REVIEW: CMC Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman (W100) •

REVIEW: CMC Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman (W100)

Words courtesy of Karsten Weiss & Photos Bart Motte


Introduced to the public at the Frankfurt Motor Show IAA in 1963, the “Grosser” (Grand) Mercedes 600 Pullman was the ultimate in luxury that Mercedes built after Germany´s “Wirtschaftswunder”, its swift and miraculous economic recovery from WW2´s devastation in the 1950s. Only rivalled by Rolls Royce, Bentley and American marques such as Cadillac, its development from 1956 was a “money no object” prestige project full of innovations for Mercedes. Many functions were operated hydraulically or pneumatically like suspension settings and closing the boot at the touch of a button. It received the biggest German contemporary car engine, a 6.3 litre V8 that propelled the unarmoured version of this 6.24 metre, 2.7 ton behemoth to 62mph in 12 seconds and maxed at a respectable 120 mph. State limousines, however, will most likely have been armoured and then reached 4.4 tons.

Built from 1963 to 1981, this stretch limousine will be remembered differently in different parts of the world. For too many, it will be a chilling reminder of some dictator´s or tyrant´s indulgence in luxuries at his oppressed people´s expense that – despite its price tag equalling a sizeable detached family home – never created a financial profit for Mercedes. Instead, it did the automaker a great service for its reputation … and that of the young (western) German republic. Matching its modesty of choosing small town Bonn as its provisional capital, the German government never owned this state limousine in its fleet, but had to borrow one (+ a driver, an identical second reserve limo and service entourage) from the manufacturer each time an honoured guest was lucky enough to be treated to be ferried around in it… that is one of its versions.

With its first release CMC portrays the 6-door version with folding, front-facing rear seat front of the rear bench and thus differs from AUTOart´s 4-door, opposite rear benches version. Admittedly, this bus-like setting does not seem very stately. In contrast to AUTOart, CMC´s limousine offers screw-on (metal) flag-poles to lend diplomatic status to its model (and adding ship-model textile flags is much recommended). The extendable telescopic antenna and three-dimensionally embossed number plates instead of 2D are more features that show CMC´s unsurprisingly typical attention to detail.

Of course, as to be expected, this is not the only difference of a CMC model over its AUTOart counterpart. With CMC, collectors have long come to be used to the fact, that the wheels are detachable, screwed on with tiny nuts that you can remove with a tool supplied in a small extra metal box. That´s where you´ll find the metal hub caps, too, that must be magnetically attached to complete the elegant picture of the wheel and its correctly branded whitewall tires. Some found fault with gaps of the opening parts on early samples, but it is good and proper that CMC supplies an innovative suction-cup-opening-tool to gain access to the boot and the spare wheel in it if you really wish to perform a wheel change. Most definitely one of the usual opening tools won´t do and you´ll want to use this on other models, too. Unfortunately, the boot lid does not stay open on mine and heavily falls close, the price of diecast I am willing to pay.

Once having moved all the distance to the rear end, let´s complete this by giving due credit to the crystal clear taillight lenses and sharply distinguished light European light cluster of different reds, white rears and amber direction indicators underneath, all framed in chrome that like all the rest of the rich chrome trim does not look as if it was plastic. To the right of the license plate, a fuel flap will open to give access to a non-removable filler cap. Protruding from underneath the car are two real metal, hollow tail-pipe mufflers with trumpet-like openings.  In the rear windows, you can see the real cloth curtains that were meant to offer some privacy in the period-correct absence of smoked windows. These cannot be and would not have been closed, as state visitors wanted to be seen and photographed travelling in this car (the German limos had an orange interior light following a press request so that visiting heads of state don´t look so pale in the papers).

Opening the doors is as great a moment as in every state-visit, model-wise not because of celebrity status occupants but the sumptuous interior. Here the car is the star: a carpeted floor has become a matter of course on high-end models, but real leather on seats, headrests, door trim, footrests, the armrests of the doors and the downfolding centre-armrest, as well as the dash and the parcel shelf, is what sets CMC apart from any other manufacturer. Even the front-facing folding seats are functional and leather-clad. The wood trim veneer pattern is the benchmark. All the air-con openings are perforated, even in the doors´ armrests and the wood veneer section of the parcel shelf. Some have complained about the windows being too thick, but I fail to see the point … without resorting to excuses as reminding readers that armoured glass would have been arm-thick. On the contrary, the folding extra wind-deflectors and the front door opening triangular section are very delicate. What might appear a little thick is how interior wood trim and exterior chrome frame sandwich the window into a double burger with the door ajar.

