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When You Want Real Luxury...

You thought that all limousines were American? Well, meet the Sixties German king.

Courtesy of DaimlerChrysler

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The presentation of Type 600 at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt created a real sensation. Since the new top model had been designed as an exclusive limousine to fulfil the highest demands, appropriately it was equipped with the highest technology available at the time.

For the first time in the history of Daimler-Benz, a V8 injection-engine was used which delivered maximum power of 250hp from a 6.3-liter cubic capacity - and a maximum torque of 500Nm! Working with the standard automatic transmission, this car achieved driving performance more typical of a contemporary a sports car. The 600 model, which weighed almost two and a half tons, reached a maximum speed of 205 km/h and accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 10 seconds!

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Its shock absorbers could be adjusted from the steering column during the ride, and air-pressure supported dual circuit brakes offered maximum safety. All four wheels were equipped with disc brakes, the front wheels each being fitted with two "double jaw" calipers.

The extremely generous basic equipment of the 600 model, air suspension, powerbrakes, central locking systems and an electronic heating and airconditioning system afforded maximum ride comfort and easy handling. Unique hydraulics (not electrics!) ensured automatic operation of the following functions: horizontal and vertical adjustment of the front seats; tilt control of the back of the seat; adjustment of the rear seats in longitudinal direction; opening and closing of the vehicle doors and the boot lid, the optional sliding sunroof and the side windows.

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Serial production of the "Grand Mercedes" began in September 1964. Apart from a five- and six-seated sedan with a 3200mm wheelbase, three seven- and eight-seated Pullman versions with a 3900mm wheelbase were available. These comprised a four-door Pullman limousine with rear seating in a face-to-face arrangement, a six-door Pullman limousine with rear seats and additional folding tables in driving direction, and a Pullman landaulet. The last was available in four different versions.

The standard version had four doors, rear seating in a face-to-face arrangement and a hood, reaching to the front edges of the rear doors. As a special design, a six-door version with rear seats and additional fold-down chairs in driving direction was also available. As with the six-door Pullman limousine, the doors in the middle could also be ordered without handles. Both landaulets - the four-door as well as the six-door version - were also available with a long hood, which extended to the middle partition.

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Even more exclusive than the landaulets were the special security sedans and Pullman limousines. Like the landaulets, they were not included in any price list.

The first bullet-proof vehicle by Daimler-Benz after the war was built in June 1965; this was a Pullman limousine with an elevated roof. It had many special security features and like some other ordinary Pullman limousines, had not been ordered by a customer but remained part of Daimler-Benz' motor vehicle fleet to be hired out to the government or to other potential users. Another car of this type was completed in 1980, which also remained at Sindelfingen.

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For special customers who were faced with potential threats and who had the necessary financial means, 43 special security 600 models were built between May 1971 and November 1980. Unlike the two cars of Daimler-Benz' vehicle fleet, they all had a roof of ordinary height. These cars included 26 sedans and 17 Pullman limousines, one of which was a six-door version. The numerous body designs, however, did not yet exhaust all the possible choices. Specific paint, interior design and special equipment customer requests could be fulfilled, so that it is probably impossible to find two cars with identical equipment - especially among the Pullman limousines and landaulets.

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But three individual cars should be mentioned - regarding equipment details and technology, they have no equal.

In September 1965, a four-door Pullman landaulet - built for Pope Paul VI - had an individual seat and some other special equipment. Additionally the car was characterised by an elevated roof and extended rear doors, which started immediately behind the front doors. For two decades the car was used by three popes; it returned to Stuttgart only in 1985. Since that time it has been exhibited at the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

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In May 1967, a customer - with a strong propensity for sports - requested a special design, which would combine the easy handling of the curtailed 600 model with the advantages of the landaulet. Consequently, a car with a shorter wheelbase was produced. This car was restored at the end of the '80s and is now in private ownership.

The same is true of a two-door coupe version with a shorter wheelbase which was produced as a prototype in August 1965 and was sold in the USA after spending some time in the testing department. The car found its way back to Germany at the beginning of the '90s and is now in a private collection after being fully restored.

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The last 600 was produced in Sindelfingen in June 1981; during a 17-year production run a total of 2,677 of these cars were built, 429 of which were Pullman limousines and 59 landaulets.

No, the 600 was certainly nothing like a locally-stretched Fairlane...

Specifications - 600 Pullman Limousine (6-door)


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Combustion principle four-stroke Otto (with manifold-injection)
Configuration front, longitudinal; vertical
Engine type M 100 / 100.980
Number of cylinders / arrangement 8 / 90 degrees V
Bore x stroke 103 x 95 mm
Total displacement 6332 cc (tax classification: 6289 cc)
Compression ratio 9.0
Crankshaft bearings 5
Rated output 250hp at 4000 rpm
Rated torque 500Nm at 2800 rpm
Number of valves / arrangemet 1 intake, 1 exhaust / overhead
Valve operation 1 overhead camshaft per cylinder bank
Camshaft drive double roller chain
Fuel system manifold-injection, mechanically controlled; Bosch 8-plunger injection pump
Cooling water cooling / pump; 23 litres water
Lubrication pressure circulation lubrication / 6 litres oil
Electric system 12 V
Battery 88 Ah / in the engine compartment
Generator three-phase AC / 490 W
Starter electrical / 1.8 hp
Ignition battery ignition
Fuel tank: position / capacity in the rear / 112 litres
Fuel supply electric delivery pump

Chassis & Suspension

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Frame design floor assembly / steel unit body
Front-wheel suspension double wishbone
Rear-wheel suspension single-joint swing axle with level control
Front springs air-spring bellows, supplementary rubber suspension
Rear springs air-spring bellows, supplementary rubber suspension
Shock absorber front/rear telescopic shock absorbers, adjustable whilst driving
Steering recirculating-ball power steering
Steering ratio 17.2 : 1; 3.2 turns lock-to-lock
Brake system hydraulic dual-circuit brake system with pneumatic booster, acting on front- and rear wheels; four-wheel disc brakes
Parking brake mechanical, acting on rear wheels
Diameter of brake discs and/or brake drums brake discs front / rear: 291 / 294.5 mm
Wheels sheet-steel wheels
Wheel rims drop centre rim 6½ J x 15 H
Tyres 9.00 H 15 super sport (6 PR)
Driven wheels rear

Gearing & Performance

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Gearing 4-speed automatic transmission
Shifting steering-column selector
Clutch hydraulic coupling
Transmission type planetary gear
Gear ratios I: 3.98; II: 2.46; III: 1.58; IV: 1.0; R: 4.15
Final drive ratio 3.23
Maximum speed 205 km/h
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 9.7 secs (2 occupants)

Dimensions & Weight

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Wheelbase 3900 mm
Front / rear track 1587 / 1581 mm
Length 6240 mm
Width 1950 mm
Height 1500 mm
Turning circle diameter 14.6 m
Gross weight 3410 kg
Gross axle weight, front 1665 kg
Gross axle weight, rear 1745 kg
Payload 640 kg
Permissible trailer weight, braked 1500 kg
Permissible trailer weight, unbraked 750 kg
Kerb weight 2710 kg
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