By on October 31, 2009

Pullman the other one, it's got bells on it. (courtesy jameslist.com)

At RM’s London classic car auction this was the “standard” fare of painstakingly restored Aston Martins, Ferraris and Mercedes Gullwings . The hall glistened and gleamed with well polished beauties. The star of the show, however, turned out to be a rusted, dilapidated and altogether disheveled former statesman.  A 1969 Mercedes–Benz 600 Pullman Landaulet, chariot of popes and princes, had been transported from a surrey barn and shoved into the far corner of the auction hall. With withered red leather interior and an engine that could barely stay in the chassis, much less start, the Pullman could hardly compete for the interest of the crowds with 250 GTOs and DB5 convertibles. That is, until bidding got underway.

I wonder what that smells like . . .

With an estimate at £40,000 – 60,000, the bidding began at £40,000. The crowed paid little attention until bids hit £100,000 mark, at which point Rob Myers (the RM behind RM Auctions) got rather jumpy.  At £150,000, the lead bidder decided enough was enough and dropped out, provoking Rob launch one of the more impassioned sales pitches in auction memory, at one point raising the bidders paddle for him. When the dust settled, the new owner parted with £308,000 for what is arguably the last unrestored Pullman, and a very serious restoration it will be. We’re looking forward to the end result, and tip our hats to the ambitious soul willing to undertake (and underwrite) this ambitious effort.

[courtesy jameslist.com]

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36 Comments on “£308,000 for 1969 Mercedes–Benz 600 Pullman Landaulet Restoration Project...”


  • avatar

    Famous owner? I wonder why the massive dollars …

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    “We’re looking forward to the end result,”

    Interesting. I’m looking forward to the “result.” I guess for £308,000, they can afford to make it an “end result.”

    “Result” works for me, though.

  • avatar

    The question that I have with restorations is how much of the car is original. We need another word to describe cars whose “restoration” is more akin to remanufacturing or replication. It seems that “restored” is used to describe anything and everything that’s not either in original condition or modified.

    CARS, the Chevy replacement part specialist now offers brand spanking new turnkey ’55 and ’57 Chevys that are titled as a 1955 and 1957 models because the cars are built with new parts around an original 50s vintage cowl.

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    Although I’m a Cadillac man, I’ve always been attracted to these M-B 600s.

  • avatar
    Porsche986

    WOW

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    Wow, a Großer Mercedes Landaulet – such a cool car. I wish the owner lots of luck with the restoration, and hope that he/she has -very- deep pockets!

  • avatar
    vww12

    Just the pneumatic system for the windows and such will be an epic expense.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    What the world was going on here? You could have a pristine mint condition one-owner low milage landaulet for that price. Plus, renovating that slead will set the owner back at least another £200.000. Who was the original owner? Mao Zedong?

  • avatar
    VerbalKint

    Cash for clunkers.

  • avatar
    Mark out West

    Dumb, in every dimension of dumbness.

    And I like the M-100 600s.

  • avatar
    FloorIt

    I vote crack pipe! (Oops, wrong website.)

  • avatar
    criminalenterprise

    The only reason to pay £308,000 for something like this is if there’s £250,000 of drugs in the trunk.

  • avatar
    Power6

    Just the pneumatic system for the windows and such will be an epic expense.

    Not pneumatic, it’s all hydraulic. I was just watching Top Gear outakes of Jeremy Clarkson interviewing Jay Kay, both have Pullmans and were comparing maintenance costs. I think just a window switch is £7k…

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    crowed?

  • avatar
    CyCarConsulting

    Last 600 I had about 12 years ago cost me $5,200 for the rear glass, and that was a deal. Good luck pal trying to recoup your money from this baby. Judging by the price you’ve got more money than brains anyway, guess it won’t matter.

  • avatar
    jmo

    I wonder who is the original owner? For a car like this it must have been a head of state. Saddam Hussein, the Shah of Iran, Tito, I think Brezhnev had one….

    I’m thinking maybe it was Mao’s – but I’d assume that one is still owned by the Chinese government.

    • 0 avatar

      This one was owned by President Mobutu.

      Chaiman Mao had a number of 600 Pullmans but I don’t know if he had a 600 Landaulet.
      Queen Beatrice of the Netherlands 600 Landaulet, in restored condition, sold to a German collector a year or so back, for just under US$1 million, so I’m told by a dealer involved in the sale.
      So the US$1.2 million this car will have cost when restored, isn’t too far out of line with market value.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Only heads of state would have any practical use of a landaulet. The red interior would look nice in a communist regime, it certainly would show for some in-joke irony. Perhaps it was Maos, then? I think Brechnevs (private) car had all the brightwork removed, to make it less ostentatious. All the communists really had a hard-on for any conspicious consumtion in the old capitalist way. Why, I don’t know. The James Bond movies was all the rage in the Moscow Politburo private screenings. My father, an old school communist, used to say that if he ever got really rich, he would buy a communist-red Rolls-Royce, with painted arms-and-hammers on the side.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    “I think just a window switch is £7k…”

    “Last 600 I had about 12 years ago cost me $5,200 for the rear glass, and that was a deal.”

    It probably wasn’t bought to part out, but if that’s what parts go for maybe paying £308K for the car could be justified based on (remaining) parts value.

    This bid may seem stupid, but, to put it in perspective, even fully restored this 600 Landaulet will still end up costing less than a Maybach Landaulet, a car that will be lucky to fetch scrap metal value in 40 years.

  • avatar
    jmo

    All the communists really had a hard-on for any conspicious consumtion in the old capitalist way. Why, I don’t know.

