Hugh Hefner’s 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman
Its last-known sell was in 2001 for a surprisingly reasonable priceby Mark McNabb, on
The death of Hugh Hefner has caused the world to turn its attention to the Playboy Magazine founder and publisher. Aside from his lavish lifestyle, infamous mansion, many wives, and countless mistresses, Hefner was also known for his car collection. From Corvettes to Ferraris, his garage was almost exciting as the pool’s grotto on a Friday night. But perhaps one of Heff’s classiest, rarest, and most highly regarded is his 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman.
Mercedes began making the 600 limousine in 1963 and carried the car to 1981. Despite this 18-year production run, only 2,677 examples were built. That number is further divided into three thanks to the three body styles Mercedes offered. There was a short wheelbase, of which 2,190 were built. There was also a Landaulet (convertible rear top), of which only 59 were built. Then there’s Heff’s car – the long wheelbase version. While not as rare as the Landau, only 428 exist in the world. Adding to the 600’s worth is Mercedes’ over-engineering of nearly every component. Everything that moved was hydraulically operated, including the windows, sunroof, seat adjustments, trunk lid, and doors. It even has a load-leveling suspension, which of course, ran off hydraulic pressure. Powering the car and its 2,176-psi hydraulic pump was a massive 6.3-liter V-8 developing 300 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. It was more than adequate for hustling the limo at speeds over 130 mph.
Heff’s six-door 600 was last known to have been sold in 2001 at a Barrett-Jackson auction. While that was 16 years ago, its price might surprise you. Keep reading for more.
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Hugh Hefner’s Icon Status
Naturally, having been owned by Hugh Hefner certainly gives this Mercedes even more clout than it would normally have. Hefner, the well-known publisher of Playboy Magazine, started the publication back in 1953 with a target towards young, wealthy, single men. Racy photos of pin-up models was its focus – something that wasn’t widely accessible or accepted in those days. Playboy’s first issue featured photos of Marilyn Monroe, which was soon discovered to have been used without Monroe’s permission.
Love or hate him, it’s impossible to deny his influence on modern Western culture.
That wouldn’t be the last of Hefner’s run-ins with legal troubles or head-buts with societal norms. Through the 1950 and 1960s, Playboy played a pivotal role in reshaping America’s view on sexuality, nudity, and women’s rights. Aligned with the free-spirited Hippie movement of the 1960s, Playboy helped transition the country from socially conservative to a more liberal attitude. Even till his death on September 28, 2017, at 91 years of age, Hefner’s status as an icon remained strong. Love or hate him, it’s impossible to deny his influence on modern Western culture.
What Makes This Mercedes Special
As for Heff’s car, well, the Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman is special in its own right. It hails from the days when Mercedes over-engineered and over-built everything. This not only set the precedent for German engineering, but also for Mercedes being synonymous with quality and luxury.
Accompanying Hefner in 600 ownership were people like The Pope, Queen Elizabeth II, John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Coco Chanel, Elizabeth Taylor, Jack Nicholson, and Jay Leno
It’s no wonder why most 600s were owned by dignitaries, royalty, and celebrities the world over. Accompanying Hefner in 600 ownership were people like The Pope, Queen Elizabeth II, John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Coco Chanel, Elizabeth Taylor, Jack Nicholson, and Jay Leno. Even Jeremy Clarkson has one. But not every 600 went to respectable people. A few notorious world leaders had keys, including Fidel Castro, Kim Jong-un, Saddam Hussein, and Pablo Escobar. There were even a few James Bond villains who had one – fictionally, of course.
At the 600’s heart was a stout 6.3-liter V-8 engine known as the M100. It was far from agricultural, having incorporated cutting edge technology like sodium-filled valves, fuel injection, and a dry sump oiling system. Interestingly, sodium-filled valves were first seen in piston-driven aircraft engines. The W100 featured a cast-iron engine block and single overhead cam over each bank. Forged connecting rods and pistons boosted strength and longevity. The result was 300 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque that hardly needed more than just basic maintenance. It was mated to a four-speed automatic transmission and sent power to the rear wheels.
The W100 featured a cast-iron engine block and single overhead cam over each bank
As mentioned, most everything that moved inside the 600 was actuated by an intricate, high-pressure hydraulic system. While leaks might be a concern, owners never had to worry about a window regulator shorting out or a fuse blowing on these items.
As for the price when new, the Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman sold in the U.S. for $24,000 in 1965. In today’s money, that’s roughly $185,700. Interestingly, a 2017 Mercedes-Maybach S560 4Matic costs $173,495, meaning Mercedes has kept its high-end limousine at a relatively stable price. Compare that to any pickup truck or sports car today versus its predecessor, and you’ll see how impressive that is.
As for Heff’s 1969 600, it sold in 2001 at a Barrett-Jackson auction for $78,100. Though that was 16 years ago, that’s not a bad price at all. In fact, a quick online search resulted in one 1969 Mercedes 600 Pullman, though impeccably restored, selling for a dizzying $895,000! Needless to say, the 600 Pullman might be one of the most collectible Mercedes in history.
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