The Car for Kings and Potentates
What do Elvis Presley, the Pope, the Sultan of Brunei, Mao Tse-Tung and Idi Amin have in common?
They all owned examples of the Daimler Benz "GROSSER MERCEDES"
A worthy successor to the "GROSSER"- Type 770K, built exclusively for Nazi leaders during the late 1930s, the600 caused an enormous sensation when it was introduced at the 1963 Frankfurt Auto Show. Not since the pre-war days had such a superlative automobile design by a major manufacturer been unveiled to an astonished public. Immediately compared to Bugatti's fabled Royale and the vaunted Rolls Royce Phantom, Mercedes' 600 was truly to become the marque's flagship for decades.
During the 1960s and '70s, the Mercedes600 , most often the Pullman or Landaulet version, was the ubiquitous representation coach for statesmen around the globe, from dictators like Tito and Brezhnev to elected dignitaries like German Kanzler Ludwig Erhard. And you truly needed good-sized state coffers to be able to afford one of these magnificent motorcars; the factory price for a special-order, entirely hand-built 600 was roughly equivalent to that of a very nice single family dwelling!
Mere mortals could only stare and dream at the sight of one of these behemoths, probably trying to guess which celebrity was riding in the back seat behind drawn curtains. Naturally, the mystique created by the preferential use of the "GROSSER MERCEDES" in the field of diplomacy and politics led to a certain demand for the model among ultra-rich private citizens. A grand total of2,677 examples of the model were hand-crafted during the 18 years of production, and Mercedes reportedly lost money on every one of them . . .
Even today, almost two decades after the end of production of the600 , there has not been a successor on the drawing boards of the Mercedes Benz engineering department. With today's money, the attempt to create a car beyond comparison, regardless of cost, would drive the sticker price well into the range of several hundred thousand dollars.
What makes the Mercedes600 so special, you may ask.
Please take a seat and enjoy the ride!
Surprisingly nimble for its size and very quick, the600 sedan is not thought of as a chauffeured limousine. The owner-driver will appreciate its outstanding acceleration, sure-footed braking and superb handling. Getting behind the large, telescoping volant of the 600 can be an exhilarating experience. One really has to drive one of these majestic cars to believe it!
The busy engine compartment with dual alternators, dual brake systems, and compressors for air conditioning and suspension almost hides the heart of the600 : the fabled M-100 engine, which later found its way into the 6.3 and 6.9 sedans, both of which have held records for being the fastest sedans on the planet.
The long-time owner of this600 took care and maintenance of his prized possession rather seriously. Over $30,000 have been spent at Mercedes specialist Peter's Foreign Automotive Service in Van Nuys, Calif. since 1981 to refurbish major components such as engine, differential, suspension, and brakes. Accordingly, the engine compartment presents itself in near show condition with no fluid leaks anywhere. A chronologically ordered file of maintenance receipts is available.
The twin exhaust pipes can be spotted below the rear bumper. This is not a sedate limousine, but a rather sporty sedan! Also visible above is the built-in rear fog light.
The hydraulically operated deck lid opens to reveal a huge trunk compartment. Below the right-hand cover, visible above, reside the rear A/C motor and the gargantuan spare wheel; small box in background holds special tools for the hydraulic system. Remaining space is large enough to transport almost anything. Note original Californiablue -and- yellow license plate. This Mercedes 600 --licensed as a 1967 model--is smog exempt in the State of California.
This Grosser Mercedes was originally owned by Herr Heinrich Bresges, a wealthy West German fabric manufacturer. In 1977, the car was sold to its second owner, who had the car shipped to Southern California. A well-known composer and arranger, he kept the car for the next 23 years and used it primarily on formal occasions. The odometer shows42,377 kilometers (142,377 actual km, which converts to just under 86,500 miles.)
Midnight blue (DB code # 904) is very well-suited for a truly royal car such as the600 .
600's dashboard is a work of art! Extremely attractive burl walnut wood forms not only the instrument nacelles, but has been used lavishly throughout the cabin. The wood is completely original; aside from two minor imperfections, it has withstood the test of time remarkably well. As you can see in these pictures, taken on April 20, 2000, the burl walnut is of an exquisite veining, its warm hue contrasting favorably with the more restrained gray and dark blue colors.
The telescoping steering wheel is huge. You really have to hear the factory horn to believe its ocean-liner-like sound!
The600 is equipped with original 100-series 6½ x 15 steel wheels and correct hubcaps, fitted with superb MICHELIN XH white wall radial tires all around. The tires have about 85% thread; the hubcaps show a few minor marks and some thinning of the plating, but are nonetheless presentable the way they are.
A Mercedes600 is not your average collector car. Values are very hard to establish. Most examples are being offered on the pages of prestigious publications, such as the Robb Report, where prices start around $90,000.
Driving this truly majestic automobile, you are assured special attention, afforded only to the rich and famous. If you want to arrive in style--anytime, anywhere, even at theOscars --you can't top a Mercedes 600 !
The new owner, Hugh, and his son (see photo above) flew in and drove the Grand Mercedes home, 3,800 miles, all the way from Southern California to Halifax, Nova Scotia. What a trip!
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