At Bonhams' next event, set to take place at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart on July 12th, 2014, no less than three 600 models will come under the hammer. The first is a 1965 600 Pullman previously owned by Chen Yi, the second is a 1973 600 Pullman ordered new by German entrepreneur Hans Glogger and the third is a 1965 Mercedes-Benz 600 sedan.
From 1963 to 1981, the German manufacturer built 2,677 units of the iconic and luxurious 600. Out of the aforementioned, only 428 examples feature long wheelbases, the centerpiece of high class motoring. Over the years, the 600 has been the car of choice of the Pope and notable figures for the most different of reasons, including Hugh Hefner, John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Kim Jong-Il, Saddam Hussein and Chen Yi. The latter's 600 is the car we'll be talking about, so who's this Chen guy?
From 1949 to 1972, Chen Yi has been a high ranking official of the People's Republic of China. The Chinese communist military commander and politician served as the 1st mayor of Shanghai and 2nd Foreign Minister of China after Zhou Enlai. Even Chairman Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People's Republic of China, attended Chen Yi's funeral in 1972, so this guy was pretty powerful and unquestionably rich.
Moving on to his set of wheels, the 600 Pullman once owned by Yi and chauffeured around the Forbidden City in Beijing is a prime example of an increasingly rare breed. This long wheelbase version of the full-size limousine has quite the background story. After the Chinese official died, the car was kept in storage in a Shanghai factory garage and was used as a prototype for Chinese-built limousines.
In 1980, Volkswagen engineer Hans Luwich discovered the car and managed to bring it back to Germany in 1993. Even though the car is unrestored, every owner took very good care of it as the odometer shows just 13,148 miles (21,160 kilometers). Except from a few wrinkles on the beige leather upholstery, everything looks and feels just like it should for a majestic vehicle such as the Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman.
There's even an all-original Becker Grand Prix stereo and three rows of seats, so all you need to do is to bring the mix tape, champagne and glasses to get the party started. If you're not the party type, than you might like to find out that the 6.3-liter single overhead camshaft V8 under the bonnet is still running solid, and the adjustable air suspension is in tip-top condition as well. A complex hydraulic system running 150-bar (2,176 psi) pressure handles the 600's windows, seats, sun-roof, boot lid and automatically closing doors.
Just like the other Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman to be auctioned in a few days' time, this 1965 model is estimated to fetch €260,000 ($340,000), which is top dollar for the best of 1960s luxury motoring. If you're on a budget though, the 1965 Mercedes-Benz 600 short wheelbase is expected to change hands for a maximum of €100,000, which translates to $136,000 at current exchange rates. For more info on these three vehicles, please follow the following links: 1965 Pullman
, 1973 Pullman
, 1965 SWB