This all sounds as if it could not get any better… before you pop the hood and the metal perforated radiator grille. This is done through a scaled-down replication of the opening mechanism, including a spring either side to keep the hood ajar. If you are usually disappointed with what is under the hood of a scale model, I promise, you won´t be here. There is an abundance of depth and detail, not only the V8 but all the technology behind the hydraulics, pneumatics, air-con, etc. that made the Grand Mercedes the company´s flagship technically. There is more to discover in scale than what some cars of this period had for real.

If you are not convinced and you don´t want this very badly by now, you are either excused for this just not fitting your collection theme. Or you just might not want this version, but the same in golden brown or the upcoming even more exclusive Landaulet version featuring a folding real cloth top. Or you may be hoping for the later addition of a four-door, opposite benches version with an opening sunroof. Or you already own the AUTOart that is traded for more than a thousand Euros by now. For anyone who missed out on this Mercedes so far, CMC´s price policy must seem like a bargain by comparison. Or you are on a budget and have the Sun Star instead. So there are lots of good reasons for not buying this. Don´t be discouraged, though, if none of these reasons apply to you: I have no regrets whatsoever to have bought this. If you regret to have missed out on the AUTOart until prices went through the roof, this is how fate gives you a second chance and rewards you for your patience. CMC´s Mercedes 600 Pullman deserves pole position at the red carpet.

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27 Responses to "REVIEW: CMC Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman (W100)"

  1. DS Team says:

    Karsten great review, admirable passion! As for the model, it definitely doesn’t fit everyone’s theme, however, we hope they can appreciate the level of detail throughout this CMC classic!

    Bart your photography skills are unmatched. The Black background is very fitting, though we enjoyed the garage setting too! Thank you for extending the team a hand.

  2. Jaro says:

    I have over 20 cmc models but i won’t buy this one. This is shitty review of poor model. CMC doesn’t care about quality control in this model. There are: awful wheel negative, glue traces, many overscaled details. It looks crappy.

    • DS Team says:

      Hi, “shitty” is a strong word. PLEASE note the write-up and photos come from too different collectors, so perspective will be different. Please refrain from such language and respect the fact that each element of the review words and photos are truly from a collector perspective and it takes a community effort, time and scarfice to coordinate.

      • Jaro says:

        Ok, I admit that it is unpleasant word. However, it is easy to notice the disadvantages of the model and it is unacceptable at such a high price. We shouldn’t write well about weak model.

        • DS Team says:

          Absolutely! We encourage collectors to share their perspective, hopefully this will keep the manufacturer honest and or sway others from purchase. Again, we’ve reached out to Bart, we like to hear from him. There is a possibly the photos might be based on a pre-produyction media sample…

          • DS Team says:

            We’ve heard back from Bart. This is in fact new, from his personal collection. He admits it is not perfect but happy with the results. In no way shape or form are we defnding CMC, but the level of perfection differs by each individual At $1000 CND, we do belive it should be perfect.

        • Karsten says:

          I have not written the review about the particular model pictured here and agree to find the issues with it unacceptable. I returned models to retailers for less. However, these issues are absent on my personal model, hence no mention of them in my write-up. It is unfortunate that my review is published with photos of a less than perfect example of the model so that I look as if I was condoning bad quality. Please consult other pictures out their for a fairer judgement. Thank you!

  3. Karsten says:

    The issues with wheels, doors not closing properly and flag poles, particularly the right-hand side in direction of travel, not being 100% upright cannot be found on my model on which the write-up is based, hence no mention.

    CMC issued a statement before Christmas, though, and informed retailers that the first shipment suffered heavy damage and delivery would be delayed because they had to check each and every model separately for damage and expected that most of them could no longer be offered for sale. It might well be that some slipped through the net. I am sure, given the circumstances, CMC will try and satisfy dissatisfied customers.

    • Atalante says:

      Also for North America CMC has not released any of the Pullman models and they confirmed they are making some changes ”to ensure complete satisfaction”. Hopefully known assembly/QC issues will be resolved for the models shipped in NA but it is a shame that other countries received defective models.

      • DS Team says:

        Speaking from a North American retailer side, we hear CMC NA service level is horrible and dismissing… Something we wouldn’t believe if we did not see the evidence for our selves. At this price point, you need to expect nothing less than flawless from QC perspective.

