Tired 1969 W108 280S Metamorphoses Into Wicked Classic Rally Car
CarThrottle and Mercedes-Benz team up to restore and race a 50-year-old S-Class, celebrating 120 years of motorsports history.
Our beloved Silver Arrows might be known for plush comfort and opulence. But Mercedes-Benz has just as much of a reputation competing in motorsports as it does producing some of Europe’s finest luxury cars.
For 2019, the company celebrates its 120th year in motorsports. To pay tribute to this tradition, CarThrottle’s Alex teamed up with Mercedes-Benz themselves for their latest undertaking: “Project Retro Rally.” The plan of action is not only to re-inject some life into a late-1960s W108 body car, but to usher in some of the W108’s former racing glory.
Since Daimler’s earliest days, Mercedes-Benz engineers always pushed beyond the outside of the envelope, often exemplifying its excellence in automotive technology through superiority in motorsports. Whether making the world’s fastest production vehicles or enduring the challenging Mille Miglia: racing and competition is undoubtedly apart of Mercedes’ bloodline.
The W108 might be the last unofficial S-Class generation prior to the W116 in 1972. But the W108 is the star (no pun intended) platform for the legendary “Red Pig,” the motorsports version of Erich Waxenberger’s lovechild, the 300SEL 6.3. The Red Pig is known for its participation in the 24 Hours of Spa in 1971, a world-renowned endurance race known more for compact sports racers, rather than giant luxo-barges with monstrous engines shoehorned under its hood. And the significance of the 300SEL 6.3 goes even further, acting as a precursor and template for nearly every big and fast AMG sedan today.
The team isn’t just restoring the vehicle, but they’re also modifying it so that it can participate in this year’s annual AvD-Histo-Monte. Set in the same stretch of road of the historic Monte Carlo Rally, AvD-Histo-Monte pays tribute to the original winter stages between Frankfurt, Germany, and Monaco, France.
The model in question is a 1969 280S with a very rare four-speed manual that is in surprisingly clean shape, if not a tad-bit tired simply from age. The project, stretched out of over the course of six weeks, will be chronicled through this video series, which starts with the first episode above.
Give it a good watch. It’s going to be epic.
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