17 June 2000
1968 MERCEDES-BENZ 600 SWB LIMOUSINE
Chassis No. 10001212000941
Dark blue with tan leather interior
Engine: V8, single overhead camshaft per bank, fuel-injected, 6,332cc, 159bhp; Gearbox: four-speed automatic; Suspension: self-leveling air-independent; Brakes: servo-assisted twin circuit disc. Left hand drive.
The 600, introduced in early 1964 and bearing a close family relationship to its smaller sister cars, was a true successor to the pre-war Grosser Mercedes. It had one of the company's largest post-war car engines and a highly sophisticated air suspension system. The model remained in production until 1981 and accounted for sales of only 2,667 cars. Not only did it cost substantially more than a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III in Britain, but it was also the most exclusive post-war Mercedes built.
The 600 was capable of 125mph with a 0-60 acceleration in 9.2 seconds, a remarkable figure when a curb weight of 2.5 tons is taken into account. These lavish cars had an ingenious hydraulic system running at 300psi to provide for power windows, sun roof, seat adjustment and trunk lid. An air pressure system was provided to lock the doors, fuel door and glove compartment, as well as other mechanical functions. There were separate heating systems for front and rear. For all its complexity, the servicing requirements were relatively simple and all joints were sealed for life.
Testing the 600 in 1963, The Autocar commented that every item had been ...designed from scratch with cost seemingly of secondary interest. Having rhapsodized about every feature, they then commented on the superb air-assisted brakes that could stop even a fully laden 600 from 100mph in under six seconds.
The car on offer appears to be a sound overall example. We understand that the air suspension and mechanical components are in good working order. The stately dark blue seems to have been repainted some time ago. The interior is in largely original condition. It is clean, very well preserved and does not appear to be in need of any type of redressing. The engine bay and motor also seem very well maintained and in nicely detailed condition. The vendor reports that prior to the sale, the Mercedes will receive a thorough detailing of the interior and exterior. We understand that the car runs smoothly and performs quite proficiently.
Regularly owned by Royalty, used by Papal legations, Marshal Tito and Chairman Mao, there has never been a limousine like the model 600 before and there may never be one again - it is truly a classic by any standards.
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