Cars in the movies: Trading Places
- Federico Riccardo
Mercedes 600 Grosser, the car from the movie "Trading Places" Christmas movies are back and among many there is invariably "Trading places” " with Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. In the movie appears Mercedes 600 Grosser.It's 1997 and at Mediaset the schedule programmers don't have a clear idea of what to broadcast on the evening of Christmas Eve on Italia1. Until one of them comes up with an idea that will prove to be successful: broadcasting "Trading places", a famous film directed by John Landis - historical director of 80s films such as "The Blues Brothers" and "An American Werewolf in London” – with two performers who couldn't get more 80s than this: Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy.
It is not clear if there is a strategy behind this decision or if it is rather a coincidence. The fact is that the film has been broadcast every Christmas Eve for twenty-five years now, recording audience records every year. Today in Italy it's not Christmas Eve without this movie on Tv. An incredibly long-lived tradition that continues to excite the viewer.The plot is well known: at the center there is the "exchange of lives" between the very rich Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) and Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy), a homeless cheater, thanks to a one-dollar bet between the elderly brothers Mortimer and Randolph Duke. Winthorpe then becomes very poor while Billy Ray discovers that he has a nose for business, but at the end of the film the two brothers' bluff will providentially be revealed.
In the movie, whose original name was "Black and White", later modified, the luxury and wealth of Winthorpe's character, a stockbroker, is well underlined by his car: a Mercedes 600 Grosser, a limousine whose design dates back to year 1963. From the very first scenes we see Winthorpe getting into the car with a haughty attitude (they even have to open the door for him otherwise he won't get in). In the first version, the car was equipped with a 250 horsepower engine which allowed a maximum speed of 205 km/h. A few months later, the German government asked the automaker to also produce a bulletproof version for state visits. However, this request had to allow for complete armoring of the bodywork and therefore for a reinvention of the materials for armoring the bodywork: double layer of steel, ceramic in the parts with flatter surfaces, glass with a new design with more curved lines.Since the weight of the bulletproof version was significant compared to the 1963 versions, a hydraulic system was activated with a button inside the doors which was also able to regulate the opening of the rear doors and the trunk.
A second generation of bulletproof Mercedes 600 Grosser was then produced starting from 1981. No longer aimed only at heads of state but also for private citizens.An imposing, elegant and pungent car, dedicated to people of prominence and high social class such as the stockbroker Winthorpe. A real status symbol able to go through different periods of history and remain engraved in the memory of every Christmas movie enthusiast.