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Icon’s gentlemanly brawler is a supercharged V8-powered muscle car masquerading as a stunning 1971 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.2. The “Derelict” build, as Icon lovingly monikered the lineup where the Mercedes-Benz car lives, is a full-sensory experience; it’s fast, powerful, and beautiful. We caught up with the ground-up custom V8-powered Mercedes-Benz during our visit to Icon 4×4 in Los Angeles, California.

What’s special about Icon 4×4’s custom Mercedes-Benz car?

A 1971 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL is a special car. Anyone who takes one look at the subtle, sophisticated four-door sedan will understand that it’s a magnificent classic. A stock 1971 6.3 from the W109 generation packed a 247-horsepower 6.3L V8. That might seem underwhelming, but it’s a great classic for collectors who want a rare and reasonable luxury sedan with a big motor. 

Icon's custom build Mercedes-Benz 300SEL muscle car packs a Corvette-derived LS9.
The Derelict Mercedes’ LS9 | Braden Carlson, MotorBiscuit

However, Icon 4×4’s custom Mercedes-Benz is anything but a reasonable car. Instead, the custom 1971 300SEL 6.3 ditches the comparably anemic classic Mercedes mill in favor of a supercharged LS9 V8. The LS9 is courtesy of a C6-generation Corvette ZR1, and Jalopnik says it puts down about 470 horsepower in a detuned state compared to the ZR1’s 638 crank-horsepower. Of course, the mighty Corvette heart is more than enough to motivate the Mercedes-Benz with muscle car urgency. 

The Icon Mercedes-Benz 300SEL car build is a Mercedes build with supercharged V8 power.
Icon’s 300SEL build | Braden Carlson, MotorBiscuit

How much does it cost to customize a Mercedes?

The custom Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 is a custom car build that, unsurprisingly, demanded a premium to create. Specifically, Icon’s commissions start at around $450,000. However, it’s plain to see where the money goes; the custom Mercedes-Benz is more than a car with a big heart. The Derelict build demanded modifications like a ladder-frame chassis to handle immense power and torque, a Dana 60 independent rear axle, adjustable coilovers, and a modern steering setup. 

Icon's custom Mercedes-Benz car build is a V8-powered 300SEL.
The Derelict 300SEL’s interior | Braden Carlson, MotorBiscuit

Even though the classic car packed a four-wheel disc brake application, Icon endowed the Derelict build with modern Brembo brakes. Moreover, Icon 4×4 ensured that the custom Mercedes-Benz classic car had delightfully unique components like 3D-printed storage and electronically-backed custom gauges. It makes sense that a car like the custom 300SEL would demand a premium. However, the classic’s appearance is deceiving; patina, custom stock-looking wheels, and subtlety reign supreme. 

What other vehicles did we see at Icon 4×4? 

In addition to Icon 4×4’s muscle car Mercedes-Benz, we got up close and personal with several custom car builds during our visit. For instance, we met a fully custom Toyota FJ Land Cruiser. Our own Braden Carlson got a ride in that Land Cruiser, which didn’t disappoint. Moreover, Icon’s Chief Operating Officer, Sherif Yassa, showed us “where the magic happens,” complete with finished and in-progress projects. 

A Mercedes-Benz 300SEL car is a luxury Mercedes build with muscle car credentials waiting to happen.
Icon’s custom 300SEL | Braden Carlson, MotorBiscuit

Teams build custom vehicles in “pod” style, with different stages of building happening at various stations. Better yet, Yassa assured us that Icon will build, tear down, and rebuild a three-month FJ project with meticulous precision to ensure their work is above reproach. Icon’s operation is nothing short of the magic Yassa described. 

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