Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3: The fastest production sedan

Stefan Filtgen
Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 in the driving report
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D he sound of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 at the same time a subtle indication of his thirst. Because it outclasses every well-trained wine lover when driving in a hurry with over 25 liters per 100 kilometers.

The Mercedes 600 engine catapults the Mercedes 300 SEL forward

It has been more than forty years since development engineer Erich Waxenberger and his colleagues at Mercedes-Benz had ruled the company up until then Let go of restraint: They transplanted the monstrous V8 engine with 6.3 liter displacement from the state limousine Mercedes 600 into the much slimmer S-Class. And created the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 - the fastest production sedan in the world. A feat of well-groomed madness - in the middle of sensible Swabia.

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 officially debuted in Geneva in March 1968, so the anniversary is urgent. It is therefore very practical that the car can still be driven like a flying champagne cork on the motorway towards France. Full throttle at 130 km /h is an amazing spectacle: the four-speed automatic transmission with hydraulic clutch kicks down roughly, the engine of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 suddenly changes its tone from grumbling to roaring, and more than forty-year-old leather presses the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 passenger mercilessly from behind against the intervertebral discs.

From 170 km /h the last conversation about bottle fermentation, dosage and other subtleties of champagne production: The wind noises in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 to hurricane noises. They sing the song of chrome edging, bare windshield wipers, massive gutters. Not that bad, the driver doesn't feel like banter any more.

First owner produced tights and wanted 70 additional horsepower

Because he has to constantly correct the nervous 1.8 ton Swabian heavy construction of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 on the course - with a steering wheel that feels two meters in diameter. Nevertheless, the empty motorway sucks the old Mercedes for a few moments at an absurd 235 km /h. This is of course completely incompatible with the global climate, but primarily a whopping 15 km /h faster than a production model. After all, this is a copy of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 with contemporary tuning and immodest 320 hp.For the first owner of the racing living room, an Allgäu manufacturer of women's fine stockings of the 'Ergee' brand, the standard 250 horsepower was probably too ladylike.

And so he had his Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 at the beginning of the 1970s turned to a young engine forge in Großaspach to have the fastest production sedan turned into the fastest of all. AMG was the name of the shop - in those times it was still far from serving as the Group's own premium brand. In Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, Aufrecht was hardly taken seriously, and people were even amused by the team of screwdrivers. In any case, internal notes extensively blasphemed about their modest premises and the allegedly inadequate tool equipment.

Classic tuning at AMG

But appearances were deceptive, because the AMG people were already familiar with engines back then. Good for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3, with a liter output of bored 39.5 hp /liter, the machine was far from the end of its possibilities - polished intake ducts, finely balanced connecting rods, sharp camshafts, racing pistons. Hans-Werner Aufrecht and his men created a wonderfully unreasonable piece of German mechanical engineering that apparently also impressed them themselves: Even today, Aufrecht can remember details such as the ignition angle or the heat value of the candles. He proudly had the now famous three letters stamped on the two sharpened camshafts of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3. Apparently by hand, judging by the somewhat crooked typeface.

Crooked or not: The early commitment to the performance society can still be called up today with a slight twitch of the accelerator in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3. The club room, decorated with leather and wood, is transformed into a sultry training room in no time. The waste heat from the much too narrow engine room of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 is on a par with that of a medium-sized nuclear reactor. And so we are almost happy that the horrendous consumption of the Silberling forces us to make a stopover despite a 105 liter tank.

In general: At the latest at the French border, the force of nature of this engine fades into the background. From now on we glide in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 along the speed limit on wonderfully crooked country roads. We let quiet club jazz rumble and the leather creaks carefully. Lo and behold: the supposed Tyrannosaurus Rex can also be very peaceful. The Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 smacks the picturesque country roads of the Vosges with satisfaction and exercises in a relaxed French pace. Only when empty and dead straight asphalt strips cut through the large cornfields of France behind Bar-le-Duc, you can hear a slight sigh of relief from the engine compartment of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3. Another opportunity for the mechanical eight-piston injection pump from Bosch,to serve properly.

The nonchalance of the torque teaches you to glide

So brutal the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 can also be, it subtly and imperceptibly educates us to travel at a more relaxed pace. Even in the brochure, Mercedes drew parallels with an English club in the interior. The cigar lighter, not the cigarette lighter, was also spoken of with care. Above all, however, it is the nonchalance of the endless torque that is inexorably transmitted to the driver. Shortly before midnight, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 hums at a leisurely 150 km /h over the last kilometers of the local motorway. We can sit back and relax for the rest of the journey.

How did Mercedes write in the brochure back then? 'The Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 provides that decisive calm, overview and serenity that drivers will no longer be able to do without in the future.'


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