Our Cars: Joe Niemer’s 1969 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3


Whirlwind Romance: Snap decision lands classic Mercedes

Joe Niemer wasn’t always a classic car enthusiast, but it didn’t take him long to become one. After joining Hagerty two years ago, Joe saw a video of co-worker Brad Phillips driving a 1969 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3, and he fell in love with the car. While Phillips no longer owned the Benz, he knew who did. And he also knew that the current owner was looking to sell. That’s all that Joe needed to hear. “I kind of bought it on the spot,” he said. “Telling my wife about this spontaneous purchase was another story.”

Title: Vice President of Digital Commerce

Years at Hagerty: 2

Car: 1969 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3

Why a 300 SEL 6.3? I’ve always liked large, European performance sedans. My dad once owned a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 240D. I knew that I couldn’t really afford a convertible in any year, make or model, so I focused on cool-looking hard tops. I didn’t want a muscle car in my garage, but the 6.3 is essentially a luxury muscle car. It’s fast, powerful and classy. I like that huge grille. My family of four fits in the car very nicely, and my girls love it.

Repairs and modifications (planned or completed): I’ve had a number of repairs (nothing major) to clean out the fuel injection system. I also recently had the power windows fixed. I am not much of a mechanic or car guy but I do know how to change spark plugs now.

Favorite Drive: I like driving the car on M-72 (in northwest Michigan), largely because there is more open space to really push the engine. It’s truly impressive how fast and powerful the engine is and how smooth the ride is. The quick acceleration really makes you feel like a man.

Best Moment: The best moment was this past summer when some downstate members of our wine club came up for some vineyard hopping. I was the designated driver and had a lot of fun driving them around to the wineries on Old Mission Peninsula (on Grand Traverse Bay, off Lake Michigan). We had a great day and our guests really enjoyed the car.

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