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4.5 or 6.9, can anyone help me decide, please?

Started by isobars, 07 January 2006, 05:07 PM


Hi Denis and All,

Thanks for the advice.

Thanks for the link, I appreciate it.

The owners son in law 'flashed' me the CT sheet - he was very edgy, although that may have been his general demeanour, who knows.
On the Carte Gris the only four stamps for CT visits are: (visit before) 180996, and the next 301198, then two stickers Centre Auto Securite dated 281100 and this weeks, 070106.
Vehicle owned since 150186, second owner.

Does this mean the vehicle has been laid up between the expiration of the CT 2000 and the new one this week? The car is in Remiily Sur/S.

The fuel problem came nine months and 800 kms later than a prior service Jan 1997, which changed the power steering pump, flushed the suspension etc, the last service referred to on that invoice - no documents - was Jan 1996. The vehicle isn't a stranger to Chez Mercedes.
The PAS pump change invoice also includes Redressage Bas Caisse Gauche! Which I translate as making good left sill. The guy did say his mother in law had banged the front twice, but lightly. Would this type of impact take out a steering pump?

He wants EUR 7500.

Ebay Germany has been getting a lot of bids on6.9's, one with a reserve of oner 24,000, on a French import was at 13,500, a recent sale with around 200,000 kms came in at 7,000+ for restoration!

Would anyone Down Under think it is possible to find a European model there for re-export, or is that just silly!!

Coming back from Germany this afternoon I saw a 123 300D, on a Dutch plate, RHD, with a GBM country code sticker. Very odd.

Best wishes from The Ardennes  (Fog and Frost)



Quote from: isobars on 14 January 2006, 01:56 PM... Would anyone Down Under think it is possible to find a European model there for re-export, or is that just silly!!

But Paul: We drive from the other side of the car. Unlikely to find a left-hander here.   :)
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A Right Hand Drive car is OK in Belgium, or Germany for that matter.

It would save a lot though, 10% + 17.5%, if it had been exported by a Pom second hand and therefore the purchase tax had already been paid in the EU.

Unlikely, I know, but I thought I'd put the question.

Thanks for your warm welcome comments on the music forum question.

Cheers from The Ardennes. I confess with a cold German Beer in hand!



Hi isobars (Paul)

You wrote :
"Does this mean the vehicle has been laid up between the expiration of the CT 2000 and the new one this week?"

The answer is YES. Not good IMHO.

Also :
"The fuel problem came nine months and 800 kms later than a prior service Jan 1997."

My theory is :  they owned the car from 86, they parked it at some point, obviously not knowing how to store a car properly.  They cleaned the car out and then it got a CT so as to get on the road in 1996 (the CT is required since 1992 and must be done every two years). The FI eventually died of mistreatment (K-jet usually never rusts if properly maintained/stored).

Then the car was taken off the road for nearly six years.

You also wrote:
"Redressage Bas Caisse Gauche! Which I translate as making good left sill. The guy did say his mother in law had banged the front twice, but lightly. Would this type of impact take out a steering pump?"

Redressage Bas Caisse Gauche means straightening out the left side rocker panel . I bet you that mother in law was used to a Twingo but got in the 6.9, stepped on the go pedal, got scared and drove plain off a small road in a right turn, hit the ditch at low speed and damaged the lower left side of the car, possibly damaging the power steering.

So there we have it, a person "nervous" about showing you the CT and wanting EUR 7500. I've seen a mint go for 8800? last year in Paris.

This does NOT sound good to me, I would walk away as the owners do not sound very honest and/or know how to take care/use a 6.9.

Look for a goodie Paul


Paris, France


I agree that it sounds risky if they make you feel that they are hiding something. The risk is too high in buying a bad car that will cost you many thousands to bring it up to the standard you had hoped. Unless you can inspect every inch of the car I would assume the worst. Don't be afraid of some rust - these are 30 year old cars after all - but just make sure you have identified all the rust and be prepared for the cost of attending to it at some time in the future.

There are excellent examples out there for sale and there are good examples that need a bit of work if you are willing but just make sure you know exactly what you are buying.

Good luck.

1977 450SE [Brilliant Red]
2006 B200


THANK YOU!! to everyone who has taken the time to help me with this dilemma.
Your advice has been first-class, and I couldn't have asked for more genuine and friendly interest.
This learning curve has been a treat so far, and I won't be taking the edge off it by buying the car in France!
I'm going to look for a straighter car with less mystery, and more history.
If I can ever help with anything from Germany or UK/Belgium etc, please don't hesitate to contact me via email.

