Mercedes-Benz 600 – Luxury Cars of the 20th Century
Upon its release in 1963, the Mercedes-Benz 600 instantly became the car of choice for the rich and famous, finding ownership with John Lennon, Coco Chanel, Jack Nicholson, Hugh Hefner and Elvis Presley. The 600, often referred to as the Grosser, is probably one of the greatest cars ever made, certainly the most luxurious of the 60’s. Designed to effortlessly leap across continents, the 600 is one of a handful of Mercedes-Benz’ ever devised in which cost was no object; no corners were cut, nothing was used sparingly, meaning the 600 was the most expensive car in the world upon its release, retailing at $24,000 in 1965. The options list on the 600 was as big as it was, with owners being able to spec their 600’s in any upholstery available, with television screens, telephones, refrigerators and nearly anything else desired. The secret to the cars unparalleled refinement is hydraulics; Nothing on the 600 is electrically powered. Features like the windows, the boot lid, reclining seats, central locking, automatic closing doors, sun roof and cruise ship style horn are controlled by the 600’s massively complicated hydraulics system.
The 600 was available in multiple body styles, including a short wheelbase, a long wheelbase 6 seater called the Pullman, an even larger 6 door model and a convertible, called the Landaulet, a car used by the Pope and Queen Elizabeth II. Naturally, this level of luxury attracted the attention of heads of state, leading to the car developing a sinister reputation, becoming the car of dictators including Nicolae Ceaușescu, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, Fidel Castro, Park Chug-Lee, Hirohito, Kim Jong-Il and Mao Zedong who had 25 Mercedes 600’s.