Sunday, August 1, 2010

Inspected a Mercedes-Benz 600

Inspected a Mercedes-Benz 600 (short-wheelbase version - SWB) in royal blue and its up for sale at a princely sum of RM400,000. The car is on display at Meguiars on Jalan Templar. According to certain tell-tale sticker on the windscreen, the car has been detailed by Darren of Autodetailer hehe. These are rare cars since only 2,190 SWB units were built - accounting for 82% of total production for all variants (2,677).

"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, the Cadillac Fleetwood 75, the stretched Lehmann-Peterson Lincoln and the Crown Imperial Ghia. It was also at this time the most expensive car in the world. Generally intended to be a chauffeur-driven vehicle many 600s featured a central divider incorporating a power window between the front and rear compartments" .

"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, and Bosch mechanical fuel injection" [Wikipedia].

Nothing needs to be done to it. Owner has painstakingly restored the car, like ordering two rolls of cream leather from Mercedes Germany to reupholster the seats and sending the interior wood fittings refurbished in Australia. The only thing that needs to be done is to rechrome a few exterior parts.

The car is so over-engineered that its not funny. The hydraulics (doors, boot), the suspension, the truly amazing seats, the way it drives - I can understand why it was the Maybach of its day - hence all those famous owners that ranged from royalty, to movie stars, all the way down to petty dictators (and even Jeremy Clarkson hahaha)! Like it was back then, its not a cheap car own - the hubcaps alone cost 3,000 euros to replace!

"Apart from the Pope and governments, famous owners of the 600 include celebrities such as Coco Chanel, Hugh Hefner, Elizabeth Taylor, John Lennon, George Harrison, Jay Kay, Aristotle Onassis, Jack Nicholson, Simon Spies, Bob Jane, Frank Packer, Elvis Presley, Rowan Atkinson, and Jeremy Clarkson[2], Communist leaders include Nicolae Ceauşescu, Josip Broz-Tito, Fidel Castro, Pol Pot, Enver Hoxha, Leonid Brezhnev, Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-Il also owns a landaulet (as seen on a parade in Pyongyang with Chinese prime minister, Oct. 2009) 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, a 1981 bulletproof and a six-door version. Iran royal court and Iran's Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi owned multiple 600 models that were used for official and personal use of the late Shah and his court. Some of them were sold after the 1979 islamic revolution and about a dozen of them are in the National Car Museum of Iran in Karaj" [Wikipedia].

In conclusion, I have to say that you'd make more of an impact, by pulling up to a function or major event, in this beauty, than arriving in say a Bentley Flying Spur. General upkeep / repair bills is the killer but what a car! Tempting!