Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman
This ultimate Mercedes-Benz incorporated fuel injection, overhead camshaft engine, air suspension and shock absorbers adjustment, disc brakes on all four wheels, automatic four speed transmission and power steering, central vacuum locking system for the doors and luggage compartment, adjustable steering wheel and two separate heating and ventilating systems. It was a truly a majestic car of the highest order and an honorable descendant of the distinctive Mercedes automobiles of former years.
The ‘Grosser’ Mercedes-Benz 600 was the car of choice for Popes, Potentates, Dictatorial Regimes and of course the ultra wealthy and connected for almost twenty years. The square, uncompromising styling of the 600 has a simplicity that has ensured that it has never gone out of fashion and it therefore looks as modern today as it did in 1963. It was crafted by hand on an as needed basis and was unprecedented by European standards and a high-end large luxury sedan and limousine produced as the company’s flagship and most expensive model built between 1963-81. Its few competitors included Rolls Royce and Bentley and maybe the Cadillac 75 Series Fleetwood. Three production models were listed with a standard 4 door wheelbase, a longer ‘Pullman’ 4 door and the largest incarnation was the ‘Pullman’ 6 door. 59 State ‘Laundelet’ models were built with a fold down rear fabric section for open air exposure for the passengers and division windows to separate the chauffeur from his passengers and which were mainly built for parades and heads of state. Generally, the short-wheel-base (SWB) models were designed to be owner-driven whilst the long-wheel-base (LWB), often incorporating a central divider with power window, by a chauffeur. The first regular Mercedes model to use the massive 6.3 liter V8 was the incredibly fast 300SEL 6.3 sedan of 1968, the fastest production sedan in the world at the time.
The 600 was introduced at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1963 and came in two main variants:
A short wheelbase 4-door sedan limousine with a 126″ wheelbase for 5/6 passengers, available with a power divider window separating the front seats from the rear bench seat, although most were built without this feature.
A long wheelbase 4-door Pullman limousine with 153.5″ wheelbase for 7/8 passengers (with two additional rear-facing seats separated from the driver compartment by a power divider window, of which 304 were built), and a 6-door limousine (with two forward-facing jump-seats at the middle two doors and a rear bench-seat).
The cast iron block overhead camshaft engine with alloy heads with a four speed automatic transmission was designed specifically to be used in the 600 and was intended to provide smooth, effortless operation combined with more performance than any other sedan in the world. The enormously complex chassis featured air suspension and electro-hydraulic controls which help drive the 600’s great size and weight and as it’s numerous hydraulically driven amenities required more power than Mercedes’ largest engine at that time, the 3-litre 6-cylinder could produce, a new V8 with more than twice the capacity was developed, the now legendary 6.3 L M100. It featured SOHC and Bosch mechanical fuel injection. It developed 300HP however the total usable output was more like 250HP as 50HP was used to power the hydraulic convenience system.
The 600’s complex hydraulic pressure system powered the automobile’s windows, seats, sun-roof, boot lid, and automatically closing doors. Adjustable air suspension delivered excellent ride quality and sure handling over any road surface. It is a self leveling system pressurized at 260psi by means of 2 valves, front and rear. There are hard and soft settings and the suspension can be raised up to 2″ for extra ground clearance.
These exclusive cars employed top flight engineering from the world’s best automotive engineers and gained a reputation and following from the world’s elite who required the ultimate luxury and ride in limousines. These are the most imposing Mercedes one can own and have earned a ‘Milestone’ classic car status.
Given it’s 130mph capability, the heavy 600 needed the best brakes in the world and Mercedes therefore fitted four wheel discs that have separate hydraulic circuits front and rear. Each front disc has twin calipers.
As previously stated in 1968 the M-100 engine and hydraulics were fitted to the much smaller but still substantial 300SEL 6.3 creating the world’s fastest four-door sedan. Upon the introduction of the W116 chassis, a larger 6.9 liter version of M-100 was installed in the 450SEL 6.9.
Generally, the short-wheel-base (SWB) models were designed to be owner-driven, the long-wheel-base (LWB), often incorporating a central divider with power window, by a chauffeur.
The forerunner of the modern Maybach marque, the 600 “Grosser Mercedes” (“Grand Mercedes”) succeeded the Type 300 “Adenauer” as the company’s flagship and most expensive model.
Positioned well above the 300-series Mercedes-Benz W112.
Its competitors included certain models of:
Rolls-Royce and Bentley
The Cadillac Fleetwood 75
Lincoln Continental Lehmann-Peterson
Chrysler Imperial Crown Ghia.
The 600 was the last super-luxury model the brand produced in an unbroken line with its demise in 1981 since the model 60 hp Simplex from 1903.
