The Mercedes 300 SEL 6.3 Invented an Entire Genre of Car — BTS with DTS — Ep. 9Mar 24, 2022
imagine a full size sedan that does zero to 60 as fast as a ferrari v12 and faster than a porsche 911 oh wait you don't have to because they are everywhere now and we owe it all to this car, the
mercedes- benz 300 scl 6.3 while part of the product lines of countless manufacturers today, cars like this were not the sort of thing any manufacturer would have even conceived of back then let alone built, in fact this car just it arose because a slightly crazy
mercedesengineer built himself after hours from parts he managed to dig up around the factory and only ended up in production because his boss heard him pass through his open office window one night and demanded to know what it was and although it was an S class mercedes then they took it to the races and it ended up being surprisingly good at that too this car almost didn't happen in fact the daimler-benz board member responsible for sales said that e The car was too dangerous to sell to the public and what to pay for.
Perhaps 50 examples could be built if they went ahead, but it was scrapped and over 6,500 more were made than the six-cylinder version of the car it was based on, although not quite. They knew at the time that Mercedes engineers had just
inventeda whole new
genreof carâ€”one that enthusiasts continue to enjoy todayâ€”the big sedan that has so much power it's as fast as Porsche and Ferrari sports cars in the mid-1900s. the 1960s mercedes-benz had a bit of an image problem bmw had their recently introduced neua classic cars that combined attractive packaging and athleticism into an exciting new car that prompted them to run an ad in germany asking buyers if they would rather buy a car from a company known for making motorcycles like bmw or from a company known for making trucks like mercedes that left the car vilismo in 1955 the image of mercedes no longer had the same mistake of sporting enthusiasm in germany they were seen as high quality cars for older conservatives people retired professional executives and taxi drivers if there were any enthusiastic employees at mercedes they would surely not be able to make the cars they they wanted eric voxenberger was one such employee who began working for mercedes-benz in 1953 in the passenger car testing department and on occasion tested the cars so thoroughly that the mercedes-benz insurance company petitioned that he be banned from driving in 1966 his boss was rudolf ullenhout then in charge of passenger car development but previously head of mercedes racing department during its two most glorious periods of motor racing in the 1930s during the silver arrow grand prix car era and again After the war, this latter period was the heyday of the 300SL and SLR, as well as the Two V time winner of the w196 formula one world championship that summer in 1966 the two were meeting a journalist from one of germany's car magazines who accused them of getting old because they were surrounded by boring voxenberger passenger cars he took it very seriously And he got to work first doing a bit of design and eventually assembling a small team to build a prototype when the body of a 250 coupe accidentally fell off the assembly line during production.
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the mercedes 300 sel 6 3 invented an entire genre of car bts with dts ep 9...
Voxenberger was there to get him, literally and figuratively. too damaged to sell to a client, the casing was ideal for their development mule and working with their team after hours and on the weekends they installed the massive 6.3 liter v8 from the absolutely crazy 600 limousine equipped with a manual clutch zf 5 speed from a mercedes truck and a pretty rudimentary exhaust system the car was drivable mid 1967 and voxenberger was testing the car on a friday night after everyone had gone home or so he thought it turns out that his boss oulenhout was still in his office and on account of the hot weather, the window was open, he heard the car drive up to the window and saw a coupe go by making v8 noises, mercedes had made only one v8 engine at that time and that was the 600 engine.
The next day, Ullenhout called Voxenberger into his office and asked if he knew anything about it. Voxenberger explained to him what he had done and, of course, he wanted to drive it right away, but Voxenberger felt that he was not ready and told him that he could see it. he didn't drive it the next day just to make sure voxenburger had a mechanic remove the front brakes overnight when ulenhout finally drove it a few days later he was excited and asked if he could present it to the board in two weeks the team worked overtime to get the car ready and apart from the curmudgeon board member in charge of sales, who said it was too fast and dangerous to sell, everyone loved it, the board officially approved the project and allocated a development budget along the way, Engineers decided to use the 300 SCL sedan instead, whose air suspension would offset the extra weight of the engine while providing a more comfortable ride and better traction to reduce power from the 600 Auto.
