Mao’s Foreign Minister drove this swanky Mercedes
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You would certainly not have expected this car in a communist fleet. Nevertheless: The Chinese government got this Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman from Germany in 1965… imported from.
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The representative car belonged to the Chinese general Chen Yi. Yi was a close confidante of Mao Tse-tung and was foreign minister from 1958 until his death in 1972.
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A German engineer discovered the Mercedes in China in the 1980s, and finally brought it to Germany in 1993.
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Now the car has been auctioned. The value of the car ranged between 150,000 and 250,000 euros, the new owner paid 172,500 euros for the Mercedes.
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Of the total of 2,677 Mercedes-Benz 600s built, 428 were built as an extra-long Pullman version.
Not only monarchs and show stars loved him. The Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman, which a colleague of Mao Tse-tung had and which did not fit in with the proletarian cultural revolution, has now been auctioned.
E.r was like an alien. With its wide, glittering chrome radiator, upright headlights and angular roof structure, it stood like a monument on the street. When he made his debut in 1964, he was so far removed from normal life that people met him in awe.
Mercedes-Benz dared to stand up to Rolls-Royce and Bentley and developed the 600. It was the ultimate luxury, even in the basic version 5.54 meters long and almost two meters wide. There was also the 6.24-meter-long Pullman, the back of which offered a lavish amount of space and became the appropriate retreat for statesmen, monarchs and super VIPs.
At a time when normal people drove Beetles and Cadets, the Pullman, together with a Rolls-Royce Phantom, was the ultimate in exclusivity. Of him only 428 copies were built.
The Pope was chauffeured in an open Pullman Landaulet. Elizabeth Taylor and Coco Chanel had a 600, as did John Lennon, Leonid Brezhnev, the Japanese Emperor, the Shah of Persia and Elvis Presley. The 600 had everything that was technically possible at the time, which also made it expensive and which is why Mercedes-Benz never made any money with it.
Air suspension, air conditioning, hydraulically adjustable seats and sunroof, window lifters and lavish wood and chrome applications created a correspondingly exclusive driving experience, in which the newly developed 6.3-liter eight-cylinder with 250 hp also played its part.
If there was a Mercedes that was indecently exclusive and expensive in its day, it was the 600. It was built from 1964 to 1979, and in the end it cost between 144,000 and 175,000 marks.
Today the 600s are in demand, luxury classic cars, the market value of which is mainly boosted by prominent previous owners. Normal 600s are traded from around 60,000 euros. The rare Pullman versions are significantly more expensive. One of these has now been bought by the British auction house Bonhams auctioned, and it had a rather unusual history.
Because the black 1965 Pullman landed in China and served there as the service car of Chen Yi, a close confidante of Mao Tse-tung, who was foreign minister from 1958 to 1972, which gave him the privilege of big capitalist mobility.
Rediscovered by a German
In Mao Tse-tung’s China, where the people rode bicycles, it was as exotic as a moon vehicle and showed once again that the party sizes did not really take it seriously when choosing the body with equality.
Chen Yi was born in 1901 as the son of a judge in the Sichuan province and after studying in France made a brisk party career as mayor of Shanghai and then as foreign minister, which he remained until his death in 1972. The Chinese bought the black 600 as a template for their government-owned automobile plant in Shanghai, where a copy was to be made.
Thanks to the Cultural Revolution, things didn’t get that far, and the Foreign Minister shouldn’t have been sad that he was chauffeured in an XXL Daimler from now on. In the 1980s, it was discovered by a German engineer who worked for Volkswagen and who brought it back home and drove it himself until he sold it to the Netherlands last February.
The engineer wasn’t on the road much either, because the Pullman had only 21,160 kilometers on the clock at the auction. At the auction in the Mercedes-Benz Museum, it brought 172,500 euros.
For a Pullman with such unconventional prior ownership, it’s more of a bargain when you see that a 38-year-old Unimog landed at 82,800 euros at the auction.
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