Mercedes-Benz had to feature early on in PH's new feature slot that celebrates all cars well used and worthy. The brand has a long tradition of big cars with big engines, designed almost specifically for doing big miles in. That Benz was famed for its quality for so long, and seems to be back to its best nowadays, which made something with a three-pointed star on its snout a shoo-in for the High Mile Club.
And there is no better exponent of classic Merc values than a 450 SEL 6.9 - we'll accept no argument on that. There have been an assortment of great Benz 'bahnstormers over the years, but arguably none have the enduring cachet and cult appeal of the '75 6.9. We've already celebrated the SEL's 45th anniversary this year (and we're counting down to the half century) so now it's time to bring to the collective attention a 6.9 that's lived exactly the life it was designed for.
Sold new in Paris in 1977 - a good start to any car history - the big Benz belonged to one Parisian family for 40 years, used as a daily driver throughout that time. Tastes, attitudes and fashions will have changed dramatically since then, but therein lies the beauty of an SEL; in Astral Silver over Black Leather with yellow tinted lights, there will never have been a point in Paris during those decades where it wasn't an immensely cool and desirable car. And there aren't many vehicles from 1977 that could be said about.
It was brought to the UK in 2017, from which time the SEL has been treated to a rolling restoration with its current owner. The full list of parts can be seen in the ad, but it looks like a lot of work has already been undertaken. Now, obviously, this is pretty complex V8 Mercedes that's more than 40 years old and is a lot closer to 200,000 miles than it is 100,000 - it's going to take some careful maintenance to keep in rude health. But it's always reassuring to see that the previous owner appears to have taken good care of their car.
More than that, there's good reason to be encouraged by the pics. They never tell the full story, and the combination of nice light with a good camera can cover a multitude of mishaps. That said, the chrome, paint, leather and engine bay all point to both a well built and lovingly maintained Mercedes. It would be near enough impossible to tell it's driven the equivalent of 18 Paris to Peking rallies in its lifetime.
Described in the advert as an "on-the-button 6.9" with "hilarious performance and otherworldly levels of cool" - exactly the kind of statements you'd want to read - this SEL looks quite the way to spend £30,000. And a Mercedes of this rarity, status and condition will always be covetable to those in the know. Left-hand drive will be a drawback for some, sure; the other side of that argument is it gives all the more reason to get the Mercedes back to Europe and doing what it does best: nonchalantly consuming autoroutes, autobahns and autostrada in great comfort and style. You'll be at 200,000 miles in no time, and hopefully enjoying every second - the SEL should be just about run in by then, too.
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