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The Mercedes-Benz 600 was a high-end large luxury sedan and limousine produced by Mercedes-Benz from 1963 to 1981. 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.

  • Mercedes-Benz W100
  • 600
Mercedes-Benz 600 vl silver TCE.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Mercedes-Benz
Also called
  • Grand Mercedes
  • Der Große Mercedes
Production
  • 1963–1981
  • 2,677 built[1]
  • SWB: 2,190
  • LWB: 428
  • Landaulet: 59
Designer
Body and chassis
Class Full-size luxury car
Body style
Layout FR layout
Powertrain
Engine 6.3 L M100 V8
Chronology
Predecessor
Successor
600 Pullman in Mercedes Museum, formerly transporting guests of the German Government
Mercedes 600 Landaulet
600 in Museum Sinsheim, sitting low until the air compressor re-supplies pressure to the suspension

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 few competitors included certain models of Rolls-Royce and Bentley, the Cadillac Fleetwood 75, stretched Lincoln Continental Lehmann-Peterson, and the Chrysler Imperial Crown Ghia.

The 600 marked 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.[2] The company would return to this segment some 20 years later with the Maybach 57/62, however 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.

Contents

HistoryEdit

Production began in 1964 and continued through to 1981.[3] During this time, production totalled 2,677 units, comprising 2,190 Saloons, 304 Pullmans, 124 6-door Pullmans and 59 Landaulets.[3]

ModelsEdit

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. These were notably 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, one as a gift for retiring long-time Mercedes chief designer Dr. Rudolf Uhlenhaut, and the other to one Dr. Fritz Nallinger. These cars had a wheelbase 22 cm (8.6 inches) shorter than the SWB sedan.[citation needed] A third was much later constructed by 600 experts and restorers Karl Middelhauve & Associates of Wausau, Wisconsin from a SWB sedan.[4]

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. Some purists question the reason for modifying a classic such as an original 600 into a modified vehicle.

A single example of a SWB 4-door landaulet, combining the handling of a short-wheelbase with the qualities of a landaulet, was built by Mercedes in 1967 for former racing driver Count von Berckheim.

MechanicalEdit

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. It featured single overhead camshafts (SOHC) and 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 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.[5]

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 ownersEdit

Famous owners of the Mercedes-Benz 600 have included the following people.

Celebrities and tycoonsEdit

Political leaders and royaltyEdit

all used the 600.[12] The first Senegalese regime (1960–1980) under president Léopold Sédar Senghor had three 600s, a short wheel base, a long wheel base, and a Landaulet, later replaced by the W126-based Carat Limousine.[citation needed]

The first President of Indonesia, Soekarno, also owned the 600 SWB.

President Anastasio Somoza Debayle of Nicaragua bought a SWB for his wife Hope Portocarrero from the very first production run.

Religious leader Guru Maharaj Ji owned one, as did Colombian drug dealer Pablo Escobar, a LWB six-door 600.[citation needed] destroyed in an attack on Escobar in 1988 in Medellín.[citation needed]

In popular cultureEdit

In cinema, the Mercedes 600 was featured in several James Bond films, most notably as transport of the villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Diamonds Are Forever. In Octopussy, the villain Kamal Khan is seen leaving Sotheby's London auction house in a 600 Pullman.

In television, a 600 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. It was also prominently featured in the television show Friday the 13th.

In popular political context, the 600 has long been associated with totalitarianism, dictatorships and to a lesser extent Communism due to its use by dictators, authoritarian rulers, and Communist/socialist leaders during the 1960s and 1970s. This is similar to how its predecessor, the 770, was associated with Axis leaders.

Technical dataEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Oswald, Werner (2001). Deutsche Autos 1945-1990, volume 5 (in German). Motorbuch Verlag. p. 54. ISBN 3-613-02131-5. 
  2. ^ "Mercedes-Benz S-Class.". mercedes-benz.com. 2014-12-17. Retrieved 2017-05-20. 
  3. ^ a b "Mercedes-Benz 600 ‘Super Mercedes’ (W 100), 1964 up to 1981". media.daimler.com. Retrieved 30 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "De legendarische Mercedes-Benz 600 (W100) aka Grosser is natuurlijk bij iedereen bekend, maar wist je ook dat er naast de reguliere variant, Pullman en Landaulet ook nog een 2-deurs Coupé bestond?". Autoblog.nl (in Dutch). 21 February 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  5. ^ Werminghausen, Martin (11 February 2014). "Mercedes Air Suspension" (PDF). Mercedes Air Suspension Solutions. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  6. ^ Pattni, Vijay (2 January 2009). "Jay Kay's multi-million pound car collection". Autotrader. Archived from the original on 2 May 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012. Jay's Merc 600 boasts a history as impressive as the car’s looks – it was previously owned by none other than Coco Chanel 
  7. ^ Clarkson, Jeremy (13 January 2008). "Mazda MX-5: It’s far too cool for you, Mr Footballer". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  8. ^ Top Gear: Grosser vs. Corniche old car challenge part 1 - Top Gear - BBC & Top Gear: Grosser vs. Corniche old car challenge part 2 - Top Gear - BBC Uploaded by TopGear on 28 August 2009
  9. ^ "Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman 1967". Classic Cars For Sale. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  10. ^ "Kim Jong-un 'Loves Nukes, Computer Games and Johnny Walker'". The Chosun Ilbo (English ed.). 20 December 2010. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  11. ^ Stewart, Ben (8 April 2013). "10 Strange and Notorious Cars From the Petersen Museum Vault". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  12. ^ 诗香雅韵 (29 July 2007). "二十世纪豪车极品-奔驰600系列". 
  13. ^ Oswald, Werner (2001). Deutsche Autos 1945-1990, Band 4 (in German). Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 3-613-02131-5. 
  14. ^ Covello, Mike (2002). Standard Catalog of Imported Cars 1946-2002. Iola: Krause Publication. p. 533. ISBN 0-87341-605-8. 

External linksEdit