The Org
Serving W116 Enthusiasts since 2004!

Main Menu

Black S-class for presidential use

Started by s class, 06 April 2006, 01:55 AM

s class

Traditionally, many Southern African states use black S-class as their presidential fleet.  Often these are sent to South Africa for maintenance.  Recently my local dealership had in 3 foreign W126 380SEL's in black for general overhaul.  They were fully bullet proofed!!!!.  All the glass looked like the stuff you see on cash-in-transit vans, and they had special heavy chrome beading to cover the edges of the glass.  They seemed to have heavy duty suspension and 6-ply light truck tyres (for the load rating I guess).  I imagine the performance and fuel econonmy isn't too good. 

Its a point of debate and joking that some of these states can't even afford maize to feed their people, yet they always have a presidential fleet of black S-class.  Recently though I have seen the 7 series making inroads which is quite sad actually. 

I grew up in a small town and as I kid I remember that the mayor had a black W116 280S.  I suppose only bigger towns had 350SE.  Anyway, I remember in about 1987 it was traded in for a black W126 420SE. 

What's the situation like overseas?

[color=blue]'76 6.9 Euro[/color], [color=red]'78 6.9 AMG[/color], '80 280SE, [color=brown]'74 350SE[/color], [color=black]'82 500SEL euro full hydro, '83 500SEL euro full hydro [/color], '81 500SL


Quote from: s class on 06 April 2006, 01:55 AM... the mayor had a black W116 280S. ... What's the situation like overseas?

Unless one was Lord Mayor of one of our state capitals, any (other) mayor would be a fool to drive an expensive or ostentatious car if it were supplied by the council (i.e. local government); s/he'd be a short-term councillor / mayor!

Usually our mayors drive their own cars, receiving a mileage allowance (if they're lucky) for any distances covered on council business. The petty powermongering of local government in Oz isn't rewarded with salaries and perks; it is, at best, a part-time amusement with a relatively small allowance. Most councillors have other incomes (either as professionals, merchants, farmers, landlords, whatever); at best, serving on local government might be a first step to running for state or federal politricks. We are cursed with three tiers of government, none of which are worth the ballot papers their names are printed on - but I guess that's the nature of politricks.

At state and federal government levels, we now rarely see classy cars. State Premiers, the Prime Miniature, and federal senior ministers are driven about in Holden Statemans (a slightly stretched and better trimmed version of the standard GM family hackmobile): no class at all!  In earlier times, there was the occasional Benz, but more frequently we showed our British heritage by using Rollers, Bentleys, and Daimlers (of the British variety)  for high officials. As far as I know, the only such official chariots still in service here are those for Vice-Regal office-bearers - the state governors and the Oz Governor-General (deputies of the Queen); these tend to be '80s and earlier Rollers etc.

As I had no interest in the recent Commonwealth Games, I don't know what Mrs Betty Windsor was chauffered around in on her recent visit, but it's traditionally been the Royal Roller or Daimler. I do recall a visit she made somewhere (but doubt that it was Oz) in the (I think) '70s - maybe '80s - where she was paraded in an M-B 600 Landaulet - to considerable shock-horror-scandal that she was carried in a machine of her (alleged) former enemy nation. (She does - or did - own Benzes herself, though she's careful not to flash them around too much at "home".)

I have yet to realise my goal of a black (with red trim) Fintail - preferably a 300SEL.
[img width=340 height=138][url=""][/url][/img]

s class


Thanks, its interesting to get some insight into what other countries do.

A couple of years ago I answered an advert for a "nice clean 500SE" W126.  When I go there it was in maroon paint with whitewall truck tyres, chrome wheel arch trims an fur on the dashboard.  The salesman at the dealership proudly told me that it had been Nelson Mandela's son's car.  I never verified this as the car was in fairly shabby condition.  I'm still not sure if its supposed heritage should lower or raise the car's value. 

Recently I saw Winnie Mandela in transit with her entourage.  THree or four black 3 series in front with bodyguards, then the main party in a black W220 and black 7 series, then some more black 3 series and 4 wheel drive vehicles of the Pajero ilk - also for more "heavies".  Certainly not travelling in a discrete manner..... - BTW most of the bodyguards were white dudes with shaved heads and suits. 