Salutations from The Ardennes. (Minus 6 on the way home tonight)



Quote from: isobars on 14 January 2006, 06:36 PM
A Right Hand Drive car is OK in Belgium, or Germany for that matter.

Paul, does that mean that RHD cars can be registered for ordinary daily use there?

Here in Oz, LHD cars are only allowed as visitors, or as "historic" cars on "club" registration - which is rather limiting.

Mind you, there are so many idiots who can't drive from the right side that I'd hate to see what they'd do with the controls on the "wrong" side!   :D

Whilst I found it quite easy to adapt to LHD when in the States and Canada, driving a LHD car in Oz was a most unnerving experience. I once owned a LHD Studebaker; driving that in Sydney almost caused me a nervous collapse. I sold it while I still had some sanity (though some would argue the sanity was suspect in the first place for having bought the beast!).   :D
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Hi OzBenzHead,

Yes, RHD is OK as a normal user here in Belgium, and I've seen  many right hookers on normal plates in Holland, especially old Jag's - in fact yesterday afternoon I passed a RHD W123 300D on a Dutch plate with an old country ID sticker GBM (Isle of Man), now how did that happen!
I sold my W109 to a German, and he registered it without any difficulty.
The only real problem with driving is over-taking, you have to wait for a curve, hang a long way back, or lean across the passenger seat - the least recommended option. Although I suppose you could always ask  the wife if it's clear,  relying on her excellent judgment of speed and distance. Occasionally the 'b' post gets in the way at a roundabout.

I found City driving is bad for the nerves, as you said!

I'm going to have to let go of my W111 to up my ambitions for a 6.9, would you know where I can find  the VIN  stamp on the chassis of the 111? The authorities weren't too bothered when I imported to England and went on the plate and firewall, but I remember from somewhere that there may be one somewhere else, and if that is the case the Belgians will want to see it when I import to here. (I'm hoping it'll be an easier sell on the mainland).




Quote from: isobars on 15 January 2006, 09:39 PM
... would you know where I can find  the VIN  stamp on the chassis of the 111? ...

I can have a look at mine - but I shan't be visiting him for about another week. He - and the W112 - live at my sister's place about 40 km away. (Sis has nice big shed with lots of spare room; I don't.)
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Since I've just gotten a 6.9 and just disposed of my 450 (gave a deal to a fellow car collector and friend to get him into his first German car), I thought I'd offer my opinions on this 450/6.9 debate.

In comparing the two cars I've owned, it is a little hard for me to separate factors that are characteristic of a 450 or 6.9, or those that are due to the unique history/upkeep of my cars.  But I'll try.

Let's start with the obvious - these are really the same car at the core.  A solid, safe chassis and a good interior.  So I'll focus my observations on the differences that count - 2.4 liters of displacement and the suspension.

I can't deny the allure of the 6.9's immense low end torque.  Effortlessly breaking *both* rear wheels loose always brings a smile to my face.  The M-100 engine is something everyone should experience.  The 450's power was always adequate, but the rear axle ratio had it feeling a bit bust at highway speeds, whereas the 6.9 is more relaxed.

But experience doesn't mean you have to live with it, and living with it means getting 10 mpg instead of 15, and nastier maintenance and repair bills when they come.  Your choice.

Handling is harder for me to judge.  My 450 had 15" wheels, and fresh shocks and springs.  Handling was wonderful - it was actually 'tossable'.  My 6.9 seems to demand a more deliberate hand - it floats over bumps much more nicely, but it does not seem as locked down in curves.  I'm sure that the difference in tires plays a strong role here, or I may just need to get more experience with the 6.9.

End result is that the 450 was an almost daily driver for me - I took the kids to school in it and drove it often.  Because the 6.9 is so much cleaner, I've insured it under my classic car policy, and can't use it as a daily driver anymore.  So I drive it less.  I also get more concerned if the kids kick the seats, or other stuff.  I wasn't so concerned in the 450.

The 6.9 is the ultimate expression of the W116, but it can be a demanding mistress.  I've found I drive mine less than the 450 because of insurance, repair and fuel costs.  I fuss over issues more - I just drove and enjoyed the 450 for what it was.  If this is going to be your first W116, I would recommend starting with a 450, and only going to a 6.9 if you need to.  But you need not feel shortchanged in a 450.  Simply buy the best example (watch the rust!) you can afford, and enjoy it.


John Hubertz

4.5 vs 6.9?  Easy choice.  4.5 is my opinion....  economically more valid as an investment.

Here is my rationale:

1.  Always buy the best you can afford, which means if you want to stay under $10,000USD a nice 6.9 is unlikely.  Also, why pour more money into a collector car then you must - and the appearance and performance of 6.9 is not that substantial vs a 450 or 280, especially in the european specification cars you will be considering.

