A 1971 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL is probably living its ninth cat life with a GM LS9 engine under the hood. It’s now called the 300 SEL Derelict. And that name says it all.

The W109 came into the world to tell quite a story. One about motor racing, because it sent the AMG-made Red Pig on the racetrack. It was that limousine that was too big and too heavy for the sport. Or at least so others thought.

Based in Los Angeles, California, Icon 4×4 reveals not a Red Pig, because where would you find one? But a 1971 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL that now sports a General Motors LS9 power unit. It took them three years to get this beauty ready for action. And hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And it is not just the engine that they worked on. The body looks as if the car has just driven through the factory gate. Time-aged patina exterior paint reminds onlookers about the exclusivity and style of the sedans of the times passed. Chrome finishes make up an elegant contrast and match the one-piece billet aluminum 18-inch wheels signed by EVOD. The car sports Brembo sports brakes.

Icon 4×4 also worked its magic on the interior. They redesigned the center console, but kept the dashboard gauges, though fitting in Redline Gauges-branded custom displays. The Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL still comes with its original Becker Europa stereo, but now it includes a Bluetooth connection port, four Focal 2-way speakers, a dual subwoofer, and an amplifier.

And what hides underneath this retro-modern case? Icon worked on every bit. They set in an Art Morrison frame. They found room for an independent suspension at the rear and mounted an Art Morrison Dana 60 IRS dif. Dual exhaust with hand-built headers from Deeds Performance shows up at the rear.

Even though we mentioned it before in this piece, we saved the best for last. And that is the GM LS9 engine. The 6.2-liter LS9 V8 is donated by a C66 Corvette ZR1. It delivers 638 HP (476 kW) and 604 lb-ft (89 Nm) of torque. It transfers resources via a hand-built GM-source 4L85-E automatic transmission, originally designed for SUVs and trucks.

The model will be on display at the 2022 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Those who want to take it home will have to start negotiations at $450,000.

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Photo credit: Icon 4×4.





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Clarence Choe