Project Car Hell, Bruiser Benz Edition: 600 SWB or 450SEL 6.9?

Illustration for article titled Project Car Hell, Bruiser Benz Edition: 600 SWB or 450SEL 6.9?

Welcome to Project Car Hell, where you choose your eternity by selecting the project that's the coolest... and the most hellish! After yesterday's Engine Of The Day, we must go with M100-powered machinery today.


Ever since I saw a hopeless beater Mercedes-Benz 600 being shipped to Europe from Oakland, I've assumed that no mere mortal could ever hope to purchase such a car for his or her own personal Hell Garage. Spending a couple grand for shipping of a ratty parts car would imply that a much more terrible totally restorable project 600 should be priced in the tens of thousands of bucks, right? Right? Ha ha, my friends, just look at those bankers hurling themselves bodily out of their 30th-floor office windows- this recession is great news for Mercedes-Benz 600 shoppers! Once you take a glance at this 1965 Mercedes-Benz 600 SWB limo, your best move will be to pretend you never saw it head straight to Oregon. The current top bid is just over three grand at the time of this writing, and we're pretty sure you could score this three-ton white elephant kingly chariot for not much more than that. The body is "surprisingly straight," the M100 engine is still there, but some of the impossible hard-to-find hydraulic gear is long gone. No matter, you'll solve those problems and many more!

The Grosse is one amazing machine, we won't dispute that. However, standing on the gas pedal in a car that weighs nearly 6,000 pounds might be less than satisfying, even with the mighty M100 under the hood. You need a Benz with all the style and comfort you can't afford deserve and the spits-in-the-Malaise-Era's-face power that other carmakers dreamed of back when the Corvette got by with 165 horsepower. We refer to the Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9, of course, and a real one has never been more affordable! This 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 (go here if the ad disappears) is priced at a rusty-Sentra-grade one thousand bucks. When you consider that the original adjusted-for-inflation price of this car was nearly $139,000, we're talking about a how-could-this-happen 99.3% depreciation, on one of the greatest cars ever built! The seller doesn't bore us with all sorts of useless trivia, such as mechanical and/or cosmetic condition, and the photographs were taken with a camera inside a plastic bag smeared with mayonnaise, but who cares? You know that even Werner von Braun would edge away in horror from this one-way ticket to Crazy Town you'll have this fine Autobahn monster running in no time!

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Rob Emslie

SWB Limo? Much like "jumbo shrimp," "military intelligence," or "compassionate conservative" this is a contradiction of terms. Based on this convention one could call pretty much any standard car a Limo- albeit a short wheel base version. How do you like my Toyota Corolla Limo? Limo? Isn't that just a regular, everyday corolla? No, dude, it's the SWB Limo version. Now get it and we'll crash the red carpet for that new Paulie Shore movie.

I'd like to think that the seller isn't trying to pump up the desirability of this car with a fancy name, but looking at the beast indicates that might just be the case. That, and the missing hydraulics taint this with the mark of the beast- 666, PCH.