Old School Mercedes 6.3

In 1969, the Mercedes 6.3 sedan was a beast in well heeled clothing. Some German engineer though shoving the engine from the ultra luxurious 600 pullman limosine would be just the thing for a honking sedan. And he was right. It was something akin to dropping a locomotive engine in the family Ford. Indeed, if you pulled the engine and set it on the floor, it would dwarf any American engine, and this from 360 cubic inches.

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It was the fastest 4 door production car in the world in 1969. The car was heavy but the 300 horsepower from this mechanical fuel injected engine could pull all day and didn’t get tired. Back when I worked on these cars in the late 70’s, the Mercedes rep, Gunther Ficke, told of a time when he was heading out west in a 6.3 when a Superbird came up from behind. Gunther’s national pride took over and these two cars were side by side for almost an hour when the the Plymouth’s engine blew. The Benz’s engine wasn’t going to blow, no matter what.

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Tuning these cars was a job, from adjusting the mechanical pump for fuel, and setting the dual points in the distributor. At least they left off the dual alternators and the hydraulic water pump from the limosine, it wouldn’t have fit under the hood anyway. Impressions of driving this car back in the day remind me of how it feels to drive a modern BMW M-5. Power, power and more power, although pushing it a lot is pretty rough on tires.

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All pictures were taken at Cincinnati Motor Car

Cars must die….

There was this guy in Cincinnati, Karl Kleve, who believed that cars, like humans, must die.  It really isn’t that far out, since cars all do die (or will) sooner or later.  He was a Nuclear Engineer that had worked on the atomic bomb in WW2, and since then, decided that his cars at least will die, as humans do.

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The above is one of Kleve’s junkyards in Cheviot, Ohio during the 70’s.  There were plenty of interesting cars in there, but none were for sale.  They never got better, just worse.  They had to die.

One of the cars in this yard has become the hot topic for the news lately.  The car is now a fully restored red Ferrari 375 Grand Prix car, which had been stolen from Kleve, smuggled out of the country, and sold to a Belgian collector who may have to give up some of the proceeds to some lawyer that bought out Kleve’s interest from his family.

Update: 7/1/14

The Ferrari sold at auction for 16 million, and the proceeds are to be divided between the Belgian and American factions…

Cincinnati.com story…

This is the car being fought over during the 70’s:

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It was well on it’s way to die, however for this car it was not in the cards.  Now there seems to be a German collector who has the same idea.  Cars have to die, or at least rot away with no human attention.  Micheal Froehlich is the guy responsible for the Auto Skulpturen Park in Mettman, Germany. All of his cars in these fields were made when Froehlich was born, around 1950.  I think it’s a race to see who dies first.