it ended up lasting 2 1/2 years, and it was divided into two phases. The first phase was the initial 18 months and then an additional 12 months to completely strip the car and have it repainted. All of the bodywork and paint was performed at two different Mercedes Benz dealerships in Sao Paulo. Mechanically, every single suspension component front and rear, except for the leveling valves was replaced, along with 4 new struts, 5 new accumulators, new bushings, tie, rods, a fully rebuilt steering box with all new internals and an NOS period correct steering wheel.
Every available chrome piece was replaced and the original interior’s seats were correctly re-stuffed, stitched, and re-dyed. A new parcel shelf was made using carpet from GAHH, all of the wood was re-finished, and all of the air conditioning controls were replaced.
The transmission was next with a complete rebuild by the best specialist in the country, with new injectors, a fuel distributor and all of the ignition components were replaced including the coil. New headlights, tail lights and trunk liner were also included in the refresh.
Now that the first phase was done with a roof repaint, bodywork and replacing of it’s front and rear window seals, the car was sent back to it’s owner for 6 months and everything worked flawlessly.
Then the car came back and started phase two of it’s restoration with rust repair in the trunk and rear panel, along with a bare metal respray. Joe then replaced the seat covers with a set from GAHH, the rims were re-finished and new Michelin 215/70VR14 XWX’s were ordered, just like we like them.
At that point it’s front and rear suspension valves were replaced, and this 450 SEL 6.9 was on it’s way to being a 100 point driver.
This is yet another great quality restoration thread by Joe in Brazil, and we hope to find more of his fine work on-line in the near future.
Until then, find it’s full thread HERE.
GREENS GAINING GROUND:
BASF designers’ forecast comes to life in the current automotive trend collection
Global relevance, regional implementation
Progress and purposefulness are characterizing the automotive world’s color mood. The colors in this year’s BASF trend collection entitled “Making Headway” are predicting this positive outlook ahead. “With new technologies, new models and new mobility concepts, a shift in values is on the horizon. In this context, green as the color of growth and a new beginning is playing a key role,” explained Mark Gutjahr, Head of Design Europe at BASF.
BASF designers already identified this color trend in its early stages last year, and it is now gaining ground. After more than one low-color decade in which black, silver, white and, more recently, brown made their mark on the roads, the automotive landscape is now becoming more colorful.
Green leaving its eco-image behind
The fact that the green color range is securing its position in the automotive future does not stem from its logical connection to ecology and the image of pristine nature. The new greens that will be applied to cars in the coming three or four years are making a point of leaving their eco-image behind. “We are not finding answers to questions about society’s value shift in a romanticizing ‘back to nature’ vision, but instead in intelligent solutions and technologies,” so Gutjahr. In this context, green stands for new values such as straightforwardness, responsibility and individuality, as well as for harmony and balance, which are becoming increasingly important factors in society.
Global trend with regional colors
The global context is lending ever more importance to questions of individuality. Green is setting the trend for bold automotive colors and is reinforcing a move toward more color-based differentiation. On the other hand, in its research, BASF’s global design team has identified clear regional differences. Even if the green theme is globally relevant, its manifestations in Asia Pacific, North America and Europe are highly varied. The design language in Europe is characterized by soberness and quality, which translates into colors in the portfolio which are balanced and detailed yet bold. Dark green and emeralds exhibit highly intricate structures and moderately used effects. Rich greens are refined by golden highlights. While Europe is experiencing the quest for new values, in Asia, topics such as nature, relaxation and harmony have a strong impact on this color range. In Asia, subtle but multifaceted automotive colors are anticipated. For instance, vibrant pastels serve to offset the gray of the big cities. The wide range of the trend color is clearly demonstrated by the color portfolio in North America. Clarity and directness characterize the colors used there. In addition, the green-yellow color range is playing an increasingly important role with colors such as ‘lemon’.
Time for more color
The wide variety of the new greens also clearly demonstrates that automotive colors now have more room for flexibility. New effect categories and topics such as haptics and mat coatings will make this even more possible in the future. At the same time, they will also pose new requirements, in terms of both technology and design. Gutjahr recognizes the opportunity afforded by the complexity. “New methods and pigments will allow us to implement innovations such as BASF’s new ‘XSpark’ effect category.” Here, the use of new effect pigments ensures a striking glitter that makes a clearer, cleaner and more intensive impact than all previous effects. The distinct sparkle is particularly effective in light, which has an elegant impact without being overbearing. “XSpark has a lot of potential,” explained Gutjahr, sharing his positive view of the future. “And it’s about time for us to have more color!”