After 73 years of Independence, India is still considered to be one of the developing nations as building a country’s economy is easier said than done. The economy was exploited during the British rule for decades and it had to be rebuilt post Independence. The wealth and status can be seen in different areas, one of them regarding the official car used by the President of India.
The official vehicles used by different Presidents and Prime Ministers of various states are not merely a means of transport but also a statement of the wealth, power, and status of the respective country. As a reason for which, such high-ranked dignitaries uses the top-class vehicles for their travel. Presently, the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind uses a Mercedes-Benz S-Class Limousine S600 Pullman Guard as his official car. This S-class Limousine is 21.3-foot long and has served the predecessors including Pranab Mukherjee and Pratibha Patil.
Speaking of the Mercedes-Benz S-class Limousine, it wasn’t the first choice of the Indian Presidents. The first Indian President to choose an S-Class Limousine W140 as his official car was Shankar Dayal Sharma who served between the years 1992 and 1997. The S-class Limousine W140 was equipped with many security and safety features and was grenade and bulletproof as well, making it an ideal choice for the head of states. The Mercedes S-class Limousine W140 offered 2 engine options: V8 which was used in the standard variants and V12 engine which was the choice for the armored vehicles for its usage by high-ranked dignitaries.
Though the S-Class Limousine offers a standard list of security and safety features, it can also be customized as per their requirements making each model different from the other lot. Since these vehicles are being used by high-class dignitaries for their official purpose, the exact specifications of the same are kept as a secret and are not revealed under any situation as it can cause threat and raise a question regarding the safety of the President. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class Limousine W140 was also the official car of K.R.Narayanan, APJ Abdul Kalam and Pratibha Patil. During the tenure of the presidency of Pratibha Patil, the car was relieved and upgraded to the Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600 Pullman W220.
Later this car was also upgraded to the W221 version which is currently used by the current President Ram Nath Kovind. The car was expected to receive an upgrade to the W222 version but is currently on hold due to the outburst of pandemic COVID-19.
Before selecting the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Limousine as the official state car there has been a lot of other cars that have served the former Indian Presidents. Some of them were convertible Cadillac and Jeep Willys, both of which were used by India’s first President Dr. Rajendra Prasad. Another car that was used by the ex-presidents was the Mercedes-Benz 300D Adenauer Cabriolets and Hindustan Ambassador which also served other heads-of-state as well. Initially, Presidential Buggy served the Viceroy of India and post-independence it was passed on to the President of India.

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