Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Mercedes is claimed to have at one time been big in Japan. It is in fact big everywhere goes, and since it's here now and for sale, we'll need to decide if its price makes it a big deal.
When Mercedes introduced their W140 flagship in 1990 journalists of the time were taken aback with the car's gargantuan size. The new car was over 200 inches long, even in its shortest sedan from, and almost 75 inches wide. This was at a time when fuel prices throughout Europe were skyrocketing, and cities were feeling the increasing impact of the automobile, both in issues of congestion and pollution. The new big Benz was dunned in this light as being socially and environmentally irresponsible.
Daimler's response was that "the car was appropriately catching up with increased size of the people that use it." That's a valid explanation, but also kind of horrible in its own right. The fact is, the W140's size does derive from the need to accommodate tall Europeans. The original Bruno Sacco design for the car featured strong and sporty lines, and was intended to be much smaller. However, both the car's chief engineer, Wolfgang Peter, and its line manager, Rudolf Hornig, were men who stood more than six feet tall.
When the dimensions of Sacco's design were fitted to the initial seating buck, both men's heads hit the ceiling. This wouldn't do and so the roof was raised. So as not to make the car look like some sort of weird popemobile, the other dimensions were correspondingly enlarged to match, all of which eventually resulted in one big-ass ride.
It wasn't just the car itself that was bigger and more consumptive, the W140 also saw the debut of the greatest cylinder count to appear in the Benz flagship. The introduction of model was in fact delayed for the engineering necessary to accommodate the new 6-litre V12.
Today's 1993 600SEL is an example of the result. Up front there is the 400-horse M120 V12, a locomotive of a mill, and one that later would find a home making incredible noises and speeds in the Pagani Zonda.
Here in the Benz it's all about stately alacrity rather than rip yer face off fastness, and if you're going to do that, you better have all the luxury bonafides you can as well. In the big Benz they're available in spades. This car has power-everything, double paned window glass, little chrome tips that pop up when you put it in reverse so you know where the back end is, and air-con for everywhere. There's tons on leather and wood inside too, here in dignified black over burl. Everything inside looks to be in excellent shape, and with only 69,000 miles on the clock, it should.
On the outside, the big four door seems straight, however there seems to be a disparity in the paint quality from the left side to the right, the driver's side appearing - in the pics at least - to be hazier than the curbside. Speaking of curbside, this car is claimed to be an import from Japan. I don't know about that as it is LHD, and seems otherwise to be a U.S. model. Regardless of its provenance, it now is said to be titled and licensed in California.
Mechanically, these cars gained a reputation for running great until they didn't any more. Issues like the engine wiring harness, radiators, and brakes are well known in the MB community. This car is said to have had the harness hooligans sorted out, and the ad makes no mention of any other issues that might be plaguing the car. Of course there is a lot to go wrong on these so if you're in the market, you're going to want one that's in the best shape possible.
This one seems to be in pretty good shape, and should you want one of these massive models it might be a good contender for your cash. How much cash? Well, the car is apparently in Bellflower, California where it is advertised at $5,500. It is also however, on the Las Vegas Craigslist for a much lower $4,750. Viva Las Vegas!
What's your take on this big Benz for that kind of cash, does the thought of a quality V12 freight train for under five-large make you think this a screamin' deal? Or, would paying that much for this 600 be a big mistake?
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