MERCEDES-BENZ: The Fifties, Volume 1
© 2016 Bernd S. Koehling
All Rights Reserved
Excerpts from the book:
Mercedes 300 SEL 6.3 (the fastest Mercedes S-class of its time)
The components were known, but the mixture was new and it was hot. It was a first in the Mercedes history. When Mercedes-Benz unveiled the 300 SEL 6.3, the new star of the Mercedes S-class W108/109 series in March 1968 in Geneva, the excited press was finally able to test drive a car they had first seen in December 1967. They had not expected such a car from a traditional manufacturer such as Mercedes-Benz. In early 1967 Manfred Jantke from the German car magazine auto motor und sport wrote that the company was known for comfort and quality, but not for power and speed. Even the mighty 600 with its V8 engine was not the fastest production car at 205 km/h (127 m/h). A Maserati Quattroporte had a top speed of 225 km/h (140 m/h), while the Iso Rivolta IR 300 could achieve 215 km/h (134 m/h). Even Rolls Royce, previously not exactly known to have set speed records with their comfortable sedans, could outrun the 600 with their Silver Shadow, launched in 1965. Where was the excitement?
The excitement rested on the shoulders of an employee who had enough of this crap. His name was Erich Waxenberger, who decided after having met Heinz-Ulrich Wieselmann, at that time editor of auto motor und sport, that something needed to be done. Wieselmann had told Waxenberger in a meeting in Rudolf Uhlenhaut's office: "Waxl, you are getting old now". But "Waxl" was just 35 years old and was slightly offended. Of course Wieselmann did not mean his age, he had referred to the cars, Waxenberger's employer built>>>
Experiencing the Mercedes 300 SEL 6.3
The mechanical Bosch eight-plunger fuel injection pump of our 300SEL 6.3 gives it to us not in small doses but in full force. We can almost hear how it inhales the petrol not by the liter but by the gallon. And it is about time. After driving on French highways at 130 km/h, the German autobahn is ready to take us on>>>
<<<Although our 300 SEL 6.3 does not have leather, we feel like in a British country club. Members of such a club might be tempted to see in our car nothing more than a Beirut taxi. Compared to the interior of a Bentley T they are of course correct, but did this Bentley have the performance of a true sports car and could out-drive a 911? For sure not.>>>
If you want to read in much more detail about the Mercedes 280/300 V8 series, its coach-builder and the thrill of driving a 300 SEL 6.3, then please go here for the printed book and here for the e-book. The printed book covers also the six-cylinder versions, the pagoda SL and the 600. The e-book deals with the V8 W108, 109 versions. Both books offer plenty of new color pictures, most of which have never been published in a book before. I am sure you will enjoy.
The following videos are copied from youtube for your viewing pleasure. Some of them contain cars filmed by commercial vendors. I am not associated with them
MERCEDES 280 SE 3.5 - 300 SEL 6.3
280 SE 3.5 - 300SEL 6.3 W108/109 (1965-72)
Great books and e-books about Mercedes cars of the 1960s