The company would return to this segment some 20 years later with the Maybach 57/62
These cars ultimately failed to captivate customers in the same way as their British rivals therefore Daimler axed the Maybach brand in 2012 and would not return to this segment.
The current Mercedes flagship is the Mercedes-Maybach S Class, which occupies a considerably lower price bracket and is not a successor to the 600 Grand and earlier models, however it is seen as a spiritual successor as it is the first luxury Mercedes since the 600 to feature some bespoke design touches not available on the standard S Class.
Production began in 1964 and continued through to 1981.
The production totalled 2,677 units
124 6-door Pullmans
The 600 came in two main variants:
A short wheelbase 4-door sedan, available with a power divider window separating the front seats from the rear bench seat, although most were built without this feature.
A long wheelbase 4-door Pullman limousine (with two additional rear-facing seats separated from the driver compartment by a power divider window, of which 304 were built), and a 6-door limousine (with two forward-facing jump-seats at the middle two doors and a rear bench-seat)
A number of the Pullman limousines were made as landaulets, with a convertible top over the rear passenger compartment. They were used by the Pope and the German government, as during the 1965 state visit of Queen Elizabeth II. Production of this model ended in 1980.
Mercedes also made two coupés
For retiring long-time Mercedes chief designer Dr. Rudolf Uhlenhaut,
The other to one Dr. Fritz Nallinger.
Karl Middelhauve has also created a pair of matching Chevrolet El Camino-style coupes from 600 SWB sedans. One of them has a Vortech supercharger.
A single example of a SWB 4-door landaulet was built by Mercedes in 1967 for former racing driver Count von Berckheim.
The 600’s great size, weight, and numerous hydraulically driven amenities required more power than Mercedes’ largest engine at that time, the 3-litre 6-cylinder M189, could produce.
A new V8 with more than twice the capacity was developed, the 6.3 L M100. I
Single overhead camshafts
Bosch mechanical fuel injection
It developed 300 Hp, however the total usable output was 250 Hp as 50 Hp was used to power the hydraulic convenience system.
The 600’s complex 150-bar (2,176 psi) hydraulic pressure system powered the:
Automatically closing doors
Adjustable air suspension
In 1967 the M-100 engine and hydraulics were fitted to the much smaller but still substantial 300SEL 6.3, creating the world’s fastest four-door sedan.
Upon the introduction of the W116 chassis, a larger 6.9 liter version of M-100 was installed in the Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9.
Notable owners included The Pope, Coco Chanel, Elizabeth Taylor, John Lennon, George Harrision, Aristotle Onassis, Jay Leno and Elvis Presley. Notable heads of state included King Khalid Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, Park Chung-hee, Josip Broz Tito (1971 Pullman Landaulet), Nicolae Ceau?escu and Pol Pot.
In cinema the Mercedes 600 was featured in the James Bond films, most notably as transport of the villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Diamonds Are Forever.
Kamal Khan is also seen leaving Sotheby’s in a 600 in Octopussy.
In television, a Mercedes Benz 600 limousine was used by fictional Channing/Gioberti family matriarch Angela Channing in the American television series Falcon Crest. Images of the car driving from San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge to the Falcon Crest vineyard were featured in the opening credits of the first four seasons.
In popular political context, the 600 has long been associated with totalitarianism, dictatorships and to a lesser extent Communism due to its reputation among dictators, authoritarian, and socialist/Communist leaders in the late 1960s, which itself similar to how its predecessor, the 770 are associated with Axis leaders.
The 600 was produced between 1963 and 1981 with a front mounted 6.3 L V8 Engine. It had maximum power of 250 PS. It had a sequential fuel injection with a Bosch injection pump with a 112 L fuel tank capacity and a 4 speed automatic gearbox with a rear wheel drive and an axle ratio of 3:23:1.
The front suspension had:
Its Rear suspension had:
Low-pivot swing axle
Self-leveling air suspension
It had disc brakes (Ø 291 mm two-caliper front, 294.5 mm rear) which were power assisted
It had Recirculating ball steering which again were power assisted
The 600 was made of Sheet steel and was a unibody construction
It’s dry weight was 2,600 kg (5,700 lb) and 2,770 kg (6,110 lb) with a Loaded weight of 3,050 kg (6,720 lb) 3,340 kg (7,360 lb)
Its Wheelbase was 3,200 mm (130 in) 3,900 mm (150 in) and it’s Length was 5,450 mm (215 in) 6,240 mm (246 in) with a width of 1,950 mm (77 in) 1,950 mm (77 in) and a height of 1,500 mm (59 in) 1,510 mm (59 in)
The Tire sizes were 9.00H15 Supersport (6PR)
It had a top speed of 127.3 mph and 120 mph with a Fuel Consumption of 24.0 litres per 100 kilometres or 26.0 litres per 100 kilometres
USA: DM 56,500 (1964)
DM 144,100 (1978)
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