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Mercedes-Benz 600 'Grosser': Buying guide and review (1963-1981)

Mercedes-Benz 600 'Grosser': Buying guide and review (1963-1981) Classic and Performance Car
Mercedes-Benz 600 Grosser Mercedes-Benz 600 Grosser Mercedes-Benz 600 Grosser Mercedes-Benz 600 Grosser Mercedes-Benz 600 Grosser
It sounds glib, but the Mercedes 600 really did live up to its ‘world’s most luxurious limousine’ tag; not just at the time of its introduction in 1963, but right through to the end of production in 1981. And, to be fair, there still aren’t many cars that can even come close.
What an utterly unique proposition a Mercedes 600 is. There’s nothing truly comparable – they’re fast, they handle well when setup correctly, they’re genuinely enjoyable to drive – and they have road presence like no other car.
Under the skin they’re equally unique. If the hydraulic system isn’t enough for you, then how about the brake servo working off the air pressure of the suspension, or the engine water pump that’s driven via a torque converter by the engine oil? 

Which Mercedes 600 to buy?

Propelled by Mercedes-Benz’s first V8 engine, a 6.3-litre, 250bhp marvel of engineering, the short wheelbase version of the 600 could top 125mph. Even the long wheelbase model – the legendary Pullman – could boast 120mph, despite its 2640kg weight.
How could a 1960s car weigh this much? Easy, once you consider the driver-adjustable self-levelling air suspension and the high-pressure hydraulic system used to self-close not just the boot but the doors, too, as well as to adjust the seats and power the windows, the air-con flaps, the glass central divider, the sunroof and the damper control!
The Pullmans could be ordered with either four or six doors, while there were also a few Landaulets built, with a convertible top over the rear passenger compartment. No two Pullmans were the same, with options that could include a bar, fridge, TV, armour-plating... you get the idea – and so did film stars, royalty, world leaders and dictators.

Performance and specs

Engine 6329cc all-alloy V8, Bosch mechanical fuel injection
Power 250bhp @ 4000rpm
Torque 434lb ft @ 3000rpm
Transmission Four-speed auto, limited-slip differential
0-60mph 9.0sec
Top speed 120mph 

Dimensions and weight

Wheelbase 3200mm
Length 5540mm
Width 1950mm
Height 1480mm
Weight 2640kg

Common problems

• When these cars go wrong, they’re often laid up for years – but almost always under cover. This, combined with the high-quality steel used, means that rot isn’t the major problem. 
• It won’t hurt to check the front floors, bulkhead and leading edges of the sills, just in case. In extreme cases front inner wings rust, too.
• The M100 engine is near-indestructible, but long storage with old engine oil can allow the acidic hydrocarbons in the lubricant to eat into the big-end and main bearing shells, calling for a rebuild. 
• Fuel injection is trouble free but water pumps can cost £3000-plus to fix. The transmission is extremely tough.
• It’s the hydraulic system that causes the most trouble. The pump, unique to the 600, wears and becomes noisy; a replacement is more than £20,000, but they can be reconditioned for around £3000. 
• An accumulator stores pressure; if it’s OK it should be possible to operate a window up and down 30 times after the engine has been switched off. Pipes can develop leaks anywhere around the car.
• The air suspension uses three height control valves: two at the front, one at the back. If they’re in good condition, the car will remain at correct height for up to eight weeks. If it sinks within hours of the vehicle’s use, they need replacing, at £1800 each.
• Airbags crack and develop leaks, but they’re a service item and relatively easily replaced. The air compressor is extremely reliable, and air system parts are shared with the 3.5 and 6.3 SE L and the 300SE range.
• Interiors were often velour and PVC, and prone to scruffiness, so many have been retrimmed in leather. Not cheap! There are swathes of wood panels, too, and of course these are expensive to recondition.

Model history

1963: The 600 ‘Grosser’ Mercedes (model name W100) is launched in two lengths: five/six-seater with 3200mm wheelbase and seven/ eight-seater with 3900mm wheelbase. Four- and six-door versions of Pullman available. 
1965: Landaulet version with convertible rear passenger compartment is introduced. 
1966: Instrument binnacle styling changed to less attractive vinylor leather-trimmed version. Hubcap design changed. 
1968: Hydraulically powered self closing door mechanisms deleted (buyers now prefer cars without self-closers, for reliability). 
1971: Minor facelift: climate control improved, interior door handle design changed. 
1981: Production ceases after 2190 SWB limousines, 423 Pullmans and 59 Landaulets built. At least two two-door coupes also thought to have been made.

