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The Mercedes 600 and the Pursuit of Consolation

Lest you imagine breathless warning labels are a new invention, observe this line from the mid-Sixties tome Workshop Handbook, Sort 600 The Grand Mercedes: “It are unable to be as well really pressured that it is mortally unsafe to open up the oil-pressure container!” How did Mercedes find itself in a problem that would need these types of a dire warning? By constructing the world’s most lavish car, the 1963-1981 600 “Grosser” sedan and limo. To meet up with such a lofty goal—and the dreams of celebs, dictators, and movie star dictators—Mercedes included 30 hydraulic switches, 12 double-acting hydraulic cylinders, 10 one-acting cylinders, six self- resetting solitary-performing models, a pump, a reservoir, and an accumulator. Then the firm tied them alongside one another with 1/8-inch-diameter strains arranged to mimic an aerial check out of Byzantium and coursing with hydraulic oil at 2400 psi. That is 2 times the tension of a fireplace hose, nicely previously mentioned the drive wanted to pierce human flesh. Comfortingly, it is nicely down below the strain expected to slash bone. The intention of all this perilous complexity, apart from reinforcing a cliché about German overengineering? Ease and comfort. All of the higher than had been part of the “Comfort Hydraulic” system, which sent silent pressure to electric power-adjustable niceties during the beast. Electric powered motors would have taken up also a great deal place, claimed Mercedes. Enter at your have risk.

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This tale originally appeared in Quantity 6 of Highway & Track.

Hans Jenssen


A. An underhood hydraulic pump, driven off of the 600’s V-8, presents the strain. A modest .7-liter accumulator, loaded with nitrogen and hydraulic oil, conserves enough pressure to open up or shut the home windows 10 moments soon after the motor is turned off.

B. The driver’s door is packed with 4 switches (one particular for just about every aspect window), a hydraulic cylinder for window elevating and lowering (with adjustable pace), and a next cylinder for cinching the doorway shut. Careful with the window-change block a substitution is extra than $11,000. There is also a separate vacuum-operated central locking technique.

C. A row of switches on the center of the dashboard controls the optional power sunroof and retractable partition glass. The other a few switches work the air flow dampers and temperature management.

D. If you’ve usually required hydraulic oil at the strain of a medium-responsibility energy washer specifically around your head, the 600’s optional sunroof has you coated.

E. Each and every six-way adjustable entrance seat includes 3 adjustable-speed switches and four hydraulic cylinders. The rear seats rely on but two cylinders related to switches on the rear doorways for their straightforward adjustment. Positively plebeian!

F. The flip of a steering-column-mounted switch toggles the 4 suspension dampers involving tough and delicate settings. This is not to be puzzled with the suspension’s air-springs, which are aspect of an solely diverse sophisticated process.

G. A one hydraulic cylinder can bring the trunk lid down with stunning force, but it’s adjustable to cut down its finger- smashing probable. If the Comfort and ease Hydraulic technique need to fall short (and how could not it?), there’s a box in the trunk with four wedges to power among the glass and the jambs to retain the home windows up, together with some pins to hold the front seatbacks upright.


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