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The Mercedes-Benz 600 PullmanLandaulet

Crème De La Crème of the 600 Series

# Magazine - Article - 600 Landaulet 08

A white six door "short roof" model with exterior handles on the middle door.

The vast majority of Pullman Landaulet’s I have seen depicted are black. Some were white and I’ve illustrated olive green and silver-beige examples. Of the 58 made it would not surprise me if less than 10 were a colour other than black or white.

# Magazine - Article - 600 Landaulet 09

# Magazine - Article - 600 Landaulet 10

Imposing barn find! - 1971 "short roof" 6 door Landaulet sold at RM auctions for US $700,000. Hidden for decades in a UK shed, it was rescued from the state garage of an African country.

Certainly the most well known example is black, that being the version presented to Pope Paul VI. It had various unique features as outlined in an accompanying photograph. It now resides in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. It is the only Landaulet I have ever seen in person.

# Magazine - Article - 600 Landaulet 11

Ex Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s "long roof" 4 door car. It has a deep green rear plastic window tint. This vehicle was purchased by the Petersen Auto Museum in Los Angeles.

One exception to a black or white colour scheme is the short roof Landaulet belonging the Thai Royal family (pictured) . As are most cars in the royal household the colour is pale yellow with tan seats and a light tan coloured hood. A Thai monarchial garuda figure (half man, half bird)  has taken the place of the star as a bonnet mascot. This car which has travelled just over 8,000 miles is featured in the magazine Mercedes Enthusiast of  Spring 2015.

# Magazine - Article - 600 Landaulet 12

The King of Thailand’s 600 four door "short roof" landaulet painted in his favoured yellow-gold colour. The insignia of His Royal Highness supplant the Mercedes-Benz star above the radiator. Next to it stands a yellow 600 Pullman Limousine.

The death of US President John Kennedy in a Lincoln Continental convertible in Dallas on November 22, 1963 was to usher in an age of prudence in the choice of vehicle occupied by heads of state or government. While on the subject of car colours, many people assume that Kennedy was assasinated in a black Lincoln convertible (often based on viewing black and white images). The car was in fact dark blue, a fact I myself was unaware of until I studied colour images in the 1990’s.  A rather ghoulish fact about the Kennedy Lincoln is that it was resprayed black and used by US Presidents for at least another ten years, including Lyndon Johnson and Gerald Ford. The car now resides in the Ford Museum. But I digress…

After the Kennedy assasination many governments around the world gradually phased out the use of convertibles for VIP’s and heads of state. Kennedy was the last US President to appear in a motorcade in a convertible within the USA. It seemed that only in the Communist or dictator led nations that leaders could regularly appear in a 600 Pullman landaulet with little fear of attack.

President Kennedy’s assasination occurred months before the 600 series was launched in 1964, but but factory construction of the 600 series had begun two months prior to Kennedy’s death, in September 1963. The 600 Pullman landaulet, available between 1965 and 1981, therefore marked the triumphant Indian summer of such vehicles.

When Mercedes re-introduced the Maybach brand it produced a landaulet in 2009. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I venture that the modern bulbous reincarnation is one few would consider  an aesthetic improvement on the sumptuous and grand 600 Pullman Landaulet - a model coveted and chosen for maximum pomp and ceremony from everyone from potentates to Popes.

# Magazine - Article - 600 Landaulet 13

Landaulet bar interior.

Sources: RM auctions, Petersen Auto Museum, Mercedes Benz Classic (No. 3, 2013), Mercedes Enthusiast (Spring 2015) Wikipedia, diverse Mercedes-Benz publications.

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