When Trasco Bremen first entered the world of car-customization in the mid-1980s, after many years of experience in the car import- and export business, at first glance it appeared Trasco was just another tuner/coachbuilder who built custom Mercedes with special interiors and fancy paintjobs. However, from day one, the Bremen, Germany based Trasco coach building arm presented itself as builders of high quality stretched limousines. Many of these limousines built by Trasco went to the Far-East, where Trasco opened dealerships in Japan, HongKong and even Thailand.
Trasco built many different variants on the stretched limousine theme, most of them based on the Mercedes-Benz S-class (W126). Trasco used the name "1000SEL" for all of their stretched W126's, with the addition of the extra inches added the length of the S-class, ranging from the Trasco 1000SEL12 (12" extra length) to the Trasco 1000SEL44 (44" extra length). The 1000SEL's were delivered both in very extravagant versions for Arabian Royalty to very sober versions for Far-Eastern bussiness men. Most Trasco limos were based on 500SEL and 560SEL Mercedes, but les powerfull engines weren't uncommon.
This is an early 12 inch stretched Trasco Mercedes 1000SEL12. This Mercedes 500SEL has been stretched in the middle, which leaves the original rear door as it was. In the extra inches there's no window, but Trasco have fitted a small piece of vinyl with a Trasco logo. The car has been sprayed in a color very typical for the early-mid 1980s, a sort of pearl-metallic beige. The wheels are far from standard, but it's not clear what type they are.
The interior of the above Trasco Mercedes stretch limousine. A combination of red leather and velours covers most of the surfaces. A special console for the TV and stereo is placed in the middle, left and right of the console are small storage compartments. Note the Clarion G80 stereo system fitted in the dashboard.
A Trasco 1000SEL 12 in a more discrete version, with stock 2nd generation W126 "Gullideckel" wheels and painted in a standard Mercedes-Benz dark-blue.
This is a another Trasco 1000SEL12 Mercedes-Benz, though of a different flavour. The rear door has been modified and an extra side window has been added to replace the window that used to be in the rear door. From the outside this Trasco 1000SEL looks very discrete, a quick look might not even tell the Mercedes has been stretched.
The front cabin of the same W126 S-class. Cream colored leather covers most parts except the steering wheel and dashboard and the centre console between the front seats is evident.
In the back of the 1000SEL12 there's more cream leather, blue carpets and a large console for a TV with video. The front seats are outfitted with picnic tables.
This is the Trasco 15" stretch limousine based on the W126 S-class. The 1000SEL 15 was stretched between to front and rear door and has as standard (at least seen on almost every car I've seen) a vinyl rooftop and a closed mid-section without a window. This very car looks rather stock with no bodykits or aftermarket rims fitted.
The interior of this Trasco 1000SEL 15 is left stock except for the centreconsole which.....
.....ends in this TV-console for the passengers. Weird enough there is no TV in this one but a slab of leather covering the opening for the TV. Also, there's no stereo in the front so maybe this wasn't the finished product. Picnic tables are fitted and reading light is fitted as well.
Though the Trasco brochure mentions this car as an 18" stretch S-class, there doesn't seem to be any difference between this one and the 15" above when it comes to lenght. Basically the same car, different color.
On the inside it's different though, nothing really odd in the front but.....
.....for the passengers there's a TV / Video system, picnic tables, an armrest with compartment for a telephone, and a division window that separates the driver and passengers. There's a second telephone for communication with the driver.
Back to the REAL 1980's: This earlier Trasco stretch is a 36" conversion of a first generation Mercedes-Benz W126 S-class, probably a 500SEL. This longer 36" model didn't have the typical vinyl cover over the stretched mid-section, as seen on the shorter Trasco's. This very car has many interesting extrerior features such as new front bumper with fog lights, a new rear bumper, ARC-rims sprayed in the same pearl-white as the rest of the car and, very unique, white-wall tyres.
The trunk was debadged and then fitted with a 1000SEL logo in 18k gold. The rear window is of the dicrete-type, as seen on many Hooper Rolls-Royce and Bentley conversions.
As exciting as the outside is, the interior is quite dull: grey leather seats of the stock Mercedes-Benz type. There is a small centre console but that's about it. Looks can be very deceiving!
This could be the same Trasco 1000SEL Mercedes as above, because it shares quite a few features: white-wall tyres, pearl-white paintjob, ARC-rims (though this time with MB-star), new front bumper. However, there's no vinyl rooftop and a different view on the inside.....
....no more dull grey leather but bright red velour everywhere and a huge console for one TV at the back.....
....and one in the front. White curtains match the exterior. This is 80's madness!
This is Trasco's longest: the Trasco 1000SEL 44 with 44 extra inches. As the above white Trasco 1000SEL 36 this one also has new bumpers and ARC-rims with Trasco-logo. The car wears a Trasco grill-logo as well and has two sliding roofs, one for the driver and one for the passengers.
1991: A white Trasco 1000SEL/44 being offered for hire at the Osaka, Japan based Atorie Limousine Club; the club was members-only and allowed you to use a great hoist of special fast and luxurious cars. Notice the fact that the front ARC wheel is missing it's centre cap.
This is a late 1980's/ early 1990's Trasco 1000SEL 44" stretch. Much less spectacular than the above car with stock bumpers and rims, it's still impressive because of it's length.
The interior of this 1000SEL 44 is upholstered in beige leather. There's a side-mounted console with TV and a minibar. A division window is fitted as well.
Text: copyright Bram Corts