Mar 21 2015
Like a fairytale
There was once a king. This king was immensely rich, for his kingdom was in tomorrowland. Here flowed not only milk and honey but also petroleum. And so was our king, very rich. Whenever the time allowed this king was going into his garage to look at the “stars”. He loved stars and he gathered them. One day while he was sitting in one of his six stars he had an idea.
He wanted to own a very special star-auto. It should be so good, so comfortable and so representable as his other 600. But it should look very different! He wanted curved fenders, running boards and free-standing headlights. Nevertheless it should have the technology of the gigantic Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman as his carriage should be one of the best in the kingdom.
Some of his spies heard about a company far far away from the kingdom. It’s name was B + B Exclusive, owned by Buchmann. By 1980, Buchmann had created a number of interesting one-offs and conversions from normal cars. The quality was stunning, and the finished products were legendary. This reputation had attracted customers from all over the world to the small garage in Frankfurt, and in November 1980, Buchmann received his most ambitious commission yet.
November 1980, Germany. Our king finally reached someone who can make his wish come true. Our wealthy customer from his exotic country comes to Rainer and Dieter Buchmann’s “B+B Auto Exclusive” tuning-company. He’s looking for a car, but not just a car….The car had to be a one-off and should distinctively look like one. Money was not an issue.
The buyer (whose identity was never released although some said it is King Khalid of Saudi Arabia) yearned for a fleet of identical W100 Mercedes 600 based specials. The car had to evoke memories of past motoring, mainly from the thirties. So, with this brief, Buchmann drew up the plans for a Pullman, but with running boards and long flowing wings, along with large headlamps and an upright grille to complete the look.
On both sides of the car footboards were installed so bodyguards could ride on the outside of the car. Because the footboards were protruding 30cm from the car, Buchmann had to find a way to elegantly disguise them. The solution was found in adding new fenders which gave the car its distinctive old-school look.
However, the changes to the Mercedes were not just bodywork-specific. Under the skin, the front axle was moved closer to the front of the car, lengthening the wheelbase of the already-massive 600 by 700 mm. To complete this task, all-new axles had to be fabricated, along with a whole new steering system. Engine-compartment had to be modified as well. The braking system was re-routed, but the car was finished on time, despite the numerous engineering headaches.
The owner, King Khalid of Saudi Arabia, wanted the car to be painted in Porsche Signal Red with white dots the size of pencil points. Rainer Buchmann, the owner of BB Auto Exclusiv, managed to persuade the man forget about this crazy paintjob and paint the car a more decent dark-red.
Even though the interior of this very special Mercedes 600 remained virtually unharmed it was anything but a poor-man’s interior, because the standard interior of the 600 was already among the best you could get. The seats were trimmed in thick red velour cloth, to match the colour of the exterior.
The official price, per car, was never released by Buchmann, but the cost was rumored to be 335,000 DM (Deutch Marks) – twice that of a standard Mercedes-Benz. Nine identical cars were completed and sent overseas to compliment the customer already bulging car collection.
The car was made by B&B in Germany, the company, which also made big interior tuning in some Porsches and VW Golfs (mainly the first car-computer-things). In that company worked Eberhard Schulz, who designed the Mercedes-Benz B&B CW311 .
During my research on the internet I found some incredible pictures. It looks like someone was able to found one of this in an almost unrecoverable condition. It’s not the pullman version but it has the same aspect. It’s very hard when fairytales are crushed by reality in the most painful way. 🙂