Luxusautos – Mercedes

7 luxury cars I had in the studio

In addition to hundreds of beautiful sports cars, I have also photographed many “classic” luxury cars over the past decades – here I show you a selection of them

Luxusauto aus Deutschland: der Mercedes 600er Pullman

The “big Mercedes”, a 600 Pullman, these luxury cars were only for heads of state and big industrialists

The whole world is talking about “artificial intelligence” around the clock, so I had to treat myself to some time out and have just spent three days in Paris at the classic car fair, the Rétromobile, where the name really does say it all – it’s all retro.

First of all, many of the visitors, because it’s not really about cars, but about luxury cars in the classic sense of the word, and you can still see well-dressed people in stylish outfits, as if T-shirts and jogging bottoms had gone out of fashion, which is really good.

And the retro motto naturally refers primarily to the cars.

Many great contemporary witnesses from over a hundred years of automotive history, which at the time were called the wheat from the chaff, either means to an end or luxury cars. Among them are very special, unimaginably valuable and sensationally beautiful specimens, most of which I have already had in the studio, a small selection of pictures here.

The Maybach 57 and 62 were to redefine the automotive top class, luxury cars made in Germany.

What is a luxury car and what is a sports car?

What I am often asked is why these gems were divided into the categories of sports cars like Porsche, Maserati, Aston Martin or Ferrari and luxury cars like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Jaguar and Rolls Royce, as they were all cool means of transportation and not just built and marketed for the purpose of driving from A to B like Opel, Ford and Volkswagen.

And yet in the end, more or less all of them had to be photographed by me for advertising purposes. Even today, after 50 years of “passion” for automotive photography, as an advertising photographer I am only ever expected to do jobs where the images are needed to sell the product, categorized as used cars, sports cars and luxury cars, and that is true.

But vintage cars, classics and collectors’ vehicles are generally one-offs and are all luxury cars in the true sense of the word.

No one needs them for mobility, but they are all somehow unique.

Britisches Luxusauto: Ein Rolls Royce Dawn

With the Rolls Royce Dawn and the V12 N74 engine, BMW set automotive benchmarks from 2016 to 2023, not only for luxury cars, but especially for the most luxurious convertibles.

The value of a luxury car has also to do with pictures

Emotional and captivating, sometimes even sexy, and if there are still several of the same model around today, it is precisely the car of this owner that has the history that makes it valuable, and part of the value of classic and luxury cars is therefore often good pictures and perfect documentation.

Bentley - the luxury car of the British royal family

The Bentley is considered a luxury car par excellence – the British car manufacturer is purveyor to the British royal family.

Bentley was founded in Cricklewood near London in 1919: Walter Owen Bentley was a passionate racing driver and won several races with cars that he had improved himself.

Together with his brother, he also sold luxury cars with elegant touring bodies that were comparable to Rolls-Royces. Bentley Motors Ltd. only existed for twelve years before it was bought by Rolls Royce in 1931.

Because Bentley had become known as a manufacturer of expensive sports cars, it became the brand name for slightly modified Rolls-Royce vehicles: sportier models bore the Bentley name, while the large Phantom saloons were sold as Rolls-Royces. Other models differed basically only in their radiator grille and the radiator figure as well as the brand lettering.

In 1998, Rolls Royce (now under the parent company Vickers) was sold to Volkswagen AG, which also transferred the Bentley luxury brand to Volkswagen.

One of the most famous Bentleys is the “Bentley State Limousine”, which was built for Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee in 2002.

Luxusauto aus Italien: Der Maserati

Quattroporte has stood for luxurious travel with Italian flair since 1963. When Maserati presented the new Quattroprte in 2013, the highly competitive luxury saloon market finally had a new rival.

Some collectors let make a book for every luxury car

One of the people I spoke to in Paris has several such unique collector’s items and has a separate book made of each “object”. If I were to shout the word “luxury car” at him, he would be offended, because his treasures and those of most collectors come to Leonberg from all over the world for just one purpose, simply for a unique photo shoot.

Sometimes these collector’s items fight over the longest flight, one old Maybach comes from Hawaii, the other Aston Martin from Australia, and an SSKL from Japan was already on the shipping documents.

Der Mercedes, das deutsche Luxusauto

Mercedes - the German luxury car

Since the invention of the automobile (on January 29, 1886, Carl Benz applied for a patent for his “vehicle with gas engine operation”), Mercedes has stood for the automotive luxury class. No other manufacturer has built as many luxury cars in its portfolio over almost 140 years as the brand with the three-pointed star. And although I have only been able to photograph almost every new model since the seventies, the luxury class cars have always been my special stars in front of the camera.

You can simply do more and different things with these luxury cars, they are not necessarily practical and should pose in front of the supermarket and they are often not the fastest on the racetrack either. But they are elegant, they are shapely, and they represent a world of elegance and sometimes even power, they give and deserve respect. The CLS pictured here is a prime example of design and elegance, a sculpture on four wheels.

The W126 was the S-Class of the eighties, built from 1979 to 1991, unmistakably the shape from the pen of Bruno Sacco.

Photographs can increase the value of a Driving luxury cars to new heights

And so I’m always delighted when I come across a photo object I’ve grown fond of again at a trade fair like this – usually the value called up is several times higher than when I photographed the vehicle.

And as I am currently delivering two more book projects, with racing cars in the seven-figure euro range, I can well imagine that they too will one day reach eight figures.

As is well known, the record is held by the300 SLR Uhlenhaut.

The Jaguar XJR is and was the symbol of sporty gliding and a perfect driving experience, the luxury car for sports car feelings

The word luxury car has gone out of fashion

And yet none of these collector’s items talk about luxury cars, because the word luxury has gone out of fashion, the word luxury used to stand for something better, something special, but today it sounds like a qualification.

And in a society where the poorest non-worker gets almost as much as someone who works hard, luxury as a word is frowned upon, and luxury as an attachment to cars that you don’t need is the old word luxury cars, which is strictly avoided.

After all, collector’s cars are one man’s bread and butter and another man’s art, so we’re no longer talking about money, but about investment or return, so the word luxury car is outdated. When choosing a new car, we decide between a resource-saving, sustainable investment or the high-yield investment model, and this is where I come back into the picture.

The luxury car par excellence - the Rolls Royce

Although I have had countless luxury cars in front of my camera lens in over fifty years, the Rolls Royce gems have always been particularly characterized by their aura of being the spearhead of this genre. It was and still is Rolls Royce, a name that has earned this reputation over the long history of the company in good and bad times with more and sometimes less innovative models. And since BMW has been responsible for the brand, the technical innovations have also left nothing to be desired by customers. This studio recording from 2013 shows that such “perfect works of art” can be staged with very few surroundings, that the form, dominance and aesthetics alone are effective in their own right.

Private shooting of luxury car is an investment

That’s why my “private shoots” of sports cars and luxury cars are not only a good investment for the client, they are also a playground for me to bring in my core competence, namely real staging.

Photography with light and feeling, captured on pixels and no longer on film, but staged and realized by hand. Enjoy the picture gallery, it’s a small selection of all the luxury cars in Paris and what I’ve had in my studio over the past decades.

Porsche 356 - Carrera

Luxury of a different kind - the Porsche 356

Strictly speaking a sports car – and certainly a luxury car at the same time: the Porsche 356 Carrera GTL Abarth is the most expensive Porsche 356 ever built. It was built in 1960 and belonged to the French collector Claude Picasso, who died in 2023.

The Porsche 356 was the first production car from Porsche – you can find everything about the model of the 50s and 60s  here in a separate article.