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Garage => Test Drive => Topic started by: Neil4speed on 11 August 2022, 10:46 PM

Title: How many 6.9's do you think still exist in an operational form?
Post by: Neil4speed on 11 August 2022, 10:46 PM
A bit of an open ended question, but one that I have wondered about in terms of the general rarity of the 6.9 model. When you think about production count of 7,380, that puts it in the territory of about half of the number of 190SL's made, or half of the number of 60's Shelby's made, closer to the ~4000 356 speedsters made.

The difference with those cars vs a 6.9 is that the 6.9 was designed for every day use, and would have likely been used as such. Over the 40+ years of life, I am sure very few percentage wise were spared being scrapped/crushed due to owners not willing to put money into them, whereas, the previously mentioned 'specialty' cars were more likely to be owned by collectors/investors.

I am going to guess that about 1,000 still exist in an operational form. Purely speculative, but my 'gut' thought.

Curious what others think. 
Title: Re: How many 6.9's do you think still exist in an operational form?
Post by: daantjie on 11 August 2022, 10:56 PM
We've chewed the fat on this topic before if I recall.

Depends on what you mean by "operational" of course.

As we know these cars were extremely expensive new but as they pretty much all fell into the hands of 3rd, 4th etc owners by now who are invariably less well heeled the rapid decline in "operational" status was always going to be inevitable.

I would say really nice ones with everything working and starting at the first turn of the key, good engine, suspension and trans, good body and interior,  maybe 100 worldwide in THIS condition.
Title: Re: How many 6.9's do you think still exist in an operational form?
Post by: Randys01 on 12 August 2022, 03:17 AM
If we use Daniel's car as an example of a "nice one" than there is more than a 100 but not more than 200.
Title: Re: How many 6.9's do you think still exist in an operational form?
Post by: rumb on 12 August 2022, 07:46 AM
M100 website used to have a DB of cars.  I recall a few hundred on that list.


22 have been listed on Bring a Trailer in last 7 years.

https://bringatrailer.com/auctions/results/?search=6.9

This site show 35 sold in last 5 years almost all not on BAT

https://www.classic.com/m/mercedes-benz/s/w116/450-sel-69/

this site has 6 for sale:

https://www.smartmotorguide.com/mercedes_benz-cars-for-sale?k=mercedes+450sel


I'd guess @1000 in North America.


Title: Re: How many 6.9's do you think still exist in an operational form?
Post by: gurrier on 12 August 2022, 08:00 AM
If my research into the number of all W116's in Ireland is anything to go by I originally thought that high single figures would be the limit. I am now fairly confident that there are a total of twenty six W116s roadgoing with the possibility of up to forty being the true figure. (The possibilty of there being three 6.9s among that total is something I yet have to confirm.) Guestimates are just that.  In the adsence of hard data it is just conjecture.  As I stated before there are registers kept by other fora.  If I recall there was previously an ad hoc total calculated by a since left contributor but unfortunately I can not now find the thread.
Title: Re: How many 6.9's do you think still exist in an operational form?
Post by: johnnyw116 on 12 August 2022, 02:03 PM
There are overhere in Holland about 70 6.9´s registered but that does not say anything about the condition they are in , but rarely you see a 6.9 on the road overhere , and i think i saw in the last 30 years not more than 5 on the road and the last time i saw one was also a few years ago
Title: Re: How many 6.9's do you think still exist in an operational form?
Post by: Neil4speed on 13 August 2022, 09:29 AM
Thanks for the comments all, this is like a puzzle, without an accurate answer likely :)

So using the indicator of 24 registered currently in the UK, and 47 being out of commission (held in someone's garage/barn etc. but not registered). in 1995 there was about 97 licensed, assuming a small decline rate from the years of 1975-1995, I wonder if we could triangulate the 'operational form' gross approximation if we knew how many were made for the UK market

I know that 1,816 were made for the us Market, and I believe Nathan (W116) member said ~200 were made for the Australian market.

Title: Re: How many 6.9's do you think still exist in an operational form?
Post by: s class on 13 August 2022, 10:33 AM
The situation is further complicated by the fact that a lot of private imports took place between countries,so for example ita not uncommon to find euro spec 6.9s in the US and Australia.

