Market Finds: Meet The Classic Mercedes-Benz That’s Perfect For Sitting In Traffic

Meet The Classic Mercedes-Benz That’s Perfect For Sitting In Traffic

By Andrew Golseth
April 13, 2016

Photography Courtesy of Auctions America

In case you haven’t picked up on it, we here at Petrolicious are big advocates of driving. There’s no replacement for some spirited time behind the wheel of your favorite classic. But if you get a tad fatigued from all that vigorous driving or live in an area with a ton of congestion, we don’t blame you for wanting to take a break and letting someone else take the helm for a bit—especially if it’s in the back seat of, say, something like this 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600 SWB Sedan.

If you’re riding as a passenger, you may as well do so in something comfortable, full of amenities, and of a tasteful vintage. Sure, a Detroit land yacht from the ’70s is plush enough for the Friday night cruise down the strip, but if you’re looking for something with a bigger statement, it’s hard to beat a Mercedes-Benz 600—even a full-sized Landaulet variant was grand enough for Saddam Hussein’s ego. Speaking of, you wouldn’t believe where that communistic cruiser is currently garaged.

With a near twenty-year production run between 1963 and 1981 fewer than 2,700 were produced in total—of which, 2,190 were SWB sedans. In typical German fashion, when these mostly ‘municipal’ limousines debuted in 1963, they were some of the finely-finished and highly complex engineered automobiles ever produced—still quite spectacular rides even by today’s standards.

Featuring the largest engine in the Mercedes fleet at the time, this Big Benz is powered by a 250 horsepower 6.3-liter V-8 mated to a silky four-speed automatic that’s claimed to be powerful enough to move this hulk at 127 mph—not bad for nearly three tons of steel. Disc brakes at all four help keep the train on track and the adjustable air suspension provides optimal ride quality no matter the road condition.

Those are all noteworthy features, but the real impressive/perplexing engineering highlight is the engine-driven 2,176 psi hydraulic pressure system that powers the sunroof, seat adjusters, trunk lid, automatic closing doors, suspension dampening and ride height, HVAC system, and windows—about that whole “Germans over-engineer everything,” this takes the cake. This chariot is thee flagship of flagships and I don’t think it’ll ever be topped—largely because nobody’s mad enough to use such an… intricate hydraulic system again. And you thought your BMW 7 series replacement window regulator was expensive, please—for what it’s worth, the company later ditched it in favor of a hydropneumatic system helped by Citroën’s expertise.

This ’67 SWB is finished in a dark non-metallic navy on beautiful matching leather upholstery—just look at that warm wood trim contrast. The cabin is minimalistic in design but is stuffed with features cleanly integrated throughout including a minibar in the center console. Preferred by celebrities, royalty, and dictators alike, the Mercedes Benz 600 might be the greatest limousine ever produced. We like this one because, without an interior divider and other over-the-top features, it’s pretty much as close to a “normal” sedan as the 600 gets.

Don’t you deserve the world’s finest motorway luxury—assuming it’ll fit in your garage?

– One of 2,190 short wheelbase sedans
– Non-divider window model

~250 hp, sequential Bosch fuel injected 6.3-liter V-8, four-speed automatic transmission, front double wishbone and rear swing-axle rubber spring adjustable air-suspension with stabilizer bars, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 3,200 mm.

Vehicle information
Chassis no.: 100.012-12-001212

Auction house: Auctions America
Estimate: TBD
Price realized: Auction on May 5

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Maarten Coelingh
Maarten Coelingh
8 years ago

When I was three my parents, my eight yo brother and my grandmother went on holiday in a 1966 Beetle. For the main part of the journey we took the car carrying sleeper train through Germany. My mother still recalls meeting a very nice German gentleman when waiting to drive the car onto the train carriage. There was a bit of irony which didn’t escape the gentleman as he was alone with his spaniel dog driving an identical SWB MB 600 and we were three adults and two kids in a Beetle with a roofrack. Anyway, the 600 as shown here may be the most common, it is also the pick of the bunch IMO as it can still be used and enjoyed. The LWB and stretched versions are more suited to a parade than they are for actual use as transport

Maxime Veilleux
Maxime Veilleux
8 years ago

This is one of the cars that I would like to have a ride in before I die,

I have no extreme desire to drive it for once, Just sit in it for a road-trip.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
8 years ago

I’ll 2nd that !

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