The Aquarium: 1966 Mercedes-Benz 600 by Chapron

Its hard to imagine a car that was more sought after and requested by the truly elite of the world than the Mercedes-Benz 600. I don’t need to regurgitate over and over again all the well-known individuals who owned these cars as I’ve done that in the past, but if you want to read about some of them, go nuts. Naturally, with great power and wealth comes with certain expectations and certain requests made to their favorite luxury car maker. I’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff that the Mercedes factory honored the request of, but today’s modification was so nuts that the Mercedes factory flat out said no to.

Nubar Gulbenkian, an Armenian oil tycoon, had a taste for eccentric luxury cars to say the least. He commissioned Rolls-Royce to build him some truly wild stuff and naturally asked Mercedes to do the same with their 600. The thing is, Mercedes said no. Why? Well, Gulbenkian had a thing for cars with fully transparent roofs. He had a 1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith with a transparent Perspex roof, among other body modifications, that is truly a one-off. The story goes, Mercedes wouldn’t do it on the 600 because the structure of the roof isn’t entirely flat. So bending a giant sheet of glass on a car that is constantly flexing and experiences temperature swings isn’t something they wanted to dive into nor stand behind when it breaks. Tycoons usually don’t take no for an answer, so Gulbenkian ordered a standard 600 through a fake name and asked coach builder Henri Chapron in Paris to do the work. In additional to adding the roof, they covered the entire interior in leather and added other little touches like tobacco pipe holders on the front seat backs. I told you this guy was eccentric.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1966 Mercedes-Benz 600 at RM Soethby’s

Continue reading

1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9

The holy trinity of M100-powered Mercedes-Benz cars, the 600, 300SEL 6.3, and 450SEL 6.9, are not for the causal or faint of heart owners. The buy-in is expensive, the parts are expensive, the labor is expensive, everything is expensive. These are not cars you can stick in the corner of the garage under a cover with a battery tender hooked up only to drive it once a month, if that. They all use extremely complicated suspension systems that will leave you weeping if you walk out in the garage and see the car suddenly resting on its rocker panels. Despite support from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, lots of parts have been no longer available for many years and aren’t coming back, so your only hope it to pray that it doesn’t break and if it does, hope it can be rebuilt. There is a very small, but passionate group of owners of these cars in the M100 club, but their membership is decreasing as the years going on as younger generations aren’t interested in spending sometimes five-figures for routine repairs on these cars.

If you are brave enough to dip your toe into the world of dry-sump engine lubrication and doors heavy enough to slice your fingers clean off if they get caught in them, then the 450SEL 6.9 is where you want to start. Full disclosure, I own a W116 chassis, in non-6.9 trim, so I am a bit biased on these, but also extremely realistic as I’ve worked on a 6.9 extensively and lived to tell about. The hydraulic suspension system is sturdy, but again, very pricey if something goes wrong, and the same can be said for the 6.9 engine itself. The non-6.9 bits are some of the best materials you could ever ask for in a car, sans the god-forsaken US-spec HVAC, so it is for sure a give and take situation. Buy a well-sorted example and stay diligent with the maintenance, it won’t be so bad. However, buy a project and have fun explaining to your wife and kids why Santa won’t be visiting your house this year. Thankfully the car I’m looking at today, a rare European-spec 1977, looks to have all the major things looked after and is it relatively good health. The thing is, I don’t think the owner wants to let go of it. At least for not what I think it is worth.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 on eBay

Continue reading

1964 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman

There are few cars I geek out over more than the Mercedes-Benz 600 and all of its crazy variations. There is just something about the ”money is no object” philosophy with these cars and the seemingly endless options that were offered. One of those options was the factory Pullman body that turned this sedan into a limousine. Wildly popular with celebrities, industrialists and heads of state, these offered the best the automotive world had to offer with seating for six. Today’s car, a 1964 Pullman for sale in Germany, was built for and used by the largest industrial manufacturing company in Europe: Siemens AG.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1964 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman at Hemmings

Continue reading

1970 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.6

No, your eyes aren’t mistaken and my finger didn’t slip up one digit on the number pad. I meant to type 6.6. Let me explain.

What we are looking at today is a 1969 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3, a legendary car on its own, that had the M100 engine block opened up to increase the displacement 6.6 liters. Who is responsible for such a thing? Karl Middelhauve, of course. If you aren’t familiar with Karl, he is a man world-renowned for his expertise on M100-powered Mercedes and especially his work on the W100 600. If something can be done with a M100 Mercedes, Karl can do it and probably has already done it. This is just one of his examples. This 1969 up for sale in San Francisco is one of the few ”6.6” W109s in existence and now you can own it for a price. A very high price.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1969 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.6 on eBay

Continue reading

King’s Ransom: 1970 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman

Checking back in with my favorite cars ever. This 600 Pullman is still for sale with a new price of $495,000. That is $100,000 more than the original price. An interesting sales tactic to say the least.

