- State limousines from Mercedes-Benz with long wheelbase and classic seating configuration
- Comfort and innovation are the hallmarks of the premium Pullman
- Mercedes-Benz once gave buses and trucks the noble title of Pullman
Mercedes-Benz can look back on a long tradition of exclusive limousines bearing the name Pullman. In modern usage the term typically denotes a representational vehicle with highly luxurious equipment, extra-long wheelbase and two rows of seats in the rear – the individual seats are generally arranged as two pairs of “vis-à-vis” (facing) seats. The most recent example is the Mercedes-Benz (W 221 series), delivered for the first time at the end of 2008.
Back in 1960, three 300s – the model known popularly as the “Adenauer-Mercedes” – were customised and built to Pullman specifications; Mercedes-Benz offered this body variant as a production model for the first time in the 600 model (W 100 series) in 1963. Over the next few years, Pullman versions of the S-Class 109 and 126 series (special production versions) followed, as well as the 140 and 220 series (both standard).
However, the history of the Pullman limousine body form in automotive engineering goes back much further, although the vehicles from the 1920s and 1930s did not always have a longer wheelbase than standard production models. At the time the Pullman limousine basically denoted an automobile with spacious interior for the purposes of travel and representational engagements, with a partition separating the driver’s seat and front seat bench from the passenger compartment.
The name Pullman originates not from the automotive industry, but from the railway sleeping cars that were built by the American Pullman Palace Car Company from the second half of the nineteenth century. At a later date, omnibuses were also built by the Pullman Co., the name George M. Pullman’s company has operated under since the turn of the twentieth century.
Mercedes-Benz also used the term for vehicles offering a special degree of comfort from the 1930s to the 1950s for cab-over-engine omnibuses, and from the 1950s to the 1970s for trucks with cab-over-engine technology. Today, the term Pullman is still used for buses in various countries in Europe and South America.