George Harrison’s 1967 Mercedes-Benz 600 just made someone’s wallet gently weep
Five years ago, we were thinking small when we wrote about the 1966 Mini Cooper S models that London-based Harold Radford Coachbuilders created for each member of the Beatles. And we focused on one Mini, in particular—George Harrison’s.
It’s time to think big.
At the other end of the mass spectrum is Harrison’s 1967 Mercedes-Benz 600, a high-end, four-door luxury car that’s measures more than 18 feet long but looks much larger. Earlier today it sold for £145,000 ($201,430)—plus a £6000 ($8335) fee if purchased by a U.K. buyer—through the Collecting Cars online auction site. A 1967 Mercedes-Benz 600 without the celebrity provenance carries an average value of $170,000 in #2 (Excellent) condition, so considering the car recently underwent a £45,000 ($62,513) overhaul by Mercedes-Benz specialist John Haynes, the buyer may have made out pretty well.
Harrison’s car is one of 2190 short-wheelbase W100-generation 600s built. An example of the “Grand Mercedes,” it is powered by a 247-horsepower, 6.3-liter M100 V-8 with a single overhead cam and Bosch mechanical fuel injection, coupled to a four-speed automatic transmission.
The car also has adjustable self-leveling air suspension—the tech that established the foundation for Mercedes’ current Active Body Control system—which assures exceptional ride quality. In addition, it features the 150-bar hydraulic pressure system, which powers the windows, seats, sunroof, trunk, and automatic doors, making for silent operation of those mechanisms.
The 600’s exterior design is dominated up front by large headlights, bumper, and grille, and a long, flat roofline. Inside, its gorgeous walnut dash extends to the pillars and window sills, and the legroom—both front and back—is sizable.
Harrison, the most enthusiastic gearhead among the Fab Four, bought the white, right-hand-drive car directly from Mercedes-Benz Great Britain, which had been using the 600 as a demonstrator. He drove it into the 1970s, often with some of his famous bandmates and friends in tow.
The 600 succeeded the acclaimed 300D Adenauer as the marque’s flagship luxury model. Built in very small numbers, it was a favorite of royalty, political leaders, captains of industry, and discerning celebrities like Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor, Jack Nicholson, Hugh Hefner, and fellow-Beatle John Lennon.
The Mercedes is wearing the original number plate that it had during Harrison’s ownership, OLA 600E, and it’s accompanied by copies of documentation proving Harrison’s former ownership.
The 600 was offered from the collection of businessman and entrepreneur Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia.
“I’ve put a lot of heart into this car, but I’ve always known that I would need to let it go, even if I’ve grown attached to it,” Ahluwalia says. “… I feel I’m simply the custodian of an important piece of rock and roll history.”
And now, the torch—or, perhaps, guitar—has been passed.