Story and Photos Mike Spicer
As my gold cape brushes across the red carpet floor, I slip inside a cocoon of luxury feeling like the most important person in the world …and then I blink and wake from the fantasy. This is how the Mercedes-Benz 600 makes me feel every time I drive one. Every important person throughout the 60s-80s rode in one at some point. The Mercedes-Benz 600 (W100) made from 1963-1981 was recognized as one of the most prestigious cars in the world.
Having the thought that I need one for my wedding, I found a 1966 white short wheel base model (SWB) in pristine condition that fit the bill perfectly. Now I was now the proud owner of a Mercedes-Benz 600 and began to dig deeper into their history and learn about these fascinating automobiles.
I immediately joined the international M-100 group. A club focused on 6.3, 6.9 and 600 Mercedes-Benz automobiles and was fortunate to meet Paul Bracq, the original designer at one of their annual meets. He explained the goals in creating a special car while keeping it true to the current line of Mercedes-Benz automobiles. It was great to hear his approach and philosophies during that time. In my opinion he’s designed some of the most beautiful cars in the world.
Everything is bigger! The hood star, grille etc. Mercedes-Benz 600s may resemble the rest of the model line, but they share very little with the other cars. Owning and driving them reveal many hidden details. The air ride suspension is like riding on a cloud, and the quiet and fast hydraulic system operates the windows, trunk lid, seats, sun roof, and in early models, the door assist to automatically close them tight. The list goes on as not only an extremely beautiful car was created, but an engineering masterpiece as well, unofficially named “Grosser Mercedes” (Großer/Grosse).
A symbol of prestige and luxury all over the world some notable owners included David Bowie, Hugh Hefner, John Lennon, Jack Nicholson, Jay Leno, and even Pablo Escobar. It was the car of choice for various royal and political figures. Visiting the Mercedes-Benz museum, I came across the Popemobile landaulet custom built for Pope Paul VI (in service 1965-1985) and its amazing single back seat!
The 2016 I had the pleasure of attending the annual M-100 Lode Fest meet in Portland Oregon. They had a great turnout of cars and activities. It’s a very regal experience driving through the countryside in a parade of 600s. Every time I come across one, they still exude extreme luxury and capture my attention.