- A remarkable piece of 20th century history; originally owned by Chinese statesmen Chen Yi
- One of 304 Pullman limousines produced, and one of two 600s delivered to China
- Serviced by Mercedes-Benz Classic in 2018
- A technological tour de force and eye-wateringly expensive vehicle in its day
- Accompanied by MB Data card, jack, spare, Time magazine copy featuring Chen Yi, two “600” license plates and modern jacks for long-term storage purposes
Introduced at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Mercedes-Benz 600 was one of the world’s most advanced automobiles, featuring a hydraulic system that powered nearly everything in the car, including a self-levelling suspension. Built in a four-door “short” wheelbase iteration and two gargantuan long-wheelbase versions featuring either four or six doors, it quickly established itself as the last word in dignified luxury. Thanks to its technological sophistication, comfort, and the sheer presence of these big Mercedes-Benzes, the 600 quickly became the ride of choice for the global elite. Heads of industry, leading entertainers, dignitaries, dictators, and even the Pope were among those chauffeured about in enviable luxury in their respective Mercedes-Benz 600s.
Given the nature of the vehicle, each of the 304 Pullman limousines possess fascinating histories. However, the example on offer is a particular standout. Delivered new to Automotive Limited Hong Kong, China on 17 February 1965, this Mercedes-Benz was brought to the Far East to serve as the transport for Chen Yi. A distinguished Chinese statesman, he served as the Mayor of Shanghai, Vice Premier in 1954, and Foreign Minister in 1958. The vehicle was eventually placed in long-term storage under the care of Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation after the cultural revolution began. Hans Luwich, a German engineer working for Volkswagen in Shanghai, would uncover the car in the 1990s and eventually had it exported to Germany in 1993. The 600 would later find new ownership in the Netherlands; its most recent caretaker, who acquired the car in 2014, would return the limousine to Hong Kong.
In 2018, Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in California received the vehicle for extensive service. Invoices on file detail the engine, transmission, braking, steering, and coolant systems had their fluids flushed and replaced. In addition, a new battery was installed. It is further believed the car has remained in largely original condition and never fully restored given the state of both the interior and exterior. However, it is apparent the vehicle had been resprayed at some point in its history. In June of 2020, the vehicle further received a thorough $4,450 detailing and the driver’s door latch, right rear door glass, and a front seat cushion were repaired. Both jobs are documented by invoices.
Few vehicles ever produced can boast such a high rate of high-profile owners as the Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullmans, and this significant four-door example—still effortlessly impressive after all these years—will give its fortunate next caretaker a rare opportunity to ride in inimitable style and luxury.