1971 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL Gets New V8 Engine from GM

Giancarlo Perlas October 30, 2022

More than a decade since the Derelict Series of Icon 4×4 broke out in the automotive scene, it continues its tradition of restomodding cars, and the latest to come out of the program is the 1971 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL with a modern V8 engine from General Motors.

The new Derelict Mercedes is a meeting of the best minds in German and American car engineering. It features a 300 SEL restored to its almost pristine condition complete with its original wabi-sabi finish. It should be noted though that it’s now fitted with stainless steel and chrome inserts in place of the sheet metal originally used in the car which tends to quickly wear with age. In addition, the car takes some new LED lighting and custom one-piece billet aluminum wheels from EVOD Industries to amplify its style.

The interior remains mostly faithful to the original 70s specs of the car, too. It retains its original detailing for the upholstery with wood trims. However, it does benefit from modern-day amenities such as a new heating system in the seats, a new HVAC system, and a couple of new tech integrated with its original sound system, including Bluetooth connectivity, amplifier, Focal two-way speakers, and twin-subwoofers.

Under the hood, Icon takes liberty with some performance upgrades by replacing the stock 6.3 engine of the Merc with the 6.2-liter supercharged V8, also known as the LS9 engine, from GM’s LS family of crate power units. This is partnered with Chevrolet’s 4L85E four-speed automatic transmission. The LS9 engine typically tops at 629 hp but the specialist has cut it down to 470 hp for this specific application to preserve the integrity of the vehicle.

The LS9 is one of only a few GM engines that are hand-assembled. It is part of GM’s fourth-generation V8 small block engine family and is known for being the automaker’s most powerful production engine. It was originally designed for Corvette’s flagship sixth-generation ZR1.

Overall, the restomod project entailed more than three years of work and hundreds of thousands of dollars for the parts and labor. The Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL Derelict package is only available through a special commission with prices starting at $450,000. Those who wish to witness the product in the flesh can catch it at the SEMA 2022 running from November 1 to 4 in Las Vegas.

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About Author

Giancarlo Perlas

Giancarlo is an economist by profession with a career spanning nearly two decades. His professional journey has seen him assume vital roles in various government and private organizations. Alongside his civic and corporate pursuits though is his love for cars, particularly those made by Mercedes-Benz. In 2012, he found himself with like-minded individuals within BenzInsider. From then on, he used the platform as a way to share his passion with the automotive community. Follow his Facebook page at, X (formerly Twitter) @giancarloperlas, and IG @benzinsider. View all posts by Giancarlo Perlas →

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