A newly minted Merc hit the road in 1963, specifically designed to compete with Rolls-Royces and the finest top-of-the-range American limousines. The Mercedes-Benz 600 was a large, luxurious car that was intended to be chauffeur driven, as most models had a powered divider window that separated the driver and passenger compartments.
This awesome car was also meant to illustrate the fact that Mercedes was capable of delivering unbeatable engineering excellence.
Two types of 600 were produced. There were short-wheelbase four-door saloons that came with or without the divider. But the true splendor of this magnificent machine was seen in the long-wheelbase Pullmans. These came in three forms, all with divider. There was a four-door limousine that had two rear-facing seats in addition to the main passenger bench. Secondly there was the six-door limousine, which also had extra seating, and finally ultra-rare landaulets — six-door Pullmans with a convertible rear section designed for ceremonial use by royalty or heads of state in the days before open cars were deemed a potentially lethal security risk.
The 600 was, of course, massive. The sheer size of the car necessitated the use of a huge 6.3 litre V8 power plant that was specially developed. This not only enabled the weighty limo to outperform pretty much everything up to Porsche 911 level, but also supported an array of hydraulic-powered features that included ultra-smooth air suspension (the 600’s body almost touched ground before the engine was started), windows, moveable seats and automatically closed doors and boots.
Although a few 600s continued to be made until the official discontinuation date of 1981, production effectively ended in 1972 when the oil crisis made these thirsty monsters seem a trifle ostentatious and therefore somewhat unfashionable. The 600 was not replaced until the Maybach appeared in the 21st century.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1963 (until 1981)
6,332 cc V8
Top speed of 127 mph (205 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 9.4 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
The Mercedes-Benz 600 naturally appealed to celebrities, with typical owners including the likes of Aristotle Onassis, Hugh Hefner, John Lennon, Elvis Presley and Elizabeth Taylor – but it was also very popular with heads of state in former British colonies who did not wish to be seen in Rolls-Royces for political reasons.