Classic car of the week: 1970 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 3.5

The car that marked the departure from the typical designs of the 1950s

In the late Sixties, Mercedes’ luxury saloon (now more commonly known as the S-Class) took the shape of the W109. Its elegant lines were penned by Paul Bracq, the French car designer who’s work included the award-winning BMW Turbo concept that later evolved into the iconic M1.

Classic car of the week: 1970 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 3.5

The W109 marked a departure from typical 1950’s car design. Gone were the then fashionable tail fins and lashings of chrome inspired by new technologies such as jet airliners and space travel. The W109 was more conservative in its appearance, with its simple but elegant lines and modest chrome work.

Classic car of the week: 1970 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 3.5

The range started with the 250 S model, which offered 130bhp. The addition of fuel-injection in the SE model bolstered power output by a further 20bhp, while at the top of the range, for the time at least, was the 300 SEL, which initially carried a 3.0-litre straight-six engine at its core with a elongated body, awarding it the addition of the letter ‘L’.

Classic car of the week: 1970 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 3.5

This particular model – a late 1969 (registered in 1970) 300 SEL – benefited from the new 3.5-litre V8, which delivered 200bhp. The new engine made for a 0-60mph time of 10 seconds flat – a full 2.2seconds quicker than the earlier 3.0-litre straight-six option. But, as we know, gents, it’s not all about power in a big Mercedes. This 300 SEL came equipped with air suspension, power-assisted steering, air conditioning, a radio and an automatic transmission as standard- ideal for wafting along in plutocratic bliss.

This particular 300 SEL has been owned since new by the same family for 46 years. Having covered just short of 40,000miles in its lifetime, it is a very low mileage example, hence its ambitions top-end estimate of £30,000.

Guide Price: £16,000-£30,000

This car will go under the hammer at RM Sotheby’s London auction on the evening of 7 September 2016. Click here for more details. 

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