About 5 years ago I was considering purchase of a 1973 W116 280S.  It was black, genuine 110 000km, parchment leather in absloutely mint condition.  Problem was - carb engine, poverty spec (no wood, no aircon, no electric windows, no central locking), plus the asking was about ZAR 20 000 (US$ 3000) - and at the time I was a trainee engineer earning a pittance.  The car was genuinely ex-mayors car from the twon concerned - a very small town in the Free State (S.A midlands).  It even had the hood emblem replaced with a little post supporting a chrome triangle flag with the city crest. 

Ryan in S.A.

[color=blue]'76 6.9 Euro[/color], [color=red]'78 6.9 AMG[/color], '80 280SE, [color=brown]'74 350SE[/color], [color=black]'82 500SEL euro full hydro, '83 500SEL euro full hydro [/color], '81 500SL


In the mid to late 90's. BMW sold a model called the 740i Protection. This was a standard out of the factory 740i with bullet proof windows, heavy duty suspension and run flat tires. So it's no surprise that BMW is making headway. I have seen a couple of bullet proof W126's around in London with the Armored truck windows. I don't think those windows roll down.

With best regards

Dallas, TX USA.


Considering the cheap prices of used S-class a few years back.  There shouldn't be any excuse for the government to get anything other than S-class, except for France where they insist on big Citroens.  Probably one of the reasons for the new C6 is for this purpose, and about time too, since the president's CX prestige might be getting a bit long in the tooth.

In recently read a Hong Kong car magazine, a tidy W140 600SEL was sold for about £2000.

Used cars have never been cheaper, but I doubt goverment officials would buy used cars, not even in Africa?


Hi fellows

OK, hokman seems to want some french input  ;D

The C6 is a nice car but besides my not liking its looks, Citroen has never really ironed out its reliability problems, they just add another layer of technology once they have sorted the reliability of the last layer  ::)

So in the last 8 years, the french government car has been the Peugeot 607, a kind of french E class using a 3 liter V6, and at least they are reliable.

It could have been very different. Back in 1962, Jean Daninos approached General de Gaulle for support of Facel Vega, Daninos told the general that his big V8 cars would make lovely official state cars. Anyone having seen the incredible interior of an HK500 has to agree. So what happened ? the general looked under the hood and saw that the car was powered by a Chrysler hemi V8 (the famous 392) and said he would not fund a company that used american engines !!! That was the end, Facel Vega went out of business two years later.

Some national hero he had there  :(


Paris, France


Here in the heartland of the US, the City of St. Louis has a fleet of black Ford Crown Victoria's and Mercury Grand Marquis sedans for the mayor and other elected officials.  When big-time national politicians come to town, look out, there will be black Suburbans and those silly armored personnel carriers masquerading as Cadillac limo's.  The traffic jams they create are such that one almost never sees the actual motorcade, just hears the traffic report on the radio, announcing that traffic is snarled. 


Quote from: OzBenzHead on 06 April 2006, 07:27 AM
I have yet to realise my goal of a black (with red trim) Fintail - preferably a 300SEL.

I wish I knew that last year.  There was a finnie in Brisbane on Carpoint last year.  Can't remember exact model but it was a 4 door black and red about $5k. It looked great.  Mind you, a pillarless would look better unlike the price which would be $20k more.

For years, Aussie federal and state and even our mayor drives Ford or Holden, Fairlanes and Statesmans and usually white.   As mentioned in another post, "Gough Whitlam (former sacked PM of Oz) rolling up to the steps at old parliament house in a 450sel when he made the "God save the queen, because nothing will save the Govenor General", speech."  I'm assuming after Gough left the feds got fairlane 500's or statesman devilles.

With Richard Carlton (well known journalist) dying recently at the Beaconsfield Mine rescue, some footage of his past was shown including him as a younger reporter standing behind Gough as the speech was made.  Unfortunately, they didn't show Gough arriving or leaving. 

In the 70's it seems embassys in Oz also used 116's.  Or at least one I can confirm.  I have the original delivery slip from York Star Motors in Sydney of a 1978 450sel to the Royal Thai embassy in Canberra.  Astral Silver with blue trim, no black.  I got a bunch of other docs and the manuals with this find and I've often wondered where the car is now and who travelled in it.  Tracking the heritage of important 116's, now that would get you some sort of honarary PhD.
1973 350SE, my first & fave