Among hundreds of cars that are at least somehow related to Josip Broz Tito, there were six Mercedes-Benz 600 six-door Pullmans, including two out of nine made long-top Landaulets. The only one ever to be sold to a private owner recently reappeared for sale, and with great help of Miroslav Milutinovic's book we're bringing the history of the car and the story of how it ended up sold, and out of former Yugoslavia.
The final six door long top Landaulet was purchased with SSNO’s funds and arrived to the Special auto-unit 17th of May 1971. It was registered as JNA R-1100 and it covered around 21.000km until May 1980, when president Tito died. Under a highly confidential decision of the Cabinet of the supreme commander of the SFRY armed forces, Lazar Koliševski, and without any explanation, the first president of SFRY from November 1980, Brioni islands were given the R-1100 001854 Landaulet, instead of 00896 R-2831 Landaulet, a car that covered three times as more kilometers, was four years older, and a gift from Zagreb Fair. The Landaulet was stationed in Fažana, from where it was occasionally used to pick up rare guests of honor from a nearby Pula airport. Not knowing about the car switch, Technical museum of Slovenia asks Working organization of Brioni in march 1987 to lend them the 1966. Pullman, but Brioni declined.
Tito in Split, Croatia, on his return from a visit to China in September 1977 in a Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman Landaulet Long Top, chassis No. 001854. Also visible are BMW R 75/6 motorcycles of the ceremonial escort.
As soon as the last Mercedes-Benz 600 went into the factory museum in Stuttgart in June 1981, this model gains a classic car status, followed by a price explosion that crashed just several years later. It was a challenge to which Brioni eventually succumbed, because two years later, in June 1989, the 001854 was sold to an anonymous buyer abroad for around 750 000 Deutsche Marks. Later that year, the car went on sale for a price of US$ 2 000 000. When an ad appeared in December 1989 issue of Classic & Sports Car magazine, offering Tito’s car in Norway, it was met with fury, especially in Serbia. Unwillingly, Brioni issued a statement explaining that the car was sold due to “policy of renewing motorized transport”.
Based on various newspaper articles from that time, it was evident that the public didn’t have any clear information, not only about the sold car, but about the number of Mercedes 600s in Yugoslav Army’s possession. More precisely, all institutions and persons involved in the affair tried to cover up the real number of the cars. However, the events that followed the fall of SFRY quickly moved this affair out of the media spotlight.
Mercedes-Benz 600 chassis No. 001854 advertised for sale in Classic and Sports Car in December 1989.
During the following twelve years, 001854 Landaulet had its place in a private Mercedes-Benz collection in Germany. After the collector passed away, the cars were offered for sale via French auction house Artcurial. In February 2003, the Lot 24 was sold for €350 664 to a buyer in Munich.
The car is black with beige interior and exotic rio-palisander woodwoork. Factory options included a DM 1800 Becker Grand Prix Radio with remote controls, ampermeter and altimeter. Mini-bar with four crystal glasses was a part of standard equipment.
Taken from the book "Automobiles and Josip Broz Tito" by Miroslav Milutinovic