2.  Performance is nearly identical at any rational level of driving that matters in a 30 year-old vehicle.  If you want a Benz hot rod, buy a 560 SEL or S600.  All 116s are big, heavy cars.  While they do have high performance for their era, it is mainly something you can appreciate today in the context of BALANCE and engineering excellence, not raw performance. 

The 6.9s have terrible tradeoffs in weight distribution and economy.  In my opinion, the best performing 116 is actually a Euro 280SE....from the perspective of driving pleasure it is all downhill from there.  Yes, there is a tiny numerical superiority in a 6.9....but only as you scrub away driving pleasure and front rubber.

3.  Investment.  In my opinion, a PERFECT collector car will always outearn marginal examples, except in the case of restorations, which is prohibitively expensive nowadays due to the low high-end value of a restored 116.

Also, as an investment vehicle, cars just don't hold up.  I've had two cars in my life that recently went to auction nationally - my 51 studebaker (owned from 1974 - 1980, and a 1966 Pontiac Bonneville, owned in 1977-78).  Both cars sold for over $25,000, and I sold them for 2600 and 4000, respectively.  But both were RESTORED before sale.... and in total I made money by selling and investing in other properties.

4.  My Humble Opinion.  Buy what I just bought - the best, newest, nicest 450SEL you can find.  Think about it - it was the top Mercedes for an era.... an iconic design....a car driven by statesmen and superstars.... yet you can buy a nearly perfect one for under $5000 USD?  Incredible.  I notice European values are flat as well.  An incredible, stunning value.  What other top-line Mercedes in history has ever reached this (low) price point?  None in the modern era.

Here is my opinion on relative value of 1973 - 1980 Mercedes in 20 years.....1 of course being maximum..... 

1.  Perfect 6.9
2.  Perfect  300SD
3.  Perfect 450 SEL
4.  Perfect SE
5.  Perfect 107 SL
6.  Perfect 300D

Note the abiding concept is "perfect".  If a car isn't close to or at museum quality, all you have to do is check Kruse or EBay and see the difference.

Hope this helps!


John Hubertz
"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
(Hunter S. Thompson) 

1977 450SEL (Max Headroom)
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Excellent question!  Answer:  I don't know - yet.   ::) I was not shopping for a car, much less a 6.9, when this one dropped in my lap.  I would have happily continued driving my 450 for years otherwise.  But the 6.9's owner got a new job in a new state, and the 6.9 needed to go *now*.  I paid $5500 US for it, and given its condition, price guides (Old Car Price Guide) place its value between $11,000 and $19,000.  So I guess I couldn't say no, but I couldn't keep both.

Given my circumstances, and the particular 450 and 6.9 involved here, I'm glad I switched to the 6.9.  The 450 is now in good hands, and the 6.9 is in much better condition than the 450 (not that the 450 was bad, just not as near perfect as the 6.9).  My particular 6.9 is a nicely kept original car, and an excellent addition to my restored '64 Buick Riviera and all original, unrestored '67 Chevelle Malibu.  But as such, I can't use it every day, and I must say I'll miss that.

John's points are excellent ones, buy the best you can afford and enjoy it.  I'd rather have a clean, original #2 condition 280S than a ratty 6.9.  There is nothing in the world more expensive than a cheap Mercedes.   ;D



Given the choice in those terms, I'd probably choose a #1 450 over a #2 6.9, definitely over a #3 6.9.  But I'm a sucker for clean, original cars, and the day to day maintainability and repairability of a 450 over a 6.9 is a draw for me.  Heck, I just swapped about $2500 plus a largely #3 450 for a largely #2 6.9  :P.

At the end of the day, either car has too many doors to become ultra collectible or valuable, so although the 6.9 is, and will always be worth significantly more than a 450, I'm not sure it will outweigh the carrying costs of a 6.9, especially one that has been neglected.  Putting a rough 6.9 is a job for the stout of heart, wallet and stomach, and I am impressed, if not awestruck, by the efforts of folks like alabbasi to do it - twice!  6.9s are a labor of love, for I don't see any way to recoup the increased maintenance and repair costs they generate.  I largely agree with John's estimate of future values, except I think nice R107 models will at least equal the value of 6.9s.

Thinking about it a little more, I am glad I got the 6.9 I did, and don't regret the swap I made.  It will cost me in the long run, I will drive it less, but there is the satisfaction of owning the ultimate '70s Mercedes.  My point is that no one need feel that they compromised or settled by buying a 450.  Or a 350 or 280 for that matter.