At first glance, the silver Mercedes S-Class of the W 109 series has seen better days. It comes as the 300 SEL from the production year 1971 and thus from the last year before the Swabians replaced it with the W 116 series, which was given the official designation S-Class for the first time. The metallic paint has faded from the Californian sun and the elegant four-door sits unusually flat on the road. At second glance, the gleaming 18-inch rims are striking, which are reminiscent of the original hubcaps of the time, but are elaborately designed custom-made products - with high-speed tires: 255 millimeters wide at the front and 285 millimeters at the rear. Characteristic of a US model of the S-Class from the early 1970s are the unattractive side lights at the front and rear and the supposedly yellow fog lights, which have taken over the function of the turn signals on the chrome-plated front bumper. If you look closely, you will see that modern LED modules are installed in the original and extensively restored light units.
A look inside reveals black leather chairs that are in much better condition than the paint – no wonder. They have also been reupholstered with leather, as have the fine wood and the plastic parts, some of which were newly created on the 3D printer. Steering wheel, instruments and new carpets - everything looks great and the historic Mercedes instruments are a real show anyway. The front seats were heated as a result of the restoration and a modern air conditioning system ensures that the occupants can also withstand the hot temperatures. When walking around the car, not only does the low chassis catch the eye, but also the faded trunk lid, on which the model designation 300 SEL is usually emblazoned in the USA - supplemented by the displacement designation. Most of the vehicles shone here with a 3.5 or the V8 topper 4.5, which was not offered in Europe with its almost 200 hp and today for many represents an interesting alternative to the expensive 300 SEL 6.3, which has a magnificent 184 kW / 250 hp Eight-cylinder was powered, which also powered the 600cc state limousine of the W-100 series for three decades.
A 6.2 is written almost coyly on the right-hand side of the trunk lid, and given the state of restoration inside and the chassis, it can hardly be assumed that Icon Motors, as the initiator of the project, committed itself here or simply used the wrong combination of numbers. A turn of the ignition key solves the riddle faster than one might think of the large-capacity American supercars. Jonathan Ward, owner of Icon Motors, otherwise more of an image-enhancing specialist in conversions for historic off-road models such as Toyota Land Cruiser or Fond Bronco when nobody in Europe knew the term Restomod, once let his feelings run free and bought a historic Mercedes S-Class created like there has never been before. An unusual symbiosis as a transatlantic alliance of Swabia and the west coast. Regions that could hardly be more different and find this expression in a model that is classified in a gray area of luxury sedan, rat, restomod and US sports car. The heart of the five-meter-long 300 SEL is no longer a German aluminum Mercedes engine, but a 6.2-liter eight-cylinder from General Motors. "Modern elements, such as a powerful new engine and an improved sound system, have been incorporated into the original vehicle layout in a discreet and contemporary manner, resulting in a striking classic that also performs well in modern driving conditions," emphasizes Jonathan Ward.
In order to accommodate the LS9 power plant and supercharger in the much too small engine compartment, the US heart could not simply be implanted and so extensive changes in the body and structure of the 109 series were necessary. A frame was specially designed under the body, which makes the Mercedes 300 SEL 6.2 significantly more stable in order to cope with the power outbursts. The occupants only notice this on the slightly higher carpet inside. The 476 kW / 647 hp eight-cylinder supercharger is connected to a specially created 4L85E automatic transmission from powerful pick-ups, which strives to bring the more than 800 Nm of maximum torque to the road. So that the power has a chance to be converted into propulsion, Ward and his team installed his specially adapted Dana 60 IRS differential together with coilover suspension and a completely new rack and pinion steering on the rear axle. A Brembo high-performance brake system ensures the appropriate delays. All of this has its price: fully restored, the elegant transatlantic alliance costs at least 450,000 US dollars. Special customer requests? Always a warm welcome and as a rustic alternative for the construction period, Jonathan Ward is sure to have one of his cool Ford Broncos or Toyota Land Cruisers as a transitional model. And you will never want to give that up again - like the Mercedes 300 SEL 6.2 Derelict.