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It appears being an executive member of a homewares conglomerate in the 1970s was much more of a rarified position than you might think.
We know this, because this regal Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman (or Grosser Benz) was ordered by just such an executive at America’s National Housewares (which must have been a big deal in the 1960s and 70s).
More usually seen with presidential occupants — as well as the occasional nefarious Third World dictator — the Mercedes-Benz 600 Class was the ostentatious limo that political movers and shakers used when something even more ostentatious, such as a Rolls-Royce Phantom perhaps, was deemed too on the nose.
Auction house Bonhams will be offering the former executive’s four-door 600 Pullman under the hammer next week in the US. Whenever one of these gargantuan Germanic limos comes up for sale, it’s always a bit of an event. Of course no one with any sense of self would want to drive one for more than an hour or two. But the impressiveness of these machines can’t be denied.
When you consider this example is “just” a four-door version and that there are also super-long six-door models, as well as landaulets (with convertible roofs at the rear), then you may be forgiven for thinking this 600 is modest after all.
But there was nothing modest about the 600 Class cars; from their specially developed 6.3-litre V8s to the slew of new technology their arrival in 1963 heralded for the German carmaker, the 600 was absolutely state of the art.
Features such as air suspension with variable ride control, multizone air conditioning, four-wheel disc brakes, powered seats and self-opening and closing doors and boot lids were the stuff of science fiction in the early 1960s and wouldn’t arrive in many manufacturers’ models until decades later. However, the Mercedes-Benz 600 featured them all.
The Tupperware salesman’s 600 is one of 428 Pullman models built and even features a built-in Sony TV and an intercom system to speak with the driver about his lane-changing discipline.
The other intriguing thing Autoweek — which brought the auction car to our attention — noted about this particular 600, is that it has flag mounts up front; a stately addition that had to be ordered in.
Could our kitchenware-selling high flyer have been plotting some sort of kitchen cupboard coup d’etat?
Bugatti does a 180 on SUV wish
Despite once insisting that SUVs are things that happen to other carmakers, it appears Bugatti has changed its tune.
Thanks to the unparalleled winning of hearts, minds and wallets the uber-luxo Cullinan has achieved for Rolls-Royce, it appears Bugatti might be about to announce its rival for the seven-figure load-lugger.
Bugatti boss Stephan Winkelmann might have been forced to eat his words, according to a report from Automobile magazine. The report suggests pressure from parent Volkswagen Group has led to the French firm’s about-face.
And there’s another twist in this tale. Should a Bugatti SUV surface, chances are it will be a 100 per cent electric vehicle.
According to sources close to Bugatti, the manufacturer wouldn’t build the SUV. Rather it would hand production over to a facility owned by Austrian engineering firm Magna Steyr. Magna assembles cars on contract for BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Aston Martin, as well as Jaguar’s electric I-Pace.
The same sources reckon any Bugatti SUV would have only three doors and be quite apart from any of its rivals.
Does this mean we’ll see a Chiron-style coupe jacked up to soft-roader ride height?
Anything could be possible. Although with Bugatti reportedly having made only 76 Chirons last year — and the waiting list for the hypercar currently stretching out to 2021 — having a second model stream would surely help win all those other hearts and minds. And wallets.
Aston’s in-house tradies will build your dream supercar garage
Aston Martin has fully embraced its indelible connection with James Bond and, more specifically, the idea of the villainous lair.
The British marque is encouraging its super-wealthy top-end clientele to design lairs of their own — albeit to store their Aston Martin collections in, rather than nuclear reactors.
Aston Martin’s Q Division (oh, come on!) consultancy service has announced a series of partnerships with “well-known” architects and is looking to create some truly outrageous dream garages for its most fervent (and monied) fans.
The image gallery of ideas released with this news is in keeping with the James Bond overtones, from a Valkyrie hypercar sitting in a glass box overlooking a mountain range, to an excellent-looking underground cave and aquarium set-up straight out of the Ernst Stavro Blofeld playbook.
Aston Martin head honcho Marek Reichman says that for a car enthusiast the garage is as important as the rest of the house.
“A bespoke auto gallery designed by Aston Martin that either focuses on showing off the car or is part of a larger, integrated entertainment space with simulators and such like takes Aston Martin ownership to the next level,” he says.