The Mercedes-Benz 600 represented the pinnacle in automotive luxury and engineering extravagance in its day and was accordingly featured in no less than three James Bond extravaganzas. Its first appearance came in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969, driven by Bond’s nemesis, SPECTRE Number 1: Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
The top range Mercedes-Benz was an ideal transport for a Bond adversary. Besides providing lush accommodations including silent hydraulically-actuated power seats and windows, the lavish technical specification of the 600 insured that it could hustle along should the need arise.
Powered by a 6.3 litre overhead-cam fuel injected V8 sending power to the rear wheels via four-speed automatic gearbox and limited-slip differential, the big Merc rode on fully-independent hydraulically-adjustable air suspension with front and rear antiroll bars and driver-controlable dampers that could be adjusted on the move. Ample stopping power was supplied by four-wheel disc brakes with dual calipers up front.
Blofeld’s transport was a standard-wheelbase right-hand drive 600 finished in DB180 Silver Grey Metallic, with Black upholstery and Burl Walnut interior trim. The domed wheel covers and non-padded walnut instrument pod indicate a pre-1968 model.
This would not be the last we would see of Blofeld travelling via Mercedes-Benz 600. Two years later, in Diamonds Are Forever, we find that he has relocated his operations from the Swiss Alps to the Nevada desert.
Once again pursued by James Bond, he escapes from his lair in the back seat of different 600; this time leaving the driving to one of his henchman.
Blofelds’s new 600 was a standard-wheelbase left-hand drive model finished in DB387 Blue Metallic with Parchment leather interior. It is another early example, unfortunately defaced by the addition of post-1967 U.S.-specification side marker lamp/reflector units.
Twelve years hence, Octopussy has Bond on the trail of exiled Afghan prince Kamal Khan whom he observes being chauffeured in a 600 by Gobinda, the prince’s chief lieutenant.
Kamal’s Mercedes-Benz was an early right-hand drive six-door long-wheelbase Pullman also finished DB387 Blue Metallic, this time paired with a Blue velour interior.
The 600 was no longer in production by the time Octopussy was filmed, yet to this day it has never been surpassed in terms of understated luxury and unpretentious gravitas.