The automatic transmission was also used for comfort reasons. and durability. It was going to be a Mercedes-Benz, after all, and it would have to meet their strict standards for durability, reliability, and quality. The M100 engine that Voxenburger used for the transplant was something very special. Originally designed for the 600, an extremely luxurious and sophisticated flagship car often owned by heads of state, industrialists and celebrities in 1964. A Cadillac Fleetwood was $6,300. A Rolls Royce Silver Cloud was $16,500. Least expensive , six hundred, cost almost twenty-three thousand dollars. Whereas top-of-the-line cars from Cadillac and Rolls Royce used carburettors, pushrods and live rear axles, the 600 not only used fuel-injected overhead cams and independent suspension, it was a self-leveling air suspension and was complemented by a hydraulic system that operated power seats windows trunk lid and even vent on a hood for all-round cabin ventilation the 600 was an extraordinary car and owned by celebrities like coco chanel david bowie elizabeth taylor elvis presley hugh hefner jack nicholson aristotle onassis and all the beetles except paul mccartney heads of state were particularly fond of them too and they weren't always the nicest guys including mao zedong every supreme leader of north korea idiyamin pol pot saddam hussein mobutu seisei seiko nikolai ciaosku robert mugabe and many more, but going back to the engine, the standard version ar of the 600 weighed over 5500 pounds and the longer pullman model weighed over 6000 despite this both versions were capable of 120+ miles per hour like all German cars they were designed to run near their top speed for extended periods and the engine design reflected this.
Internal components, such as the connecting rods, pistons, and crankshaft, were forged. filled these hardened valve seats with sodium and provided an oil cooler as well if this sounds like race car stuff that's because it turned out that pushing a three ton limo at over 100 miles per hour for extended periods runs a engine the same way racing does it for duty on the 6.3 Stiffer valve springs were fitted to the m100 to improve high-rev durability it looks like mercedes engineers expected 6.3 owners to flog their cars for a rendering Perfection from the typically painstaking development of all Mercedes-Benz cars this extended beyond the engine of course a limited slip differential was fitted along with anti-dive geometry and ventilated disc brakes on all four corners that were sufficiently good for Roent Track to describe as so good you have to experience it to appreciate it, in fact echo rodentrak was very impressed with the whole car his tagline for his test drive clearly says simply world's greatest sedan describing handling is better than most sports cars and straight line performance was so good they decided they had to take it to the race track for a night of grudge racing.
Once there, complete with whitewall tires, he beat out all the entrants until he was finally beaten by a 427-cubic-inch Corvette, even when compared to the legendary Mercedes 500e of more than 20 years later. 6.3 was quick just half a second behind in both 0-60 and the quarter mile, his 0-60 and quarter times making him nearly as quick as a contemporary Porsche 911 or Ferrari 330 GTC and while this type of sports car matches performance is routine for fast sedans nowadays the term performance sedan didn't make sense when the 6.3 came out because no one had ever made one before it emerged from a heavyweight company like mercedes-benz it was even more remarkable that there hadn't been A single performance car in the
entireMercedes model lineup when this car appeared with the legendary 300 SL which was replaced by the more touring-oriented Pagoda SL for 1964.
And it did all of this without looking any different, with no deep spoiler on the No chin or driving lights, the exhaust tips weren't more numerous or bigger and even the color coded hubcap steel wheels of the standard car seemed unchanged what you got were rims. At 10 millimeters wider and a 6.3 badge on the boot lid, that's even the car. The launch flew under the radar The 6.3 was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1968 without even an advance announcement further adding to the impact of its arrival The US launch came a few months later in June at the Laguna circuit Dry in California of all damn places, Rudy Ullenhout was famous for coming within a few tenths of legendary racer Juan Manuel Fangio on track and proceeded to give terrified journalists firsthand evidence of what the 6.3 could do at speed. even today the idea of â€‹â€‹introducing a fast s class in laguna seems comical but back then it was incomprehensible but it ended up being appropriate because in 1969 voxenberger took over car racing at the time when racing was sensitive five subjects in mercedes They had withdrawn from factory-supported racing after the horrific accident at Le Mans in 1955 in which one of their cars was blown into ia the crowd and exploded killing 84 people as a result it was against company policy for daimler ben employees to compete and so voxenberger did what any sensible madman would skirt the rules by finding a race that was so far away that the mother ship couldn't he wouldn't notice or care and that's how the 6.3 made its competition debut in macau five cars were shipped and covered voxenberger explained to management that the cars were being shown off to a group of wealthy hong kong businessmen and omitted that the demonstration it was in fact a six hour endurance race on the streets of macau voxenberger qualified his car on pole position and won the race beating a porsche 911 in the process in third place was another 6.3 The headquarters were upset when they found out what had happened, but not enough to deny Voxenberger the custom. ry 10,000 deutsche mark prize for any privateer driver who won a race or rally in a mercedes-benz with this success to his credit mercedes allowed voxenberger to prepare a few cars to race in europe that summer with an eye on the touring car of 24 hour race at spa franco-shell even bare to run the 6.3 weighed 3500lbs but was capable of lateral g acceleration which made the car incredibly hard on the tires as the race in July approached I was clear that the heat would be too much for the tires to hold together in testing, pieces of tire flew off and mercedes did not allow Voxenberger to widen the wheel arches to fit wider tires the cars were removed to allow more time to prepare them and then the rules were changed in a way that would require substantial re-engineering to comply and mercedes did not have or perhaps would not provide the investment resources engineering to do this job, but someone else had the resources and those were a couple of former mercedes employees who had started a company called amg in 1967.
