NEWS: Fit for a King: Omar Bongo’s Mercedes-Benz 600 Landaulet Up for Auction

April 21, 2010
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There are a lot of rare automobiles going up for auction at RM’s Sports and Classics of Monaco event, but we’re betting one example -- a 1968 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman Landaulet -- will be the star of the show.
Why? Rarity, for one. Between 1960 and 1982, Mercedes-Benz built nearly 2677 600s, the vast majority (roughly 2190) being short wheelbase sedans. 428 Pullmans -- the long-wheelbase, six-door limousines -- were built, but were nowhere as rare as the 59 Landaulets, which sported a convertible top over the rear seats. For the most part, Landaulets were sold to heads of state, and this particular example is no exception. This Grosser Benz was sold new to Omar Bongo, president of Gabon from 1967 until his death in 2008. It may be good to be king, but it’s even better when you have a near-endless supply of oil revenue at your disposal, coupled with the perpetual support and approval of the French government. Gabon was well known for splurging on luxuries, including cars. He bought this 600 a year into his reign, and also purchased one of two Stutz Royale limousines ever built. Even if this car hadn’t belonged to a dignitary, it would still be worth a considerable amount of money. Last year, RM auctioned off a 600 Landaulet at its Battersea Park auction in London. Despite the fact that the car was admittedly a basket case, it managed to fetch $523,446 -- amazing, considering a proper restoration of the 600’s complex electrical and hydraulic systems (used on everything from the door locks to power windows) was estimated to run an additional $500,000. Sure enough, RM expects Bongo’s car to fetch between $739,000 and a cool $1.1 million at auction. In contrast, a “pedestrian” 1970 600 Pullman is also consigned to the same auction but is expected to bring somewhere between $83,000 and $107,000. Irrespective of both vehicles’ immaculate condition, their new owners should expect to shell out a considerable amount of cash to keep the tech-laden luxobarges in tip-top shape. That may be a huge chunk of money for a 40-year old Mercedes-Benz. Then again, if you want to join one of the most exclusive clubs without the typical human rights abuses or the political infamy that often accompany a Landaulet’s owner, this may be your ticket. Source: RM Auctions
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