Owners clubs, forums and websites

• www.mercedes-benz-club.co.uk – The Mercedes-Benz Club UK
• www.m-100.cc – The International M-100 Group
• www.mbca.org – Mercedes-Benz Club America

Summary and prices

Nothing is simple and everything is expensive, while regular use and correct maintenance are paramount. A 600 can’t be run or rebuilt on anything less than an extravagant budget, and unfortunately that has left the short-wheelbase models out in the cold to some extent, as costs far outstrip values at the moment. But as Pullman prices climb, the short-wheelbase cars should gain status.
The short-wheelbase cars range from £45,000-50,000 when they’re in good, useable condition, up to £100,000 for the very best. A good Pullman starts at £70,000 and goes up to £130,000, with a premium for the six-door. But you won’t find a Landaulet in useable condition for less than £300,000, and a great one can easily fetch £600,000 to £800,000.
Mercedes-Benz 600 Grosser Mercedes-Benz 600 Grosser Mercedes-Benz 600 Grosser Mercedes-Benz 600 Grosser Mercedes-Benz 600 Grosser
Last updated: 11th Oct 2016
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Mercedes-Benz 600 cars for sale

4 Search results
Mercedes-Benz 600
42500 99500 GBP
  • 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600

    $42,500(£34,170) $42,500(£34,170)

    This 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600 SWB LHD is a very original car for straightforward restoration. Black with white velour interior. It comes complete except for it's AC compressor. The engine turns freely and it was last running a year ago. The air suspension also pumped up and held pressure. Interior upholstery usable with cleaning. A great buy at just $42,500.

    • Year: 1969
    For sale
    Gullwing Motor Cars
    718-545-0500  VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600 Sedan

    $99,500(£79,998) $99,500(£79,998)

    After its post-war recovery was finally over, Mercedes found demand for an exclusive, high-end luxury limousine to take on the very best from Cadillac and Rolls-Royce. The resulting W100, known as the Mercedes-Benz 600-series, was one of the most technically sophisticated and meticulously engineered cars of its day, and even now many of its design features are thoroughly impressive and fascinating. It featured unibody construction, Bosch fuel injection for its powerful 6.3-liter V-8, self-leveling air suspension, and an options list that was as extensive as the imagination or the budget of the buyer. All of the 600’s power features, and there were many, were also controlled by a complex hydraulic system that ran on mineral oil. As a result, it was also one of the most expensive and exclusive cars on the road. The typical Mercedes-Benz 600 owner was a head of state, actor, famous musician or other person of importance. In fact, the very image of the car itself has become a symbol of prestige. Even though Mercedes-Benz built the 600 for almost two decades from 1963 to 1981, only just over 2,000 of them were produced, including short wheelbase sedans, long wheelbase Pullmans, six-door Pullman limousines and Landaulets. Due to their complexity, though, many 600s have either not survived or have needs that are both numerous and expensive. A sound, consistently maintained example is therefore ideal. This 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600 is a short wheelbase model that is in the kind of fantastic, fastidiously maintained condition that is reassuring to current 600 owners. Finished in a distinctive red done at great expense over a black leather interior, it has a sunroof, new narrow whitewall tires, new battery, a Becker Grand Prix radio, blackout privacy curtains in the rear, and a mini bar in the center console that still contains a set of shot glasses and cocktail shaker. It also comes with its tool roll and a set of spare keys. The paint, chrome, upholstery, wood and carpets are all in gorgeous condition and the car is just as distinctive as it’s ever been, perhaps even more so with its bright red paint since most 600s are finished in more reserved grays or blacks. Just as important as this car’s lovely presentation is its mechanical condition. Because of its extreme sophistication, more than a few 600s have suffered from the deferred maintenance and neglect of well-meaning owners who just couldn’t afford to service them. Not so with this car. All of the numerous hydraulics are in fine working condition, as is the advanced self-leveling suspension. Mechanically, it is sorted and ready to use. This is the kind of example that is ideal for someone who wants a 600 to use regularly out on the road and enjoy the comfort, performance and engineering grandeur for which these cars are legendary.

