Tired 1969 W108 280S Metamorphoses Into Wicked Classic Rally Car

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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.

1971 300SEL 6.8 "Red Pig" at 24 Hours of Spa Franchorchamps

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.

1968 W108 300SEL 6.3 Sedan

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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Ever since picking up his first MicroMachine, Chris Chin knew automobiles were his greatest passion. Since his first car, a 1994 W124 E320 Coupe and later, a 1975 W116 280S, Chris taught himself everything he knows about automobiles and later learned of his obsession for classic Silver Arrows.

From learning how to wrench on them, to being the stereotypical “walking car encyclopedia,” Chris later figured out he could indulge in his passions through writing and photography, eventually earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism & Media Studies at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. His efforts led him to manage several automotive news sites such as FastLaneDaily and DigitalTrend's Car section while producing for sites like Hagerty. He currently maintains a column at Automobile Magazine. Chris hopes to further indulge in his passion for old Mercedes-Benzes with one of his life-long favorite communities, MBWorld.

Chris can be reached at [email protected] You can also follow his automotive adventures on Instagram @SirChrisChin.

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