Since 1928, Mercedes has been factory modifying many models such as the legendary Pullman 600 or many of the S-classes to follow, to offer various protective elements, in an effort of providing maximum safety for the occupants.
Models such as these and many others have been upgraded with thick layers of bulletproof glass, reinforced panels on the underside of the door, and many other safety features. Features like these are able to withstand larger caliber rounds and even explosives, in some cases.
The first model to offer such protection straight from the factory was the Nurburg 460 model, and Mercedes has only kept improving their safety features since. That’s the primary reason why many of the world’s aristocracy have been rolling in one of these vehicles for decades.
Mercedes Benz 770 (w07)
The Mercedes Benz 770, dubbed the Großer Mercedes (Grand Mercedes) was a full-size Mercedes luxury car built to offer the highest level of comfort and luxury in the 1930s and 40s. The appeal of this model was so high that many of the highest officials from the Third Reich, including Hitler, used them as daily vehicles.
The 770 was incredibly popular among the aristocracy, and because of this Mercedes also started offering the 770 as a bulletproof version. Besides the highest Third Reich officials, 770s were also used by Pope Pius XI and the Japanese emperor Hirohito.
These vehicles offered extensive protective materials such as 40mm steel armor plating in the entire metalwork surrounding the cabin space. The 770 also offered bulletproof glass that was as thick as 1.6 inches. This version of the 770 weighs almost 4.2 tons, and the wheels and tires were also able to withstand multiple different types of attacks.
Type 600/600 Pullman
Probably the most famous Mercedes built for the world leaders was the Pullman 600. The Pullman was introduced in 1963 and instantly soared to the top of the luxury car charts at the time. The Pullman packed a healthy 250hp from its decently reliable V8 engine. The design and the features also helped the Pullman to achieve iconic status.
After a while, the German government requested an armored version of the 600, and Mercedes was set to completely reinvent the “bulletproof” car. The Pullman mostly used steel alloy for the protection of the main surfaces and ceramics for others. Mercedes also worked with different glass manufacturers, as the Pullman needed curved bulletproof glass.
The armored Pullman 600 was the first fully bulletproof model made by Mercedes after World War II, and the car was used during the visit of Queen Elizabeth II. The car that was used by the Queen had a taller special roof so the Queen could keep her hat on when inside the car.
The Mercedes-Benz Guard range
Nowadays, Mercedes also offers factory cars equipped with bulletproof windows and many other protective elements through the Mercedes Benz Guard division. Today’s bulletproof versions are mostly Maybach S650 limousines or the stretched-out Mercedes Pullman S650.
The safest Mercedes car in history is the Mercedes Maybach S650. This version of the S-class received the highest standard of security and was later rewarded with the VR10 ballistic certificate. This certificate is only reserved for the safest civilian cars that money can buy.
The Mercedes Pullman 650 and the “regular” bulletproof S650 were awarded a VR9 certificate, which was still a sign of incredibly high safety standards. The point of these vehicles is to offer the safest possible driving experience, without skimping out on luxury. In addition to being safe, these vehicles are usually completely optioned out with the entire Mercedes Maybach package.
FAQs about bulletproof cars
What are the downsides of bulletproof cars?
These cars are the safest way of transporting the “VIPest” of the VIPs, and you can’t put a price tag on safety. Well, you can because these cars can cost upwards of $1.5 million.
In addition to the sky-high costs, there are other downsides of bulletproof cars as well, including the fact that there is virtually no second-hand market for these cars.
Bulletproof cars are also heavy, fuel-inefficient, lazy to drive, and sometimes even severely compromised when it comes to space. They can’t be serviced at regular dealer service stations, nor can they use regular wheels and tires. All the components on these cars have to adhere to the highest standard of safety, which means they are expensive. Really, really expensive.
Are there any alternatives to the Mercedes Guard program?
There are a few aftermarket companies that try to compete with Mercedes in offering the safest driving experience, but only a few of them can even come close. Some companies like International Armoring Corporation have been in the business of making bulletproof Mercedes cars since the 90s.
Brabus is a company well known for the extensive modifying of many Mercedes models since 1944, and Brabus is the second-largest Mercedes Benz tuner, trailing behind the in-house AMG department. Brabus also offers extensive bulletproof capabilities without any compromises when it comes to luxury.
Brabus currently offers the Brabus Invicto VR6 G-glass Mercedes. This SUV offers VR6 levels of protection, but the key selling point of this G-class is the fact that the armoring and protection are invisible, and you might not even realize it when you see it.
What is the safest bulletproof car in the world?
The safest car in the world is “The Beast,” or the Cadillac limo used by the US president. Cadillac has been making the presidential bunker for decades, and the latest one sure does seem like the safest 4 door car ever to be produced.
The Beast is 100% sealed when it is closed, so no harmful chemicals can ever penetrate the car. The doors of the beast are 8 inches thick and weigh as much as a Boeing 757 door. The doors feature 5 layers of glass and plastic and are completely safe from any armor-piercing rounds.
The entire chassis of the Beast is lined with thick steel plates, and the wheels and tires are steel reinforced. The Beast is capable of driving even if the tires are destroyed. The car is also fitted with blood for the president, a pair of shotguns, tear gas compartments, incredibly advanced GPS and communications systems.