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Mercedes Benz 600 - The pinnacle of wealth and luxury

Lizzy Jones Mercedes Benz 600 | carmanualsdirect

The Mercedes-Benz 600 is a unique vehicle that represented the pinnacle of automotive technology in 1963 when it was first introduced. During the 17 years the 600 was manufactured, a total of 2,667 vehicles were built, every one of them individually manufactured and unique.

Mercedes Benz offered the 600 as a saloon with short or long (Pullman) wheel base, 4 or 6 doors and also as a Pullman Landaulet.

Mercedes Benz 600 Short and Long wheel base versions | carmanualsdirect
Mercedes Benz 600 Short and Long wheel base versions

The 600, a technological wonder of its age, came with the highest levels of safety and comfort equipment including shock absorbers that could be adjusted while driving, a dual-circuit braking system with air-pressure power assistance, disc brakes on all wheels, air suspension, power steering, twin alternators, a central locking system as well as an electronically controlled heating and ventilation system. Functions that are usually operated manually such as the doors or the boot lid for example were controlled by a hydraulic system in the 600. Literally kilometres of hydraulic tubing was installed for the windows and seats (front and rear), doors and boot operation merely because Mercedes considered electric motors "noisy"!

The final 600 was completed on the 10th June 1981 and was taken to the Mercedes Benz Museum where it still lives to this day.

Mercedes Benz 600 - the last 600 built | carmanualsdirect
Mercedes Benz 600 - the last 600 built

Every 600 was hand built by 50 German craftsmen over a period of 50 to 90 days. Originally fitted with a 6.3 Litre V8 this was later upgraded to the famous Mercedes 6.9 Litre V8.

Almost every major (and many smaller) governments outside the British Commonwealth purchased at least one 600 but China under the Dictatorship of Chairman Mao apparently had the largest fleet.

Of the 2667 600's built, 2190 were 4 door short wheelbase models. The four door eight-seat Pullman long wheelbase accounted for 304 models while the six-door Pullman long wheelbase had 124 built. There were just 59 of the Landaulets built. There were 586 delivered to German owners over the 17 years the 600 was in production and 2090 exported, one-third of those to the US.

There were a few sold in Australia including a Landaulet purchased by Bob Jane in Melbourne (Famous Australian motor racing driver, motor dealer and tyre retailer). According to Wheels Magazine. he entered it in the 1968 Hardie-Ferodo 500 motor race at Bathust NSW, although the car never arrived to start the race. Possibly the only 600 with any racing heritage!

Mercedes Benz 600 once owned by Bob Jane in Melbourne Australia | carmanualsdirect
Mercedes Benz 600 once owned by Bob Jane in Melbourne Australia 

One second hand 4 door long wheelbase eas imported into New Zealand and then sent to Crayford of UK to be converted to a Landaulet. Mercedes 600 purists look upon this car as a ' fake'. However, the workmanship by Crayford was stunning. The car was advertised on eBay in 2009 for $500,000US.

Mercedes Benz 600 converted to a Landaulet by Crayford UK | carmanualsdirect
Mercedes Benz 600 converted to a Landaulet by Crayford UK. Photo taken in Auckland New Zealand.
Mercedes Benz Workshop Manuals | carmanualsdirect

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