February 9, 2008

Come To Papa: The Only Mercedes 300 SEL 6.3 Wagon

300sel-63_wagon.jpg

Wow. The Mercedes 300 SEL 6.3 was the stealth supercar predecessor to the better known muscle car from the late seventies, the 450SE 6.9. From a single prototype in 1967, about 6,500 cars were sold over the four year run. Road & Track called it, "the greatest sedan in the world."

Mercedes showed a restored 1969 300SEL 6.3 this week at Chicago, which set me to searching. Which turned up the story of what was, as of 1982 when Car Collector magazine wrote about it, the only 6.3 station wagon in the world.

An engineer and car collector named Karl Middelhauve apparently got kind of obsessed with the 300SEL 6.3, a 3,800-lb car which, in factory trim, produced 250hp, and ran 0-60 in 6.5 seconds. Since commissioning AMG to expertly shoehorn the 6.3 engine into both a 300SE coupe and a 300SE convertible, and then after converting a coupe himself, Middelhauve's become something of a guru of Mercedes' massive powerhouse, as well as the go-to guy for MB 600 restorations in the US.

The 6.3 wagon was based on a 300SEL 6.3 sedan, which was converted in Germany to Middelhauve's specs and under his supervision. Took about a year.

I swear I didn't know about the car's existence six weeks ago when I wrote about the 300SET 6.3 in Andre Schaefer's masterful Photoshopped car collection, "I'll take one in silver with black leather interior, please." But now that we've established it exists...

cww_mbhistoric_w109t.jpg

Chicago Auto Show: 1969 Mercedes 300SEL 6.3 Turns Us Into Dragons [jalopnik]
A Mighty Mercedes: The 300SEL 6.3, Car Collector, Sept. 1982 [via m-100.cc/6point3]
More pictures of the MB 300SEL 6.3 Wagon on Mr. Middelhauve's site [mbgrand600.com]

Previously: CWW Car Design's Virtual Gallery

3 Comments

Beautiful... of course, I'm guessing the mileage on those things is so bad that I bet if you commuted an equal distance in something like Honda Fit, you could leave the Fit idling when it's parked at home overnight and it would still use less gas.

[I think I read 18mpg at 80mph. -ed]

my son and I tool around in a '72 450 SL, I know, impractical and I have been tempted to trade it in on a wagon. This wagon, oh lord, how I want this wagon.

I have a '73 280SE 4.5, which supposedly got about 17 or so when new (I've never really gotten too close to that) and a '70 300SEL 6.3, which I haven't driven enough to assess "economy"... I believe it was rated at 11 or something when new. Whatever, it's awesome. The wagon, however, is awesomer.

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