Last week I checked out at a 1972 Mercedes-Benz 600 that looked to be cared for by a wealthy stable owner in north Alabama. Today, we have another W100 to examine, but this one has quite a bit more history to sort through. This 1970 600 for sale in Portland, Oregon isn’t the normal standard wheelbase sedan you are used to seeing but rather it’s the rare Pullman version, which is one of 423 ever produced. Of course, those who ordered these cars usually weren’t your normal private citizens. So who was the original owner of this rolling symbol of power?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1970 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman on Hemmings

Continue reading

1971 Mercedes-Benz 600

The Mercedes-Benz 600 falls into the category of a cars that I totally love, but have zero interest in owning. Maybe if I won the Powerball for 2.2 billion I could swing buying one and the maintenance on it, but even then it might be pushing it. I’ve gone in pretty deep about what it is like to own a 600 and I honestly think it is cheaper in the long run to bring home triplets from the hospital vs. bringing home a 600. At least there is a chance the babies can take care of you when you are old while the needs of a 600 never stop.

Naturally, that brings me to check out this 1971 up for sale in California. It doesn’t have a famous owner or an interesting story (that I could find) nor does it have any crazy options that makes it stand out. It is a straight-forward 600 in average condition. The best part about it? The price is pretty attractive considering what these usually are listed for.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1971 Mercedes-Benz 600 on eBay

Continue reading

1967 Mercedes-Benz 600

The last Mercedes-Benz 600 I looked at was a wonderful example that was originally owned by NBC Orchestra conductor Don Ricardo. It was a cool little story that was mostly complete and ready to keep being enjoyed by a new owner â€” as long as you had a big enough bank account. Today, I have another 600 but this has little information and being sold by the source themselves. Who is that source? None other than the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center. Sounds like a perfect situation to buy a car, right?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1967 Mercedes-Benz 600 at Mercedes-Benz Classics

Continue reading

1968 Mercedes-Benz 600

A few days ago I was talking with a friend who owns and operates a Mercedes-Benz restoration shop and the topic of the W100 600 came up. It was mostly me asking all kind of questions as to what it is like to own one of these cars and getting answers that blew my mind. One thing stuck out that about stopped me in my tracks. He told me that a 600 he services for a doctor had to choose between doing some repairs on his car or putting a new roof on his house. It was at that moment I realized I was never going to own a 600 nor want to own a 600. Our conversation then turned to the cost-per-mile calculation to own one of these and he threw out the number of roughly $5. Most exotics usually average about $3.50 a mile. That means if you own a 600 and drive it a conservative 2,000 miles a year, you can expect your wallet to be $10,000 lighter. To think, some people still don’t understand that this just isn’t another old Mercedes that has some pricey parts on it. I’ve said this before and I want to say it again, there is no faking owning a 600. The amount of time and money needed to keep one of these probably surpasses some short-lived marriages.

Anytime a 600 pops up for sale, I always hurry to take a look because of the crazy options that could be lurking inside as well as the possibility of it being owned by a celebrity and/or murderous dictator. Today’s 600, a 1968 up for sale in Chicago, probably didn’t have any executions called in from the rear seat because it wasn’t owned by someone of that ilk and this car is equipped with a rear refrigerator, not a telephone. This 600 was actually first ordered and owned by a man named Don Ricardo. Ricardo was a NBC Orchestra conductor but real passion was cars â€” especially Mercedes-Benz. Ricardo owned two 300SL Gullwings, a 1928 SSK and one of the most infamous Mercedes of all-time, a 1935 roadster custom-built for Nazi Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler. I assume this car was a 770. Anyway, safe to say that Ricardo liked his cars and knew exactly what he was buying in this 600. From there, details on this W100 are slim but thanks to the power of the internet, I was able to uncover a little more about this Grosse.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1968 Mercedes-Benz 600 on eBay

Continue reading

King Juan Carlos I of Spain’s 1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9

Some of my favorite cars to look at are special builds from manufactures to serve a specific purpose or person. One of those purposes is diplomat cars and all the crazy modifications they receive compared to the normal civilian version. Today, we have an already special 1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 that was modified for Juan Carlos I during his rule as King of Spain. This M100-powered S-Class is fully armored and a rear sunroof was added so he and his wife, Queen Sofía, could stand on the rear seats to wave at people during parades and events. This W116 was also equipped with the customary flag holders on the front fenders and a siren to alert all the mere normal citizens to get out-of-the-way. But now, Juan Carlos I is 80 years-old and while he still gets driven around in a S-Class, he also prefers some faster toys too.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 on Mobile.de

Continue reading

1969 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3

A few weeks ago I checked out a 1969 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 that needed some work — a lot of work. Almost every surface of that poor M100-powered W109 needed some kind of attention. The paint was a baked mess, the interior was growing mold at an alarming rate and the mentioned M100 engine was a total unknown if it could actually run or not. Despite all of this, the seller was asking a hefty $14,500 for the privilege of dealing with that literal mess. Today’s car is another 1969 6.3 — although this one is the total opposite of that charity case. But as you might have guessed, this one isn’t going to cost you $14,500. Not even close.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1969 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 on eBay

Continue reading