The 1971 Mercedes 300 SEL was, conceptually, a German take on a muscle car. The formula being to fit as many cylinders and as much displacement under the hood as possible, for the money. Yet, the car remained extremely luxurious. Something like a modern day Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing. But good luck maintaining one of these old imports under budget. This is where Jonathan Ward, founder of Icon 4×4 and one to have fuse many an old school import with reliable American machinery, must have gotten the idea to drop a 6.2-liter LS9 V8 into one of these old Mercs. This is the very same supercharged V8 that was in the legendary C6 Corvette ZR1. But to all those around, it’s just an old Mercedes on the road. Little do they know it’s got some pep in its step. That’s the ethos of the Icon Derelict series.
If you’re at the 2022 SEMA Show, you can find the car in the Optima Batteries booth.
Icon 4×4 Derelict Mercedes 300: Details
The Icon 4×4 1971 Mercedes 300 SEL started with a powder-coated Art Morrison chassis sprung with coilovers at all four corners and an independent rear suspension. Following that, a 6.2-liter LS9 was tucked well back in the bulkead, putting an unknown chunk of power through a rebuilt 4L85E four-speed transmission. New rack-and-pinion steering makes maneuvering easier, and Hydratech-assisted Brembo brakes keep the car on a leash. Of course, we can’t forget to mention the one-piece machined aluminum EVOD wheels.
The car also features new wiring and plumbing throughout that ensures the upgrades communicate with one another clearly. The classic interior looks like it came fresh from a showroom floor. It also hides a modern HVAC system and heated front seats, and modern audio with four Focal two-way speakers, a sub and amp, and Bluetooth connectivity. In proper Icon 4×4 Derelict fashion, the sheet metal wears its age, accented with touches of stainless steel and chrome.
The first entry into the Icon 4×4 Derelict series debuted 11 years ago with a 1952 Chevrolet Deluxe Business Coupe, at the 2011 SEMA Show. But under the worn skin came goods that gave it a new life like a brand new 6.2-liter LS3 V8, six-piston antilock brakes, alligator and buffalo hides for the bench seats, and one-piece CNC-machined wheels. It’s a winning formula evident with the newest addition to the Derelict series.