Mercedes-Benz 600

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Mercedes-Benz W100
Mercedes-Benz 600 vl silver TCE.jpg
2,677 built[1]
SWB: 2,190
LWB: 428
Landaulet: 59
PredecessorMercedes-Benz W112
SuccessorMaybach 57 and 62
ClassFull-size limousine
ManualService Manual
600 Pullman in Mercedes Museum, formerly transporting guests of the German Government
600 Pullman Landaulet (model)
600 in Museum Sinsheim, sitting low until the engine re-supplies the air suspension
Side view 600
See also Mercedes-Benz 600 (disambiguation) for other models called "600"

The Mercedes-Benz 600 was a large luxury automobile, intended to represent the absolute pinnacle of automotive engineering. When introduced in September, 1963, it had few competitors, except Rolls-Royce and some US-made limousines. It was intended to be driven primarily by a chauffeur, not the owner, thus a power divider window separating the front seats from the rear bench seat was available.

Production began in 1964 after considerable ramp-up, with most styles built through 1972. The oil crisis, as well as the introduction of new range of S-Class models, slowed demand. Modest production continued to 1981, however. During this time, 2,677 vehicles were made.

The 600 featured many luxuries, including a complex hydraulic system which powered everything with a pressure of 150 bar, from the windows and seats to the automatically closing doors and boot.


Apart from governments and the Pope, famous owners of the 600 include celebrities such as Coco Chanel, Hugh Hefner, Elizabeth Taylor, Abdallah Ibdah, John Lennon, Hanif K-Pooya, Jason Kay, Aristotle Onassis, Jack Nicholson, Hirohito, Simon Spies, Bob Jane, Elvis Presley, Rowan Atkinson and Jeremy Clarkson[2], Communist leaders include Nicolae Ceauşescu, Josip Broz-Tito, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, Pol Pot, Enver Hoxha, Leonid Brezhnev,[3], Kim Il-sung and religious leader Guru Maharaj Ji. African revolutionaries Idi Amin Dada,Jomo Kenyatta and the former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos had four 600s including a Landaulet[clarification needed], a 1981 bulletproof and a six-door version. Many leaders and revolutionaries have opted for Mercedes-Benz as opposed to Rolls-Royce due to the latter marque's close association with the British Empire.


The model came in two main variants:

  • short wheelbase
    • 4-door sedan, similar to a modern S600 sedan in layout.
    • 4-door sedan, but with a power divider window separating the front seats from the rear bench seat.
  • long wheelbase chassis Pullman
    • 4-door limousine, featuring additional two rear-facing seats behind the driver compartment which was separated by a power divider window (in all but three built)
    • 6-door limousine, with two forward facing jump seats stationed at the additional middle two doors and a rear bench seat.
  • A few of the limousines were made with a convertible top over the rear passenger compartment and were called landaulets. This was mainly intended for government use, by the Pope, or by the German government, e.g. in 1965 during the visit of Queen Elizabeth II, when she was accompanied by Kurt Georg Kiesinger in open-top tour in Baden-Württemberg. Production of this model ended a year early, in 1971.

Mercedes made two coupés, one of them as a gift for Dr. Rudolf Uhlenhaut when he retired. He had designed the car, together with Fritz Nallinger and Karl Wilfert. A third coupe was constructed from a 600 SWB by Karl Middelhauve and associates.

Some companies altered the car, according to wishes of customers. A funeral coach (hearse) was made from an SWB car. This car, and the two coupés mentioned above, survive to the present day in the United States.


The 600 was so heavy that the largest engine of Mercedes at that time, the 6-cylinder 300, was inadequate. Instead a new engine with more than twice the capacity was specially developed to move the vehicle and its hydraulically powered amenities, the massive 6.3L V8 "M100" engine with single overhead camshafts, dry sump and Bosch mechanical fuel injection. Adjustable air suspension gave the car a smooth ride and good handling over any road surface. Although the car's agility was inevitably compromised by its mass, the top end speed still was only equalled by the new Porsche 911.

Produced from 1964 to until 1981 in low numbers, this model had no equal in the Mercedes-Benz lineup until the introduction of the modern Maybach 57 and 62 models in 2002.

The 600's "M-100" engine and air suspension were fitted to the 300SEL 6.3 model in 1968, providing the lighter (and more affordable) car with more competent propulsion. Upon the introduction of the "W116" chassis, a larger version of the M-100 was installed in the limited-production Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9.

Technical data


The model was featured in the film Trading Places, while the 600 Pullman was featured in the film Dragnet.

Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson's Green 600 Grosse was shown during Episode 5 of Series 11, when it was routinely referred to as "the Mercedes Big". The 600 was a 2007 Christmas present from his wife, Francie[2].

The vehicle appeared in a scene in the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service. In the scene, Bond's wife, Teresa "Tracy" Di Vicenzo Bond is shot to death by Ernst Stavro Blofeld's henchwoman Irma Bunt (both the latter two were in the vehicle, the former at the wheel). Furthermore, the 600 model in black was used throughout the Friday the 13th: The Series TV Show circa 1987-1990.`


  1. Werner Oswald: Deutsche Autos 1945-1990, vol.5. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-613-02131-5, p. 54.
  2. 2.0 2.1 J Clarkson (January 13, 2008). "Mazda MX-5: It’s far too cool for you, Mr Footballer". The Sunday Times. Retrieved on 13 January 2008. 
  3. Oliver Bilger (31 January 2008). "Mercedes 600: Dahingleiten wie Breschnew". Spiegel Online.,1518,532258,00.html. 
  4. Oswald, Werner (1. Auflage 2001). Deutsche Autos 1945-1990, Band 4. Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 3-613-02131-5. 
  5. US prices: Mike Covello: Standard Catalog of Imported Cars 1946-2002, Krause Publication, Iola 2002, ISBN 0-87341-605-8, p. 533

External links