Following the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Europe’s car industry was decimated. In Germany both Daimler and Benz went back to producing cars post-war, however, times were tough. A merger between Daimler and Benz would ensure that both companies survived and following a technical co-operation agreement in 1924, the companies formally merged on the 1st July 1926. Mercedes-Benz was born!
Subsequently, Mercedes-Benz went on to build some of the greatest cars of all time. The cars from Stuttgart bearing the three-pointed star all had one thing in common . . . they were renowned for their technical innovation, build quality, luxury and performance.
In 1951 Mercedes-Benz introduced the Type W187 220 series cars, which was the first model to be powered by a six cylinder engine post World War II. This model was a great success and built in relatively big numbers. It was succeeded by the Type W180 series cars in 1954, which like its predecessor was available as a sedan, coupe and convertible.
In the 1950’s Mercedes-Benz produced one of the greatest cars of all time – the iconic 300SL Gullwing and 300SL Roadster. Whilst fabulous sporting cars, they were very expensive and generally sold to the rich and famous. The Type W186 and Type W189 300 series four door luxury tourers were built alongside the Type W198 300SL Gullwing and Roadster and they were indeed fabulous cars in their own right, though still very expensive.
In the early 1960’s Mercedes-Benz also wanted to go back to their roots of the 1930’s and build ‘the world’s best saloon car’.
First introduced back in 1963 at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the Mercedes-Benz 600 ‘Grosser’ or ‘Grand Mercedes’ was a luxury car with few peers at that time. The new Type W100 set about re-establishing Mercedes-Benz as the maker of the finest automobiles in the world. The car was powered by a thumping 6.3 litre V8 engine delivering 250bhp that was capable of taking a car that weighed in excess of 2.5 tonne to well over 200 km/hr.
The car was an engineering marvel and its air suspension gave the car a ride that was smooth on just about every surface. The car also featured a very complex hydraulic system that powered the windows, seats, the sun roof and even an automatic close on the boot lid.
The car was produced in two main models being the 600 Grosser (short wheel base) and 600 Pullman (long wheel base). Interestingly the short wheel base cars were intended to by driven by the owners whereas the long wheel base cars were intended to be driven by chauffers.
Incredibly the Mercedes-Benz 600 series was in production for almost twenty years from 1963 through until 1981 during which time 2,677 cars were built. The breakdown of cars is:
- Mercedes-Benz 600 Grosser 2,190 cars
- Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman (4 door) 304 cars
- Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman (6 door) 124 cars
- Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman Landaulet 59 cars
These cars were very popular with royalty, world leaders, celebrities, movie stars, rock stars and the rich & famous. Today these cars, and particularly the Pullman, are highly sought after by enthusiasts and collectors alike.
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a 1968 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman. This long wheel base 600 with face to face rear seating is one of only a handful in Australia. The factory data card on file confirms this particular car has a delivery date of the 28th November 1968. Its original colour scheme was ‘anthracite gray' (173G) with a red leather interior (242). The car retains its original 'matching numbers' engine.
The data card confirms the car was built with the following options: 401 – single seats, 461 – instruments in English, 499 USA version, 524 – paint coat preservation, 598 – heat insulated glass / heated rear pane, 601 – oil for limited rear axle, 669 – mode of packing, 252 – Becker radio and 306 – air conditioner.
The car was delivered new into the USA through Daimler Benz North America Inc New York. The car’s early history is not known though it is understood to have been a New Jersey car for many years. There is an old US title from New Jersey on file that was issued in May 1984 in the name of John Leskowich. At the time the car is noted as being grey in colour.
The car was acquired in North America by a Melbourne based Mercedes-Benz enthusiast in 2009 and imported into Australia. There is an import approval on file dated 12th June 2009. The import documentation notes the car had a New Jersey title at that time.
The current owner acquired the car in October 2013. The car was repainted blue shortly after arriving into Australia. Throughout its ownership in Australia this car has been regularly maintained and its overall presentation and condition continuously improved.
Today this lovely Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman presents and drives really well. This car carries a ten year old repaint that has the odd stone chip, scratch/blemish evident. The depth of colour is good and the mid blue suits the car perfectly. The panel gaps are excellent and the car is a really solid example. The doors shut with that 'thud' exactly as they would have in 1968! All of the exterior trim, chrome, lenses, glass and the wheels are in good condition, though some of the chrome has some minor light pitting. Inside the car is lovely with just the right amount of patina throughout the cabin. Both sets of rear seats were re-trimmed by the previous owner which you could argue is both a positive and negative. The rest of the upholstery including the seats and door cards look to be original. The steering wheel, instruments and controls are also original and present really well. Importantly, the instruments and gauges all look to be in working order. The timber is in good condition and a real feature on these early cars. The engine bay presents as ‘used but clean’ and it has the look of a well maintained car. The boot, which of course is hydraulically controlled to open and close, is also clean.
On our recent test drive the car started easily from cold after having sat for a month or so. At the turn of the key the stonking V8 cranks over and soon fires, catching on all cylinders. As you would expect the engine is incredibly smooth, even when cold. You let the car idle to get the hydraulic system fully charged and you are then ready to go.
With a wheel base of 3.9 metres and an overall length of 6.24 metres make no mistake this is a big car. Interestingly the length kind of disappears once you are behind the wheel but seated in the back it’s hard not to be somewhat overawed by the size of the car. This is another car that needs an automatic credit card reader to charge a dollar for every photo taken by onlookers as you cruise buy!
This fabulous Mercedes-Benz just goes about its business in a very efficient and considered manner. The ride is quite unbelievable for a fifty year old car . . . it just glides along the road without any fuss. You push the accelerator and the car proceeds effortlessly, you turn the steering wheel and the car just follows in the direction you want it to go, you apply the brakes and the car slows or rather decelerates effortlessly again . . . the whole experience is just so incredibly refined.
Importantly all of the hydraulics are in working order.
Today the odometer reads 73,343 miles, which is understood to be genuine.
Accompanying the car is the original owner’s manual, factory data card, history file, two cocktail glasses in the bar, spare wheel, tool kit and jack.
This car is available for inspection by appointment in Sydney.
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