In autumn 1965 Pope Paul VI received as a gift in Castel Gandolfo a Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman Landaulet; in those years it was the favourite among the protocols of the major international registries, and long remained the sole papal automobile.
In 1966, however, Mercedes produced another vehicle for the Pontiff. A Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL limousine (W 109 series), it was a laudaulet, more manageable and with a shorter wheelbase than the pullman.
Although the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL limousine remained in use for many years, in parallel with the Mercedes-Benz 600, it was only rarely used. Although it was not equipped with air conditioning, Pope John Paul II immediately chose it as his main vehicle, and indeed following the assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square it was heavily and fully armoured.