To my knowledge there are approximately 11 6.9s on South Africa.  All are private imports, and 7 - 8 are operational.  I'll start a separate thread on the subject of 6.9s in south africa
Title: Re: How many 6.9's do you think still exist in an operational form?
Post by: daantjie on 13 August 2022, 01:29 PM
In the same vein, do we think 6.9's will ever become highly collectible?  I have expressed reservations about this in the past and still have my doubts.
6.3 values are languishing in part due to Boomers dying off and part cost and scarcity.
GenX seems to want 80's and 90's cars so I think cars from mid to late the 70's are kind of stuck.
Title: Re: How many 6.9's do you think still exist in an operational form?
Post by: rumb on 13 August 2022, 06:06 PM
I was searching for 6.9 for sale and found a few asking as high as $117k in europe.

Somwone thinks they are valuable.

Within about 10 years all the parts ones will filter out and only the small number will remain most in fine form. Parts will become sparce to restore then condition and remaining rarity kick in.
Title: Re: How many 6.9's do you think still exist in an operational form?
Post by: UTn_boy on 13 August 2022, 09:28 PM
Quote from: rumb on 13 August 2022, 06:06 PMI was searching for 6.9 for sale and found a few asking as high as $117k in europe.

Somwone thinks they are valuable.

Within about 10 years all the parts ones will filter out and only the small number will remain most in fine form. Parts will become sparce to restore then condition and remaining rarity kick in.

Rarity doesn't always mean valuable.  If there is no interest, then it matters not whether there are 10 left in the world or 50.  Without interest, values will remain stagnant.  The 300sel 6.3 and the 600 are good examples in this regard. 
Title: Re: How many 6.9's do you think still exist in an operational form?
Post by: Eyeman on 14 August 2022, 10:43 AM
On the used as daily driver or not, I have seen way more US 6.9s with low mileage than higher mileage (maybe just because the high mileage ones are dead and gone).  I have the impression most were bought by owners with multiple cars and multiple car garages.  Either way, as others have said, unless someone keeps making some of the specialized parts we'll be in trouble.  I also own a 190SL, you can pretty much still buy that car piece by piece still (but some of the pieces are expensive).  Hopefully at least the W116 replacement type parts stay available and then a few specialized places worldwide continue to deal with the 6.9 items.
Title: Re: How many 6.9's do you think still exist in an operational form?
Post by: nathan on 14 August 2022, 03:24 PM
Hi guys,

a few points from a right hand drive perspective
-227 australian cars officially sold in 70s, but i have records on 290 or so in australia over the last 20 years
-287 cars in the UK, stated in Evo car magazine issue 98 (this was in my database for some odd reason). i think this is low if we got 227 here in australia.  i briefly took records on UK cars as RHD vehicles and i mean briefly in the early 2000s, there were at least 20-30 i had.

the remaining and nice cars is a valid distinction.  different markets have different fates but i would say at least half of australian cars are still going. it doesnt mean they are registered though.
nice ones the number would be over 500-1000 i think quite easily. of 25 or so 6.9s in my little state of 2million people, about 8-9 are cars you would look at and state they are a nice reasonable car, probably 5-6 you would say are slick.  people have different definitions of this but im no pushover on quality (but also realistical).

the value query creates 2 polar opposites of opinion Neil.  i agree with some points that the cars could be aging them themselves out of demand. But in recent years we have seen 6.3s go off, 600s plateau, and now 6.9s take off unrelated to covid car prices.  in saying this, even i would likely (and have) declined a 600  as knowledge to keep them going scares me off a magnificent car. 

