The Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3

The origin of the AMG 300SEL 6.8 started back in 1963 when the Mercedes-Benz 600 W100 ‘Grosser’ was launched at the Frankfurt International Motor Show.

The 600 was an extraordinary car in every sense and featured the brand new M100 6.3 litre V8 engine – Mercedes-Benz’ first production V8. The M100 engine would go on to power the W109 300SEL 6.3 and the later W116 450SEL 6.9, albeit with a different fuel injection system and dry-sump lubrication.

The W109 300SEL 6.3 was launched in 1968, where Mercedes-Benz took the standard 300SEL and planted the M100 6.3 V8 in the engine compartment. Legend has it that Mercedes-Benz engineer, Erich Waxenberger, developed the 6.3 under wraps with a group of select technicians and finally presented it to his boss Rudolph Uhlenhaut. Uhlenhaut was so impressed with the car that it was given the green light to go into production.

According to an article written by British journalist Martin Buckley, the more likely scenario is that the 600 ‘Grosser’ did not sell as well as Mercedes-Benz would have liked - only 2677 cars of all variants were sold in seventeen years. Mercedes-Benz had obviously spent a fortune on developing the M100 V8 and needed to recoup some of the costs, hence the idea of putting that engine into the W109 300SEL.

 

Any which way, the Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 would become a mould breaker and was the fastest production sedan of the time. The US car magazine Road and Track heaped praise on the 6.3 and called it ‘merely the greatest sedan in the world’.