November 1980, Germany. A wealthy customer from an exotic country comes to Rainer and Dieter Buchmann's "B+B Auto Exlusive" tuning-company. He’s looking for a car, but not just a car….
The car had to be a one-off and should be distinctively look like one. The car was to be converted in 1930’s style and on both sides a footboard had to be placed which was able to carry the weight of a grown man. Money was not an issue.
The car used was a brand new 1980 Mercedes-Benz 600 (W100 model), one of the final cars made of this type. The car was to be converted in four months time. The owner, King Khalid of Saudi Arabia, wanted the car to be painted in signal red with white dots the size of pencil points. Rainer Buchmann, the owner of BB Auto Exclusiv, managed to persuade the man forget about this crazy paintjob and paint the car a more decent dark-red. On both sides of the car footboards were installed so bodyguards could ride on the outside of the car. Because the footboards were protruding 30cm from the car, Buchmann had to find a way to elegantly disguise them. The solution was found in adding new fenders which gave the car it's distinctive old-skool look. A bit like the cars made by Clenet, Panther and Excalibur. With these new fenders and footboards the car was a wide as a lorry. On top of that Buchmann removed the front axle and placed them even further to the front, thus increasing the wheelbase by 70cm. The front- and rear axles were not the standard ones, but completely new ones as was the stearing-system and the engine-compartment. All this was achieved with some difficulties along the way.
The interior of this very special Mercedes 600 remained virtually unharmed. Not that it was anything of a poor-man’s interior, because the standard interior of the 600 was already among the best you could get. Officially a price of the car was never published but it was rumored to be about 350.000 DM, which was about the same as the SGS Royale made a five years later by Styling-Garage. In some period magazines the man who ordered the car was to remain nameless, however others stated that the King of Saudi Arabia, King Khalid, ordered the car. All we know for sure he already had a collection of 90 cars and this Mercedes 600 was one of nine of the same type……..Those Crazy 80s!!!
Love it or hate it: Buchmann's Mercedes-Benz 600 (W100) as converted for King Khalid in 1980. It's very clear the car has a classic theme, using all kinds of style elements from the Mercedes-Benz cars from the 1930s.
The B+B Mercedes 600 as seen from the side. It's clear from this view the front axle has been moved further to the front of the car which increases the wheel base. Note the handle bar on the roof......
....which is used by bodyguards standing on the footboards.
The Buchmann Mercedes-Benz 600 as seen from the front. New old-skool chrome bumpers and big headlights, together with the new fenders make it look like a real 1930's car.
The rear view of King Khalid's Mercedes 600 shows how much wider the car has become. Also note the big spare-tire holder.
The interior of the B+B Mercedes 600 was as delivered from the Mercedes factory.
Text: copyright Bram Corts 2013