The Mercedes 300 SEL 6.3 is arguably the car that invented the super saloon, squeezing the gargantuan heart of the 600 SEL Pullman into a shorter wheelbase to create a sleeper that could frighten many of the Ferraris of the era. It was not, however, what many would consider the ideal basis for a race car. Thankfully, that didn’t deter Mercedes one bit.
After deciding the already-monumental 6.3-litre V8 wasn’t quite powerful enough, it was enlarged to a whopping 6.8-litres, endowing the unlikely racer with over 400 irate German horses. A forest’s worth of wood and a herd’s worth of leather were tossed in the skip to help shed some of the 300 SEL’s substantial kerb weight, while racing suspension and flared wheel arches were added to help keep it stuck to the tarmac. The finishing touch was a five speed gearbox, something as out of place in one of these big benzes as the Rote Sau looked on a racetrack. However, all the critics were silenced when Merc’s big red bruiser achieved a startling second place overall finish at the 1971 Spa 24 hours, thus firmly cementing its place in the history books.
Coming up for auction with Oldtimer Galerie Toffen at Swiss Classic World Lucerne on June 3rd, this beautiful replica was painstakingly constructed over a number of years and features a 6.8-litre V8 and a manual gearbox just like the original. Since its completion, it has only covered 500 kilometres, meaning it’s more than ready to hit the track with its next owner. One thing worth noting is that, considering this is an all-out racer, it lacks road registration, and therefore should only be enjoyed on your favourite circuits. If you need a digital detox, this Rote Sau replica will serve as a refreshing reminder that there’s no replacement for displacement.