This is the only picture Pininfarina has of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 Pininfarina Coupe. Mercedes' massive online database doesn't even mention its existence. But the car is very real, and an 82-year-old Dutchman has it.
The original owner's family wishes to remain anonymous. All you need to know is that the car was commissioned by the owner of a Dutch multinational — not Heineken — who first went straight to Mercedes-Benz to order his one-off. But the Germans sent him away.
Sergio Pininfarina did not, so when the client's brand new Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 made it to Turin in 1969, they set to work immediately.
While the wheelbase, track, overall length and the height of the doors remained unchanged, the windscreen and greenhouse got tighter, the pillars were set at a sharper angle and a brand new roof was made of steel by hand, just like the bonnet, boot, wings, bumpers and extended doors. The grill is also Pininfarina's unique design, while the round headlights came with black bezels, something the current owner replaced by traditional chrome ones.
This is were the story gets interesting. According to Jeroen Booij, the secret millionaire's family says that "he liked unusual cars. No sports cars or anything like that - it had to be sound and solid. Above all, he wanted to be able to trust the mechanicals." The 6.3 seems like a fine choice then, yet the rest of the household wasn't a fan of how Pininfarina installed Behr's two-way ventilation system, mostly because an alarming amount of exhaust fumes made it into the cabin at all times, making them sick regularly.
With five children having no interest in this one-off, the car got sold in the late seventies with 40,000 miles on the clock. Until today, it has covered just 4,000 more. With its second owner being 82, the 6.3 Pininfarina Coupe will soon enter a new chapter of its life for sure.
Mercedes-Benz understandably never cared for it, and Pininfarina won't mention it just like how Bentley keeps quiet about cashing out with the Dominator.
Look at this car and the Rolls-Royce Camargue, and read the whole story from the guys who were lucky enough to drive this well-kept secret with a coachbuilt body and a loud V8 up its nose.
Photo credit: Pininfarina