    What’s the point of having the power of life and death over 100 million or a billion people if it doesn’t get you a really nice car?

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    “What’s the point of having the power of life and death over 100 million or a billion people if it doesn’t get you a really nice car?”

    The really good question is how to explain that necessary evil to the masses, the people. Once in the time, there was a 12 year waiting list to buy a Lada in the Soviet Empire.

    On the other hand, the Politburo had their own “third” lane of traffic in Moscow, in the middle of the road. The so called suicide lane, as it was a two-way “emergency” lane, that was only used, in both directions simultaneously, by police, ambulances and the politburo Chaika and Zil-Limousines. The general public used that lane for overtaking, in both directions at once, hence suicide lane.

    On a side note, in the 60’s when my father was stationed in Moscow as a foreign correspondent, he witnessed a limousine hit-and-run in that lane. A limousine in high speed hit an old lady crossing the street. The lady died instantaneously, the driver didn’t stop, he never even slowed down. That’s how they treated “The People”.

  • avatar
    twotone

    308,000 GBP is just the tip of the iceberg compared to what it’s going to cost to restore.

    Twotone

  • avatar
    Via Nocturna

    @Ingvar

    Some of the animals were more equal than others?

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    “Some of the animals were more equal than others?”

    Exactly. Orwell had a point there…

    I once asked my father, in a supposed “equal” society, what were the perks? And he said, there’s more things than money to differentiate the equals from those who was “more” equal. Corruption can be cheap, as long as the ones being bought ends up with more than the Ivans next door. In Soviet Russia, it could be to be fast tracked in the queue for a new car, or two weeks additional vacation at a resort, or your own private Dacha somewhere nice.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dacha

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    Yeah check out EnglishRussia.com frequently. Amazing pictures there.

    So how does an amazing car like this reach such a neglected state?

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Weird. Interesting as those chariots are, they generally don’t carry a very high market value. The restoration is sure to gobble money by the tractor trailer load.

    “So how does an amazing car like this reach such a neglected state?”

    The vast majority of even the nicest cars eventually end up in the crusher ten to twenty years after their birth. By the time the third owner has picked something up for a few thousand dollars or less, it all goes horribly wrong. With that 600 I imagine someone had great plans for it when parked, but nothing except decay happened for decades.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    By the way, here is a nice one for sale ready to go at $75,500 asking.

    http://www.significantcars.com/cars/1967merc600/index.html

  • avatar
    fincar1

    Well heck, John Horner, that one doesn’t even have the red interior.

    *Shakes head in wonderment that not just one but two bidders would bid over 300K pounds sterling for the car shown*

  • avatar

    @Ingvar, There was a word for the operatives in the Soviet Union who could facilitate getting stuff that most people did without, which you may well know: “tolkatch.” I don’t know if the spelling is correct. My father was an expert in the Soviet economy, at Tufts U. He had been stationed near Poltava during wwii.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    @Holzman. Politics aside, the Soviet empire was a very interesting place. I don’t know all the expressions, as I don’t speak russian. My father did, fluently. In fact, he was a translator as well, wrote several books. And also, I know the expressions and contexts in Swedish, I don’t always know the english speaking equivalent, as the russian language are translated differently between diffrerent languages.

    But I do know of the “apparatchik”, the bureaucrats, the new class of people, and the “nomenklatura”, the de facto elite and ruling class of the empire. Reading up on the facts after the facts so to speak is very interesting. The point is, the people gaining favours on other peoples expense was thouroughly detested by all other people. Especially the career bureaucrats, those who would sell their grandmothers for a slight favour. The jokes were hidden, and had to be read between the lines, but they were ridiculed unanimously. There was no money around, but the vodka was cheaper than water. An interesting place indeed…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apparatchik
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_class
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomenklatura

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    Come on, if you are going to quote Animal Farm, a book by a socialist critiquing communism (can you zit faced libertarians say nuance, or, in other words, life is not all black and white, or red and green?), then at least quote it correctly, “some pigs are more equal than other pigs”, not “some animals.”

    As any smart socialist knows, communism sucks. But it takes a socialist country like Germany or Japan to make a car awesome enough to be driven by communist dictators from Russia to China. Capitalist countries make crappy cars (GM, Ford, Chrysler, Leyland) and crappy people (poor white trash, chavs).

  • avatar
    jmo

    . But it takes a socialist country like Germany or Japan to make a car awesome enough to be driven by communist dictators from Russia to China.

    France is far more socialist than Germany or Japan and their cars suck.

  • avatar
    postjosh

    when i was growing up in new jersey, there was a girl who was driven to middle school everyday in the hard top version of this thing. it might has well been a ufo for all the attention it got even then.

  • avatar
    Johann

    Just remember that once restored this will still be one of only 59 Laundaulets ever produced… Few restored cars ever fetch what was spent on them. This car will be no different.

  • avatar

    John Horner and others here are mistaking the Landaulet for the more common ( if you can call a car with a production run of 428 cars common ) MB 600 Pullman. There were 59 of the MB 600 Landaulet built in the 18 years of 600 production from 1963-1981. An average of 3 per year, and all except for a couple of them were built for Kings, heads of state, and were particularly popular with African dictators. Idi Amin had several Pullmans and a Landaulet.
    At GBP 308,000 and then Euro 500,000 for the full factory restoration this car is getting, at Mercedes own “Oldtimer” restoration centre, yes it will have cost the new owner a huge amount of money, but as has been noted in another comment, ~ still less than one of those butt-ugly Maybach Landaulets which will halve in value overnight, whereas the 600 Landaulet will appreciate, and so making it something of a bargain over time.


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