The Mercedes-Benz W108 and W109 are luxury cars produced by Mercedes-Benz from 1965 through to 1972 and 1973 in North America only. The line was an update of the predecessor W111 and W112 fintail sedans. The cars were successful in West Germany and in export markets including North America and Southeast Asia. During the seven-year run, a total of 383,361 units were manufactured.
Since the W108 and W109 were only available as 4-door models, similarly squarish 2-door W111 and W112 coupés and cabriolets filled those niches and are frequently mistaken for them. The car's predecessors, the Mercedes-Benz W111 (1959–71) and W112 (1961–67), helped Mercedes-Benz develop greater sales and achieve economy of scale production, reducing both manufacture time and cost. Throughout the 1950s, Mercedes-Benz had been producing the coachwork 300 S and 300 SL and all but hand-built 300 Adenauers alongside conveyor assembled Pontons (190, 190 SL and 220) etc. Unifying the entire Mercedes-Benz range into the fintail (German: Heckflosse) reduced production onto a single automobile platform.
However, fashion trends in the early 1960s changed rapidly. By the time the Paul Bracq-designed 2-door coupé and cabriolet W111s were launched, the predecessor W111 sedan's fins lost their chrome trim and sharp appearance. The arrival of the W113 'Pagoda' coupé and cabriolet in 1963 saw them further buried into the trunk's contour. Finally, they disappeared completely on the W100 600 in 1963.
The evolution of the W111 began under the leadership of Bracq in 1961 and ended in 1963. Although the fins' departure was the most visible change, the W108 had a lower body waist line and increased glass area - the windscreen alone was 17% larger than W111's - prominent enough to be referred to as a "greenhouse". The cars had a 60 mm lower ride and 15 mm wider doors. The result was a visibly newer-looking, sleeker car with an open and spacious interior.
In 1966 company engineer Erich Waxenberger transplanted a massive 6.3 L Mercedes-Benz M100 V8 from the company's flagship 600 (W100) into a W109 chassis, creating the first Q-car from Mercedes-Benz. Full-scale production of 300 SEL 6.3 began in December 1967. 300 SEL 6.3 could reach 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.5 seconds and the top speed of 220 km/h (137 mph), making it the quickest production sedan, a title it held for many years.
Following the strong reception of limited production V8-powered 300 SEL 6.3 in 1967, Mercedes-Benz offered the all-new 3.5-litre M116 V8 engine with new Bosch D-Jetronic electronic fuel injection in 1969. The V8 engine would move W108/W109 further upmarket in many export markets and allow them to be more competitive in the United States where many passenger vehicles, especially the American luxury marques, were fitted with V8 engines. The new 147 kW (200 PS; 197 bhp) V8 engine was first fitted to W109 in August 1969 as 300 SEL 3.5 then to W108 in July 1970 as 280 SE 3.5 and 280 SEL 3.5.
The 3.5-litre V8 engine was bored out to 4,520 cc (4.5 litres) as to compensate for the loss of power following the changes in emission control regulations and due to lower fuel octane rating in the United States. The larger V8 engine was designated as M117 and had the same output figures as 3.5-litre V8 engine. It was initially exclusive for the United States from 1971 to 1973 until the introduction of 450 SE/450 SEL (W116) which went on sale worldwide in September 1972 along with 450 SL (R107) and 450 SLC (C107). 280 SE 4.5/280 SEL 4.5 and 300 SEL 4.5 were introduced in the spring of 1971.
This very nice example is ready for the road having had a lot of recent mechancial work performed by a noted local European Restoration Shop, full records and recipts are available. New Factory correct MB Tex Seat covers were also installed. The car starts right up runs perfectly, shifts well, stops well, and really needs nothing to be driven cross country today. The AC blows nice and cold. The paint is in excellent condtion as is the Chrome and, and of course the interior is luxurious with lovely wood trim and perfect upholstry. The car is accompanied by a full complement of factory tools. If you have been looking for a classy 60's Mercedes Sedan, here is your car!