We’re never truly surprised when we find a Mercedes-Benz S-Class at a self-service junkyard. Like virtually all of its competitors, Mercedes’ flagship loses value at a speedy pace as it ages and there’s generally a sizable gap of time between when these cars are driven into the ground by an owner with a fuzzy concept of auto maintenance and when they become sought-after collectibles.
We naively assumed (and secretly hoped) that the 450SEL 6.9, Mercedes’ uber-sedan from the 1970s, was immune from the vicious cycle that sets in towards the end of an S’ life, but a walk through a you-pull-it yard in Salt Lake City, Utah, on a chilly November morning proved us wrong.
Although we were skeptical at first and figured we were looking at a Euro-spec S that had been gussied up to look like a 6.9, a glance at the ID plate in the engine bay and at the hydraulic suspension hardware revealed this was the real deal.
When we first found the car, the interior had been partially stripped and it was missing the instrument cluster as well as several window switches. Interestingly, this particular 6.9 was equipped with heated seats which must have been quite a novel feature to have in the late 1970s.
The mighty M100 V8 and its four-speed automatic transmission stayed on the car the entire duration of its stay at the junkyard. It’s difficult to tell what shape the eight-cylinder mill is in without cracking it open but a look at the car tells us it hasn’t exactly been babied, though we think many of the dents on the doors and on the hood came from the junkyard.
It’s hard to overlook the fact that the ignition barrel was recently destroyed. The 6.9 might have spent the last few years of its life parked somewhere with the keys long lost, and the owner might have damaged the ignition in an attempt to unlock the steering wheel in order to move the car and load it onto a flatbed for its final voyage. Pure speculation, but we’ve seen it done before.