  4. Charlie says:

    This my biggest complaint with CMC- their North American arm. Absolutely terrible to deal with. I had a D50 that was riddled with issues, and CMC NA treated me in a terrible manner. As a result, I no longer buy CMC products. I consider myself very lucky to be able to drop $500+ on a diecast car, but I refuse to be treated in the contemptuous manner that CMC NA has adopted. I would suggest that CMC look no further than Tony K, and Exoto as an example. Despite making a fantastic product, Exoto has been circling the drain for years.Why? Because Tony treats his customers with an animosity rarely seen in a business. Why does CMC GMBH allow the NA arm treat their customers in this manner? This new Mercedes is right in my wheelhouse, but $700 is a big ask knowing if I have a problem I’m essentially stuck.

  5. Vitaliy D says:

    Great review of a great model, thank you!
    As for me, this model too big and too costly – but hey, if AutoArt wants about 300 euros for its plastic toys which are refined outside and poor inside, then CMC models definitely worth their money, taking into account their high level of execution and detailing, as well as their usage of premium materials!

  6. V8fan says:

    I bought two new CMC models (Ferrari 250 GTO and Jaguar C-type) last year. Parts of the Ferrari’s engine were missing and I had to send it back to the dealer. As the model was factory-sealed, I also informed CMC’s customer service who never replied to my dozen of emails to them. After 6 months, the dealer exchanged the model. The new model’s engine was ok but paint was deeply flawed. I finally decided to keep it as I had no guarantee the third model would be any better. The C-type (factory sealed) came with a bent wheel axis. As I have become desperate with CMC’s quality control and customer service, I decided to keep it. If CMC don’t improve their quality control and customer service, they will be soon belly up !

    • Kevin says:

      I want to start a discussion on how come CMC goes downhill this fast while the price goes up even faster. What is wrong with the industry?

      CMC’s 2003 SLR in 1:18 scale is not without a flaw but absolutely ahead of other manufactures in 2005. I was lucky enough to have 3 before 2008 for 200-ish dollars each. In my eye, this Pullman, for 900 dollars price, is not even at the same level of details of 2005 CMC SLR.

      First off, the entire interior is covered with really fake-leather-looking plastics, especially the doors. The ceiling of the real car is covered with some soft material, like texture or leather (depend on the model), I assume this model is just a piece of plastic on the ceiling? The truck of the real car is also covered with real leather, but in this model, it’s just a piece of gray molded plastic.

      Second, a lot of things look out-of-scale as mentioned by many other people here.
      Third, I was expecting a more functional chassis, like a rotating propellor shaft, but it’s not there.

      • DS Team says:

        This slippery slope of ever-increasing prices with less detail isn’t new, the trend of the last few years. Cost to produce has gone up across the board, and we assume operating margins need to remain the same. This model here in Canada after tax is well north of $1000. We haven’t seen one in the flesh, however, based on detailed images and collector feedback this model isn’t worth the price tag. At the end of the day, vote with your wallet!

  7. MLB says:

    Aside from all the mentioned QC problems with overall fit and finish, this Mercedes also suffers from heavy handed use of real leather, which is just not a good or accurate representation in scale. It might sound great to some, to be able to say, it has a real leather interior, but the quality, heaviness, and grain of the leather are terrible. Various other parts are also too heavy-handed and out of scale…. steering wheel rim and its horn ring, Mercedes star radiator cap/ornament, sun visors, and other bits. The engine is very detailed, but some of the parts just look like cheap plastic. I think that they will have a difficult time maintaining good QC on these Pullman models.

    With a MSRP of close to $900.US for a mass produced model… these should be much better, and have No issues.

    The old AutoArt Pullman models appeared to be much better overall; certainly nowhere near as detailed, but they had the right look, and most all components were scaled accurately, etc.

    Some CMC models are better than others, not all their models are good or worth the money… not when seriously flawed and over produced. I have 10 of their 1:18 models in my collection, and have seen & reviewed most all the rest including their 1:24 and 1:12 models. There were a few others I’ve considered, but they had far too many problems – were just not good enough to spend any money on.

    I agree with Charlie about their US customer service, and how customers have been and should be treated, but…. don’t expect it to get better anytime soon. It is run by one of the partners in the company, who is based in NY.

  8. jazzy426 says:

    Thanks for these close up photos are detailed write up. I presume this is the released version right (no more prototype samples?)

