Rare Rides: A 2000 Mercedes-Benz S 600 Designo, Bespoke in Blue

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides a 2000 mercedes benz s 600 designo bespoke in blue

In 2000, shortly before the ill-fated revival of the Maybach brand into a gauche purveyor of S-Class Baroque Editions, the 12-cylinder S 600 resided at the top of the Mercedes-Benz model hierarchy. This example in particular was ordered with a unique feature at the behest of a very well-heeled original owner.

We’ve covered an older S-Class recently, in the stunning 560 SEC. Between that Teutonic square and today’s more… organic S-Class was the enormous W140 generation. I’ll find one of those for another Rare Rides entry; today we’re all about W220.

The W220 had a long development time, as Mercedes started the project in 1992 right as the W140 was released. Work progressed in an organized fashion, and though the W220 debuted for model-year 1999 around the world (2000 in North America), the design was approved in June 1995 and finalized in March of 1996. W220 ran through 2005 globally but stretched to 2006 within North America.

Compared to the W140, the W220 was smaller in exterior size and much less square. More efficient space usage meant passenger space inside was improved over the outgoing model. Two different wheelbases were available as in S-Class sedans of the past: Standard sedans used a 116.7-inch wheelbase, while long-wheelbase versions were 121.5 inches.

Engines varied by region and were especially different between the North American and European markets. At the bottom end (and not offered in the US) was a 2.8-liter V6. Six-cylinder power increased in displacement to 3.7 liters, at which point a jump in price granted a V8. V8 power started at 4.3 liters and topped out at a 5.4-liter mill with a supercharger. Top of the line were the V12 options, of 5.5-, 5.8-, 6.0-, and 6.3-liters displacement. A couple of those had a twin-turbo variant, in case a naturally aspirated V12 sounded boring. There were also two diesels. All transmissions were automatic and of five or seven forward speeds. Let’s talk 600.

The S 600 was the most powerful S-Class sedan which was not a special AMG version. Standard power on the S 600 between 1998 and 2002 was the 5.8-liter V12, which was swapped out for the 2003-2005 run with a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V12. In the initial offering, 362 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque resided beneath the driver’s right foot. All examples were long-wheelbase and stood out from other, lesser S-Class sedans with a polished alloy wheel design only available on V12 versions.

There were two factory Designo editions for the W220, which meant an upgraded leather interior, some nicer trim around other places inside, and an Alcantara headliner. Called Silver and Espresso, they were available in either silver or black paint. But the original owner of today’s 600 wanted a Designo all their own. Upgraded leather and a silver or black car did not appeal. Navy blue paint was ordered instead, and that ever garish ruched leather was replaced with a fine, quiet beige velour. The ruching was retained, like an homage to Buicks of yore.

I’d like to tell you more about today’s Rare Ride (like the asking price), but as of writing the link to the listing is no longer working. Nevertheless, enjoy the pictures of what was a custom ordered (and likely one of one) S 600 Designo.

[Images: seller]

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  • Lstanley Lstanley on Nov 23, 2020

    Sometime in far future this car will be the main attraction at Demolition Man type "Museum of the Past" in San Angeles where the great great grandchildren of the last of those who remember how to drive gasoline vehicles will marvel at its velour opulence and non-white color. They'll also have a story about how grandpas neighbor knows a guy who had one let them drive it around the block once, at night, before the drone police could find them. Be well.

  • Lstanley Lstanley on Nov 23, 2020

    Sometime in far future this car will be the main attraction at Demolition Man type "Museum of the Past" in San Angeles where the great great grandchildren of the last of those who remember how to drive gasoline vehicles will marvel at its velour opulence and non-white color. They'll also have a story about how grandpas neighbor knows a guy who had one let them drive it around the block once, at night, before the drone police could find them. Be well.

  • MaintenanceCosts We hear endlessly from the usual suspects about the scenarios where EVs don't work as well as gas cars. We never hear the opposite side of the coin. From an EV owner (since 2019) who has a second EV reserved, here are a few points the "I road trip 1000 miles every day" crowd won't tell you about:[list][*]When you have a convenient charging situation, EV fueling is more convenient than a gas car. There is no stopping at gas stations and you start every day with a full tank.[/*][*]Where there are no-idling rules (school pickup/dropoff, lines for ferries or services, city loading, whatever else) you can keep warm or cool to your heart's content in your EV.[/*][*]In the cold, EVs will give you heat from the second you turn them on.[/*][*]EVs don't care one bit if you use them for tons of very short trips. Their mechanicals don't need to boil off condensation. (Just tonight, I used my EV to drive six blocks, because it was 31 degrees and raining, and walking would have been unpleasant.)[/*][*]EVs don't stink and don't make you breathe carcinogens on cold start.[/*][*]EV maintenance is much less frequent and much cheaper, eliminating almost all items having to do with engine, transmission, or brakes in a gas car. In most EVs the maintenance schedule consists of battery coolant changes and tire maintenance.[/*][*]You can accelerate fast in EVs without noisily attracting the attention of the cops and every passerby on the street.[/*][/list]
  • MaintenanceCosts Still can't get a RAV4 Prime for love or money. Availability of normal hybrid RAV4s and Highlanders is only slightly better. At least around here I think Toyota could sell twice the number of vehicles that they are actually bringing in at the moment.
  • Tree Trunk Been in the market for a new Highlander Hybrid, it is sold out with order time of 6 months plus. Probably would have bit the bullet if it was not for the dealers the refuse to take an order but instead want to sell from allotment whether it fits or not and at thousands over MRSP.
  • AKHusky The expense argument is nonsense. My mach e was $42k after tax credit. Basically the same as similarly equipped edge. And it completely ignores that the best selling vehicles are Rams, F150s, and Silverados, all more expensive that a bolt, MAch e or ID4. As an owner, I'd say they are still in second car territory for most places in the country.
  • Johnster I live in a red state and I see quite a few EVs being purchased by conservative, upper-class Republicans (many of them Trump-supporters). I suspect that it is a way for them to flaunt their wealth and that, over time, the preference for EVs will trickle down to less well-off Republicans.
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