NICE 450SE BENZ, GREAT PAINT, EXCELLENT INTERIOR, TONS OF OPTIONS
After five or six decades of awesomeness, I think it's safe to say that the Mercedes-Benz S-class might be the world's finest motorcar. Take this 1973 450 SE for example. They were not common on US shores, but those who ponied up for the German import were treated to the world's most sophisticated engineering and impressive performance in an era where most automakers just figured luxury equaled big, soft, and shiny.
This 'Benz definitely looks imposing, despite the fact that the styling is restrained and there's not an over-abundance of chrome add-ons. Designed when engineers still ruled the company, their mission was simply to build the world's finest car, period. As a result, the crisply rendered sheetmetal was tautly stretched over the bodywork like an athlete's, but the proportions were big enough to impart an air of superiority. The medium blue is formal but not ordinary, so this big sedan will definitely stand out among its peers. As you'd expect, build quality is exceptionally good, with four doors that practically created entire departments at other automakers, where they tried to duplicate the solid sound and feel. This car cost roughly twice what a Cadillac DeVille did in 1973, and for that princely sum, you received impressive paint that was rubbed and buffed before leaving the factory, and being a 1973 model, the Feds had not yet gotten around to demanding that they ugly-up the bumpers. The chrome that is on the car, most notably the grille, is in very good condition and the soft rubber parts surrounding most of the stainless trim remain supple.
The bright, airy tan interior is anchored by a pair of supportive, firm front buckets that have the enthusiast driver in mind. The Europeans never did embrace bench seats and pillow-tufted upholstery, instead sticking to no-nonsense leather with Mercedes-Benz's typical textured surfaces that helped keep passengers cool. The big steering wheel feels substantial in your hands and you feel special when you slide behind it and key up the V8 engine. Instrumentation is basic, simple, and to the point without unnecessary frills, although the lovely strip of light-colored wood (it's real, by the way) brightens up the otherwise somber interior. Mercedes' famous gated shifter encourages manual operation, and the controls are logically arranged, if not clearly marked, but everything becomes easy with familiarity. Power windows, an electric sun roof, A/C, and a later AM/FM/cassette stereo are all expected in a car in this class.
The engine is the 4.5 liter SOHC V8 that was a mainstay of most Mercedes-Benz automobiles throughout the '70s and early '80s. Smooth, torquey, and perhaps the most reliable machine to ever roll out of Stuttgart, it remains a first-class way to travel, even 40 years later. The engine bay is quite tidy and shows signs of regular maintenance, which is critical on high-end European cars like this; do it right and they'll last forever. The 3-speed automatic transmission is a bit sluggish by modern standards, but that's intentional to enhance the luxury feel. The fully independent suspension and 4-wheel disc brakes are quite competent should you wish to hustle your big S-class, and with reasonably wide 215/75/14 radials framing original color-matched hubcaps, it rides beautifully.
Big, handsome, and relatively rare, this 450 SE proves once again that Mercedes-Benz automobiles are engineered like no other car on earth. Call today!
- AM/FM Radio
- Air Conditioning
- Cassette Player
- Cruise Control
- Fuel Injection
- Leather Seats
- Numbers Matching
- Power Brakes
- Power Steering
- Power Windows
- Rear Defogger
- Owner's Manual
- Maintenance Records
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