    For sale
  • Mercedes-Benz 600

    £84,995 £84,995

    In 1963 the all-new 600 model was launched at the Frankfurt International Motor Show. Representing the very best of Mercedes-Benz automotive engineering and technology, the 600 featured a fuel-injected overhead camshaft 6.3 litre V8 engine, air suspension with variable ride control, all-round disc brakes, power steering and central locking, not to mention a high-pressure oil system for all sorts of adjustments and controls. Over half a century later these cars still represent an ultimate. Even the 21st. Century Maybach, a brand re-invented by Mercedes to be the best of the best, cannot approach the 600 "Grosser" for sheer presence. Due to its immense cachet, the 600 is more "filmic" than any other car made. The model has enjoyed cameo roles in more movies from 1963 to the present than any other. As is widely publicised, the list of owners is like a who's-who in itself. Only 2,677 LHD and RHD examples were made, of which 2,190 were four-door saloons, 428 were Pullman limousines and 59 were Landaulets. This 600 Short Wheel Base Limousine represents something of a "sweet spot" specification-wise when ordered new. It was first registered to Barclay Hotels Ltd of 2 Hyde Park Place, London, in April 1971. We can only assume that the company required a luxurious car to ferry around its important guests, and this car would certainly have fitted the bill. To put this into perspective, the 600 cost between 25 and 30 percent more than the equivalent new Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. What attracted us to this 600 when we first saw it was its remarkable originality and potential. It is an unmolested, "honest" car. Much of the paintwork, brightwork, woodwork and the entire interior are original from 1971. The team here have taken this lovely largely unspoilt "canvas" and turned it into the great 600 we have now. The complexity of these cars is simply staggering; even the lowly water pump on the engine is a highly complex bit of kit, with a turbine thermostatically controlled by circulating engine oil governing the fan. Many components on a 600 are like this. Here is a brief list of recent works done in our workshop:- -Overhaul of air suspension inc. 4x airbags, all height control valves and main valve block. Adjust ride heights to factory specifications. -Overhaul of water pump and full drivebelt replacement. -Service and adjustment of "comfort hydraulic" system parts as needed. -Overhaul of steering box. -Full engine and injection service and set-up. Starts "on the button" as it should. So many 600's are huge bills waiting to happen, but when they are running properly as this one is, they are a marvel to drive and ride in. Due to its originality, this car is not in 100% Concours condition; the leather seats for example have no tears or creases even after 45 years, but are not freshly restored. If you want a 600 with much correctly focussed recent work where it counts on these cars, not just a shiny paint job, then this is the car for you.

    • Year: 1971
    • Mileage: 56000 mi
    For sale
  • Mercedes Benz 600 Pullman 6 Door


    1975 MERCEDES-BENZ 600 SIX-DOOR PULLMAN  ONE OF ONLY TWENTY  ORIGINAL MB FACTORY DATA CARDS Production of the Mercedes flagship 600 model began in 1964 and continued through to 1981. Production numbers were tiny; in total 304 Pullmans! 124 of these were 6-door examples but fewer than 20 were Right Hand Drive. Exclusivity is the watchword of this model. Highly prized by the glitterati of its era and hugely respected by enthusiasts and collectors today. Believed by many to have been the most stylish limousine ever to have been built. The level of appointment is naturally to the very highest standard available when new; featuring the 600's 150-bar (2,176 psi) hydraulic pressure system, which is silent in operation, powering the windows, seats, boot lid, as well as the door locking mechanism. Adjustable air suspension delivered excellent ride quality and sure handling over any road surface. Of the twenty Right Hand Drive examples distributed across the globe no one is able to say how many exist today. Our car is one of these rarer than rare survivors. Finished in the original specially ordered Magnetite Blue and luxuriously upholstered throughout in its original sumptuous light beige velour with beautiful Burr Walnut veneered woodwork. This is, we believe, the finest example for sale anywhere in the world today. Our magnificent 600 Pullman is an extremely rare UK supplied example which has always been kept in England and throughout its life has mostly been maintained by Merecedes Benz UK or its appointed main agents. The history file contains many service invoices and old MOT certificates confirming the mileage of only 68,000 and testifying to the care and maintenance carried out on the car throughout its life. Cosmetically impeccable, structurally undoubted and crucially, fully functioning in all respects; the air suspension holds good pressure, while all of the power assisted accessories work as they should. Available for inspection here in Kew, surely the first knowledgeable enthusiast to view will buy.  

    • Mileage: 68000 mi
    For sale
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