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The Mercedes-Benz 600 (W100) is a large ultra-luxury sedan and limousine produced by Mercedes-Benz from 1963 to 1981. The forerunner of the modern Maybach marque, the 600 Grosser Mercedes ("Grand Mercedes") succeeded the Type 300d "Adenauer" as the company's flagship and most expensive model. It was positioned well above the 300-series Mercedes-Benz W112 in price, amenities, and status. Its few competitors included certain models of Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III, Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, Rolls-Royce Phantom V, and Bentley S3.
|Mercedes-Benz 600 (W100)|
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Ultra-luxury car (F)|
|Engine||6.3 L M100 V8|
|Wheelbase||SWB: 3,200 mm (126.0 in) |
LWB: 3,900 mm (150 in)
|Length||SWB: 5,540 mm (218.1 in) |
LWB: 6,240 mm (246 in)
|Width||1,950 mm (76.8 in)|
|Height||SWB: 1,500 mm (59.1 in) |
LWB: 1,510 mm (59 in)
|Curb weight||2,990–3,280 kg (6,590–7,230 lb)|
Generally, the short-wheelbase (SWB) models were designed to be owner-driven, whereas the long-wheelbase (LWB) models, often incorporating a central divider with power window, were intended for chauffeur operation.
The 600 replaced the Mercedes-Benz W189 four-door pillarless phaeton limousine, which was nicknamed the Adenauer after Konrad Adenauer, the first chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, who employed several during his 1949-1963 tenure.
The 600 succeeded the 1961 Mercedes-Benz W112 in using a pneumatic self-levelling suspension, an enhancement of the Mercedes-Benz 300d Adenauer's dashboard activated mechanical torsion bar based system. A version is incorporated in Mercedes' current Active Body Control.
With its demise in 1981, the 600 marked the last ultra-luxury model that the brand produced in an unbroken line since the model 60 hp Simplex from 1903. The company would return to this segment some 20 years later with the Maybach 57/62 (but the Maybach was extremely expensive), but these cars ultimately failed to captivate customers in the same way as their British rivals. As a result, Daimler ended production of the Maybach brand in 2012 and has not returned to this segment. As of 2019[update], the Mercedes flagship is the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, which occupies a considerably lower price bracket and is not a true successor to the 600 and earlier models. However, it is seen as a spiritual successor, since it is the first luxury Mercedes since the 600 to feature some bespoke design touches not available on the standard S-Class.
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 limousines were made as landaulets, with a convertible top over the rear passenger compartment. Two versions of the convertible roof were made: long roof and short roof. Of them, the short roof, which opens only above the last, third row of seats, is the more common version. Rarer, especially with the 6-door landaulets, is the long roof, called the Presidential roof. In all, 59 landaulets were produced, and of them, only 26 were 6-door landaulets. Of these 26, only nine were 6-doors landaulets with the long Presidential-type roof. One of these nine cars was used by the former Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito, and it was sold in 2017 in England, for £2.5 million.
Landaulets like these were also notably used by the German government, as during the 1965 state visit of Queen Elizabeth II. The Vatican, in addition to an elongated Mercedes 300d 4-door landaulet, used for the Pope a specially designed Mercedes 600 4-door landaulet, which now resides at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. Production of the landaulet versions of the 600 ended in 1980.
Mercedes also made two special 600 coupés: one as a gift for retiring long-time Mercedes chief designer Rudolf Uhlenhaut, and the other for Fritz Nallinger, head of the Mercedes research and development centre in the 1950s and 60s.[circular reference] These cars had a wheelbase 22 cm (8.6 inches) shorter than the SWB sedan. A third coupé was much later constructed by 600 experts and restorers Karl Middelhauve & Associates of Wausau, Wisconsin, from a SWB sedan.
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, while other purists think Karl is extending function in the true spirit of the Grosser Mercedes.
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.
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 (224 kW), however, the total usable output was 250 hp (186 kW) as 50 hp (37 kW) 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.
In 1968 the M-100 engine and pneumatic suspension were fitted to the much smaller but still substantial W109 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 and air suspension was replaced with hydropneumatic suspension.
Famous owners of the Mercedes-Benz 600 have included the following people.
Celebrities and tycoonsEdit
- Aristotle Onassis
- Bob Jane
- Coco Chanel
- David Bowie
- Eric Clapton
- Elizabeth Taylor
- Elvis Presley
- Frank Packer
- Florian Schneider
- George Harrison
- Herbert von Karajan
- Hugh Hefner
- John Lennon
- Jay Kay
- Jack Nicholson
- Jay Leno, who had his 600 (a 1972 SWB) fitted with a supercharger by Karl Middelhauve and Associates, making it the only 600 Kompressor in existence
- Jeremy Clarkson, whose 1973 600 was featured in the Top Gear Challenge "Mercedes-Benz 600 vs Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé challenge", when it was pitted against James May's 1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche, eventually winning the challenge.
- Johannes, 11th Prince of Thurn and Taxis
- Karen Carpenter
- Mireille Mathieu
- Pete Townshend owns a six-door version
- Ronnie Wood
- Rowan Atkinson
- Robert Wood Johnson III
- Udo Jürgens
Political leaders and royaltyEdit
- Anastasio Somoza Debayle, President of Nicaragua of Nicaragua bought a SWB for his wife Hope Portocarrero from the first production run.
- Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand
- Chen Yi, former Chinese Foreign Minister
- Daniel Moi
- Deng Xiaoping
- Deng Yingchao, wife of Zhou Enlai, the first Chinese Prime Minister
- Enver Hoxha
- François "Papa Doc" Duvalier
- Francois Tombalbaye
- Ferdinand Marcos, who owned four, including a landaulet, a 1981 bulletproof model and a six-door version
- F. W. de Klerk
- Habib Bourguiba, President of Tunisia
- Hassan II of Morocco, King of Morocco
- Hastings Kamuzu Banda
- Hosni Mubarak
- Idi Amin
- Jim Fouché
- Josip Broz Tito, 1971 Pullman landaulet
- Jean-Bédel Bokassa
- Jean-Claude Duvalier
- John Vorster
- Jomo Kenyatta
- King Khalid of Saudi Arabia
- Kim Il-sung
- Kim Jong-il
- Kim Jong-un; the North Koreans have also owned a landaulet (both seen in the 65th anniversary parade in Pyongyang on October 10, 2010)
- Leonid Brezhnev
- Léopold Sédar Senghor, President of Senegal; the first Senegalese regime (1960–1980) under him had three 600s, a short wheel base, a long wheel base, and a Landaulet, later replaced by the W126-based Carat Limousine.
- Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran and the royal court, who owned multiple 600 models including 3 landaulet models and 18 other for national guard
- King Mohammed VI of Morocco
- Muhammad Zia Ul Haq (12 August 1924 – 17 August 1988) was a Pakistani four-star general who served as the President of Pakistan from 1978 until his death in 1988. Also kept the same 1970 Pullman 600 Grosser as the holder of the Prime Minister Office. This car now has a rich Historic importance for Pakistan.
- Mao Zedong, Chinese revolutionary leader
- Marais Viljoen
- Mobutu Sese Seko, dictator and president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire)
- Nico Diederichs
- Nicolae Ceaușescu
- Norodom Sihanouk, former King of Cambodia
- Omar Bongo President of Gabon.
- The Pope
- Park Chung-hee
- P. W. Botha
- Religious leader Guru Maharaj Ji/Prem Rawat
- Colombian drug dealer Pablo Escobar, a LWB six-door 600, destroyed in an attack on Escobar in 1988 in Medellín.
- Robert Mugabe
- Saddam Hussein, who owned a long-roof landaulet that was recovered after the fall of Baghdad and is today owned by the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles
- Süleyman Demirel, 9th President of Turkey
- Todor Zhivkov Former President of Bulgaria from 1956 to 1989. Used Government owned high-end Benz models from 300D Adenauer to 450 SEL 6.9 for daily routine, and for State visits- 1967 600 Pullman 6-door Landaulet. The 600 Landaulet is still in use today by Bulgarian Government for Special occasions and visits.
- Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (5 January 1928 – 4 April 1979) was a Pakistani politician who served as the 9th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977, and prior to that as the 4th President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973. He was also the founder of the Pakistan People's Party . Kept a 1970 Pullman 600 Grosser in the Prime Minister Office.
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.
The limousine and landaulet versions of the 600 has long been associated with totalitarianism, dictatorships and to a lesser extent Communism due to its use by dictators, military leaders, and Communist leaders during the 1960s and 1970s. This is similar to how its predecessor, the 770, was associated with Axis leaders.
There was also a Pullman version used in the Movie High Anxiety by Mel Brooks.
A red 1972 Pullman was seen in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.
Technical data Mercedes-Benz 600 (W100) (Manufacturer's figures except where stated)
|Engine:||6.3 l V8, front-mounted|
|Bore x Stroke:||103 mm x 95 mm|
|Max. Power @ rpm:||250 PS (184 kW; 247 hp) @ 4000|
|Max. Torque @ rpm:||500 N⋅m (369 lb⋅ft) @ 2800|
|Compression Ratio:||9.00: 1|
|Fuel feed:||Sequential fuel injection, Bosch injection pump|
|Fuel tank capacity:||112 l (29.6 US gal; 24.6 imp gal)|
|Valvetrain:||SOHC, duplex chains|
|Gearbox:||4-speed automatic |
rear wheel drive, axle ratio 3.23:1
|Electrical system:||12 volt|
|Front suspension:||Double wishbones, air suspension, rubber springs, stabilizing bar|
|Rear suspension::||Low-pivot swing axle, radius arms, self-leveling air suspension, rubber springs, stabilizing bar|
|Brakes:||Disc brakes (Ø 291 mm two-caliper front, 294.5 mm rear), power assisted|
|Steering:||Recirculating ball steering, power assisted|
|Body structure:||Sheet steel, unibody construction|
|Dry weight:||2,600 kg (5,732 lb)||2,770 kg (6,107 lb)|
|Loaded weight:||3,050 kg (6,724 lb)||3,340 kg (7,363 lb)|
|1,587 mm (62.5 in) 1,581 mm (62.2 in)|
|Wheelbase:||3,200 mm (126.0 in)||3,900 mm (153.5 in)|
|Length:||5,450 mm (214.6 in)||6,240 mm (245.7 in)|
|Width:||1,950 mm (76.8 in)||1,950 mm (76.8 in)|
|Height:||1,500 mm (59.1 in)||1,510 mm (59.4 in)|
|Tyre/Tire sizes:||9.00H15 Supersport (6PR)|
|Top speed:||204.8 km/h (127.3 mph)||200 km/h (124 mph)|
|Fuel Consumption (estimates):||24.0 litres per 100 kilometres (11.8 mpg‑imp; 9.8 mpg‑US)||26.0 litres per 100 kilometres (10.9 mpg‑imp; 9.0 mpg‑US)|
|DM 56,500 (1964) − DM 144,368 (1979)
|DM 63,500 (1964) − DM 165,760 (1979) |
$ 24,000 (1965)
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mercedes-Benz W100.|
- Mercedes-Benz 600 – historical information at Daimler.com
- The International M-100 Group (with a car registry by serial number)
- Photos of the 1965 papal landaulet at Conceptcarz.com
- Presentation of the 600 SWB at Amelia Island, Florida - video
- Jay Leno's Garage – 1972 Mercedes-Benz 600 - video