600 SWB (W100)

When the W100 Mercedes-Benz 600 limousine was introduced at the Frankfurt International Auto Show in 1963, it replaced the venerable W186/189 “Adenauer” 300 and was aimed directly at the Rolls-Royce Phantom V. It was the first “Grosser,” or grand Mercedes, since the pre-war 770K , and was Mercedes-Benz’s first V-8 powered car.

The 600 was a stunning design, powered by a new 300 horsepower, 6.3-liter, fuel-injected, SOHC, dry-sump engine. The styling was a collaboration between Bruno Sacco and Paul Bracq, and the design has certainly stood the test of time. Despite its size, the 600 was a very capable road car, able to cruise at over 100 mph with a top speed of 135 mph.

The 600 was offered from 1963-1981 in two wheelbase lengths. The “short” wheelbase sedan was 126 inches, and the most popular with 2,190 sold. The gigantic Pullman had a 153½-inch wheelbase and was favored by royalty, movie stars, and heads of state around the world. Mercedes-Benz built 428 Pullman limousines including four- and six-door versions, and 59 rare landaulets that featured a folding rear roof.

Virtually every conceivable power option graced the Mercedes-Benz 600. Most famously, the car’s self-leveling air suspension was powered by a 2,200-psi hydraulic pump, which also operated the power disc brakes, opened the doors, and powered the seats, trunk, windows, and sunroof.

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