They tuned up cars for private owners and went to work preparing a 6.3 to compete in the 1971 season. His car used a 6.8 liter engine and debuted at Hockenheim on July 4th and crashed quickly sadly there was less than three weeks to go until the 24 hour race in spa and the team picked up the pieces and worked overtime together with the free labor of a group of college students to reconstitute the car loaded with heavy brake tires and fuel consumption, however, the car managed 5th place. the fastest time in qualifying out of 60 cars and was in third place at the end of the first lap of the race thanks to the long straights which allowed the big red Mercedes to exert its massive speed and critically the brakes to cool the car was genuinely competitive and absolutelyReliable Too Surprisingly by the end of the race, only one car was ahead of it, resulting in what has become a legendary achievement: second place for a Mercedes-Benz S-Class in a 24-hour race. racing race against the field of purpose-built race cars as if this outcome weren't improbable enough, the car often known as the red pig achieved this with power steering, air suspension, full floor mats and even walnut veneer on the dash and door panels, this extraordinary achievement perhaps more than any other sums up the 6.3 trying to explain what made the 6.3 they tested in 1968 so special.
The short answer is that it's still very impressive because of all this competition and engineering, the cars feel so much newer than they are when in motion, the centerpiece of the driving experience is of course the engine, it's smooth and refined compared to an American V8 of the same era, though when you hit the gas or heaven forbid the car revs or explodes forward in a way that is frankly this impression is enhanced by the transmission. The one where the shifts are so firm it made me laugh the first time I experienced it, it feels solid and well made, it also feels like being rear-ended by a freight train, by default the car starts in second, which hinders the output. acceleration, but if you command a downshift to first with a quick application of the throttle or stick shift, the car will hit you with noise and torquey tire squeal in second and again in third the absurdity of doing this in such a dignified sedan, well classic fact and style is addictive and hilarious when this car was built mercedes routinely eschewed excess they weren't inclined to frivolity or drama which is why it's the last place you'd expect a crazy super sedan to be
invented, the 6.3 is your wedding-educated uncle who says and does all the age-appropriate things until the end of the reception when he's closing off the dance floor with all the kids and somehow knows all the words to my neck, my back, and the he sings at the top of his lungs and makes it completely understated the most dated aspects of the driving experience are mainly aesthetic the interior feels positively baroque by standards Modern dares The visibility is exceptional with a low beltline and slender pillars The large, thin-rimmed steering wheel also reinforces this vintage impression and sets the expectation that the steering will be vague and the ratio slow, but the opposite is true with three turns from lock to lock it's a quick ratio for a car of this era although the large steering wheel still means your hands and arms are moving around quite a bit but it's a rock solid platform you can take your hands off the wheel at high speeds and the Car is as stable and planted as any contemporary German car, pushing the car on technical roads reveals another surprise despite having air suspension the chassis isn't floaty or lazy in fact it's nice firm and well controlled and dare I say which is balanced rather than feeling like a mass of unruly parts being driven down the road in the same rough direction, the 6.3 It's a cohesive hole that's easy to control and even playful, especially if the driver is willing to use the throttle limits aren't particularly high, but the car's behavior around them is much closer to a sports car than you'd expect.
I expected. The 6.3 is legendary for its straight-line performance. but no one ever talks about how nice the chassis is and it was this feature that surprised me the most about the car, it's also the perfect embodiment of what makes this car so extraordinary, it's incredibly complete and well represented because the 6.3 has it did a very good job of defining the blueprint for the performance sedan doesn't feel so foreign today and is perhaps the highest compliment you can pay for it the concept and execution still feel so contemporary even though The car is over 50 years old yet it was pure madness, as if the old men at Daimler Benz had finally lost their minds, but what they created was so convincing that the car and driver declared it the most desirable four-door sedan.
That it appeared since the J Dusenberg High model is certainly praise, but what stands out is that the 6.3 was so far removed from any other car around it that the journalists who evaluated it they had to look back decades to find s. something that even came close to its magic to show that these five decades in cars like this are everywhere now and we owe it all to the 6.3 you
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