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350SE vs 450SE (almost)

Started by s class, 24 May 2006, 08:02 AM

s class

Hi guys,

As I have mentioned before the only W116 available in South Africa are 280S, 280SE, 350SE.  Anything else was a special import and therefore scarce and expensive. 

I'm looking at comments on 350SE vs 450SE - BECAUSE - I have a friend stripping a cosmetically sad 450SLC and I have the opportunity to buy the engine, gearbox and drivetrain complete with all anciliaries for ZAR12,000 which is about US$1500.  And no, don't tell me that's expensive - expensive is all relative to supply, demand and availability.  By South African standards its quite cheap.  A number of members of our local Mercedes club have dropped 450SLC mechanicals into 350SE chassis and it seems quite simple.  So if I want a faster W116, my optionsare basically :

a) Buy and restore a 350SE including mechanical overhaul
b) Buy the same 350SE and give it the 450SLC mechanicals

Yes, I know not withstanding issues of originality and being a "hybrid" or butchered if you prefer - would you suppose the 450 will be a worthwhile improvement over the 350?

Ryan in South Africa (with visions of a cleaned up M117 on a hoist looking for a home.....)

[color=blue]'76 6.9 Euro[/color], [color=red]'78 6.9 AMG[/color], '80 280SE, [color=brown]'74 350SE[/color], [color=black]'82 500SEL euro full hydro, '83 500SEL euro full hydro [/color], '81 500SL


Hello Ryan and all

Well I have personal experience of both engines but in two deliveries : I had a 450SE 5US version) while I lived in America and have owned a 350SE (in the last 3-4 years). The US 4.5 is torquier and noticeably weaker than a Euro 350. A Euro 450 gets you extra power and torque.

In your case, you would replace a Euro 350 engine with a Euro 450 and get more torque and more power. The extra acceleration will be nice if you keep the 350 rear axle - you have a faster car than the usual 450SE - tune that a bit and you might even match a US 6.9  ;D

OTOH, get ready to spend more on fuel, I can easily see 1.5-3 liters/100 more on the average. There IS a difference caused by the extra litre of displacement.


Paris, France

s class


Thanks for your comments.  THe fuel consumption is not an issue because I will probably not do much mileage with the car.  Yes, both the 350 I ma considering and the 450SLC are euro versions. 

In about a week's time I will have the opportunity to view and drive the 450SLC donor and make my decision.  An independent party has however described it as "mechanically very good" - I'll have to see with my own eyes though.

Interesting idea to retain the 350 rear axle... hadn't thought of that.  I will need to use the 450 euro gearbox because although it has the same ratios as the 350 gearbox, as I understand it, the 450 euro box has stronger clutch bands to handle the extra torque. 

I have gently touched on this prospective project with my wife and she didn't veto it but as I expected, the 280S bodyshell in the garden will have to go before the SLC arrives.  She is willing to accept one "garden feature", but not a whole scrapyard. 

If this 450 engine is good to go, thenthe hunt will start for a straight rustfree 350 with good interior and a sunroof and knackered engine. 


[color=blue]'76 6.9 Euro[/color], [color=red]'78 6.9 AMG[/color], '80 280SE, [color=brown]'74 350SE[/color], [color=black]'82 500SEL euro full hydro, '83 500SEL euro full hydro [/color], '81 500SL