    I gotta say my first impression upon looking at these photos Sunstar comes to mind. Somehow it feels like this is simply an “upgraded” version of the Sunstar version. Somehow something feels “missing” from the typical CMC models i come to know and adore… or maybe we just set ourselves up for too much expectation? Maybe it is just me but on photos the much older Autoart version still looks more polished somehow. Regardless the amount of details on this CMC is still impressive.. just that i dont feel it is on par with their other CMC releases…

  9. Vladimirijnekov says:

    After following every step in this model’s development (since it was announced, and since I never had the chance to get the AutoArt Pullman), I carefully studied every available photo of the production model and I am far from satisfied. Obviously, the level of detail and functioning parts is high, but…..The overall lack of finnesse and even accuracy is simply not acceptable. Like some said above, the roof lining is terrible (and not accurate), the wood grain is at Sun Star levels, the plastic “leather” on the top of the dash is toy-like, the horn ring is bad, the rear head rest are done badly (plus I suspect they’re in plastic and not leather) and so on…..As for the exterior, the front headlights are shaped wrong (too narrow at the bottom), the star on the rad is way too big, the perforated grill is again at SunStar (non Platinum!) levels…..And so on, again.

    Personally, where CMC shines, mainly engines, wire wheels and stuff like this, does not apply to the 600 Mercedes. This model has to shine through finnesse and perfection everywhere. No one really displays it with the bonnet open….

    So, to conclude, personally I think the Auto Art 600 still beats this one down without much problem. It too has real leather interior (done better anyway) and the level of finnesse and accuracy (and coherence throughout its production run)

    I guess this one was supposed to push down the prices of the AutoArt 600s out there. But since it fails to reach its overall quality, AA’s will still be on the up.

    In the end, since this one was announced 2 years ago, I managed to get a good deal on an AA SWB 600….

  10. Yuri says:

    Since many here are offloading on CMC, I’ll pitch in as well. I have 12 of their models; all of them mostly flawless. It only took – two models I had to return and replace 4 (four) times, then another three only 3 (three) exchanges, and only 2 models out of 12 I retained as they were the first time I bought them. I really feel for the collectors who ended up with the models I returned. For the price they are asking, this should not be happening. The quality of CMC is VERY inconsistent – I always imagine that with their “assemblers” seating side by side, one has a good pair of hands, and the other has hands growing out of backside, but since this is happening in China and they could be relatives, nothing about this is being done. So, yes, you get an excellent model and a terrible one in the same batch! I still buy CMC when the fancy strikes me, BUT I treat it like a lottery ticket – might be a winner or a looser! My suggestion – well, INSPECT the model you receive and do not settle down for minor flaws. If they start encountering difficulty “shifting” defective flawed merchandise, they just might try to do something about this. Hit where it hurts – their pocket. Cheers!

  11. DS Team says:

    “My suggestion – well, INSPECT the model you receive and do not settle down for minor flaws. If they start encountering difficulty “shifting” defective flawed merchandise,”

    100% agree! Don’t settle. If the model doesn’t meet your standards, return or replacement!

  12. Kevin says:

    To Yuri’s point, I totally agree, which is why whenever I buy CMC i only do so in-store so that I could examine the model before purchase. This was a thing about CMC since the beginning, like in the early 2000s’. I always consider this as a painful part of this hobby. Exoto also has the QC issue but not as bad. At some point I was so frustrated that I even want to buy parts to assemble the model myself.
    Another problem is that, after decades of collection, some of my early model cars begin to have paint rash, which sucks.

  13. Dean says:

    I have always admired this offering from Mercedes Benz. I own one other CMC model, the 300D, grey with red interior. Flawless automobile. I went over to the CMC website for more images. There is a closeup of the interior on the brown model. I can’t say the same about this one. Right away, I can see that the grain of the leather is not consistent with the original, and is out of scale with the size of the model. A smoother grain would look more realistic. The engine bay is outstanding. If I was considering acquisition, the interior would stop me.

  14. Al says:

    I got the Landaulet version, absolute brilliant because it so detailed, normaly I buy only the race types from cmc but this model is to beautiful to ignore for a cmc fan like me.

    • Mark says:

      Complete Junk….I own the tan limited version and the blue version, both had Severe quality control issues right out of the box….i had to send both of them back and in return they sent same crap…..Buff marks on paint, Roof Mechanism not working properly, Glue marks all over the model, wobbly wheels and Finger prints all over the model.

      In my hobest opinion, this is the WORST model that CMC has produced to date, absolute Junk.

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