ultimately, everyone has their own opinion.  my own 6.9 has been with me 20 years, will unlikely never leave me, but only gets driven <500km a year as its part of a small MB collection I have. i would include it in the tidy group.  the link is a video of my 6.9, and dads which was a massive resto 10 years ago. dad drives his everywhere regardless of weather.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xas8ysXuN64
Title: Re: How many 6.9's do you think still exist in an operational form?
Post by: Nabstud on 15 August 2022, 04:35 AM
I'm just surprised Mercedes still sells many new parts for these 40+yo cars! The market for these items must be minuscule in their eyes, even aftermarket parts seem to be plentiful. Try and buy genuine parts from Ford for a 20yo car and you will be struggling!
Title: Re: How many 6.9's do you think still exist in an operational form?
Post by: Neil4speed on 15 August 2022, 11:37 AM
Quote from: daantjie on 13 August 2022, 01:29 PMIn the same vein, do we think 6.9's will ever become highly collectible?  I have expressed reservations about this in the past and still have my doubts.
6.3 values are languishing in part due to Boomers dying off and part cost and scarcity.
GenX seems to want 80's and 90's cars so I think cars from mid to late the 70's are kind of stuck.

Agreed, I saw that Steve Mcqueen's 6.3 (restored) went for the mid 100's, which seemed exceptionally low considering his watch went for 2.2M? I also think your assesment is correct, the parts are really hard to come by (especially for pre-116 models), which general sales numbers along with global distribution was far less.

UTn_boy - Agreed, pretty limited demand for older Sedans in General. 500E's are riding the coat-tails of the M5's likely and the Porsche connection

rumb - Fair assessment

Eyeman - Totally, I think many were 'stored' due to their value to the owner but lack of practicality for every day use.

Nathan - thanks for the comment back - lots of great color, I actually was thinking of an old comment of yours with the ~200 spec number in Australia. I am surprised by that value for the UK, I also thought it would have been higher... I wonder if it was the number in 2000, or produced period.

Nabstud - That is a plus, I don't expect every part to be recreated, that can not be financial feasible - but most of the common things, especially usual wear items, would be nice.



Title: Re: How many 6.9's do you think still exist in an operational form?
Post by: daantjie on 15 August 2022, 12:17 PM
Unless you cover long highway distances in favourable weather every day the 6.9 is not a daily driver in my opinion. Coupled with horrendous fuel economy ensures that today it will only ever be a fair weather cruiser on the weekends.

I guess that's why they were also popular Down Under with good weather and long stretches of unfettered highway.  Also would have been easier in the days of lacks speed enforcement.  Here in Canada you will absolutely lose your ride very quickly for speed transgressions.

They were of course designed for titans of industry being driven at high speed on the autobahn with chauffeur.

Those days are long over and modern Benzes have a lot more to offer in every category so the 6.9 today is for sure a niche collector car.
Title: Re: How many 6.9's do you think still exist in an operational form?
Post by: nathan on 16 August 2022, 07:58 AM
Daantjie, I dont see much merit in a 6.9 being used a daily anymore, I dont know anyone in Australia who does anymore.  They have crossed over to heirloom status or collectibles.  I reckon its about 10 years since I knew of anyone dallying their 6.9

But by standards, their economy isn't actually so bad and I dont think is the hindrance.  Dont be fooled by claims of current models.  What current manufacturers say their cars do, and what they achieve in real life are very different.  My own 6.9 does about 20L/100km.  I kept my 212 e63 with the 6.2L m156, its actually the best of my 'newer V8s', with about 15L/100. My new 213 e63 is actually bloody terrible relatively, about 16.5L/100 and thats with a 4 litre motor that has cylinder shutoff and a 9 speed! I really expected better out of this. I think the brochure said low teens but this is flat out not possible to achieve - I tried on a country run.  My G55, now thats horrible - its about 22/100 but its hampered by a 5 speed due to the power of the thing preventing the 7 speeds being mated to it. I therefore dont think the 6.9 is actually that bad in the scheme of it.  I dont think people who get a V8 are generally deterred by fuel price - we knew what we were in for!

what could be interesting, is will 3d printing possibly enable some bits to be made by average Joe.  in my work, I get custom titanium pieces made for very wouldn't think its outside the realms of possibility.
Title: Re: How many 6.9's do you think still exist in an operational form?
Post by: s class on 16 August 2022, 01:27 PM
My red AMG 6.9 is close to being a daily driver.  I use it a few times a week for school runs etc.  It shares dummies about 50/50 with the W202.  And yes fuel consumption is terrible.