Bill Gates, the ever-protective father, once walked into a Mercedes dealership to have a bullet-proof station wagon for his kids. The German automaker gave a bizarre reason and turned him down so the Microsoft co-founder walked across the street and got a Volvo.

Via Facebook / @Melinda French Gates


For over nine decades, Mercedes-Benz has been offering special protection solutions to those clients who have constant threats to their lives. However, you’ll be surprised to know that the German manufacturer once refused to sell Bill Gates a station wagon with bulletproofing, which forced the billionaire to buy a Volvo instead. Terry Haigh, former sales manager at Mercedes-Benz of Bellevue, shared the story in an interview with VINwiki. Remembering the late 1980s, Terry begins by talking about how Bellevue, Washington, had become a hot spot in those days for major tech companies, including the likes of Microsoft and Nintendo. Before joining the Mercedes-Benz of Bellevue, he worked for a dealership that sold Jaguars, Audis, and Porsches. That’s where he met the Microsoft co-founder for the first time.

Bill Gates loved fast cars and the 4.2l Jaguar XJ6 could go from 0 to 62 mph in 9.8 seconds

Talking about that day, Terry says he was standing on the showroom floor early in the morning with another salesman by the name of Mark when someone from the service department came to inform them that Bill Gates was there to pick up his car. Bill was driving a 1986 Jaguar XJ6 in Champagne Gold. Soon after, he drove his Jaguar to the front of the dealership to inquire if they sold Porsches.

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The Mercedes Benz dealership in Bellevue which rejected Bill Gates.

Terry remembers how Mark elbowed him to grab the opportunity and introduced himself to Bill as the guy who was responsible for selling Porsches. That’s when the tech mogul handed over his business card and said he wanted a black 911 convertible. Terry says he knew exactly what he wanted. Before turning away and leaving, Bill asked the salesman to call his assistant to inform her about the price and the time of delivery. Bill Gates has always been a very passionate Porsche fan. While he currently owns a Porsche Taycan EV, we once went to jail in the early days of Microsoft for speeding in his Porsche 911 Turbo. He even lobbied to change the US laws to import and use a Porsche 959.

Bill and Melinda Gates with their daughter Jennifer and son Rory. Via Facebook / @Melinda French Gates

A few years later, when Terry had started working for Mercerdes-Benz, Bill Gates’ representative showed up at the dealership with a very unique request. The billionaire wanted to buy a Mercedes-Benz station wagon. But he wanted it to be bulletproofed for his kids. Terry says the dealership contacted the German automaker to tell them about the high-profile client and his request. Several days later, Mercedes rang back to tell the dealership that they wouldn’t be able to fulfill Bill’s demand. The reason given by Mercedes is even more bizarre. According to Terry, the German marque wasn’t ready to take responsibility for protecting Bill’s kids.

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The Volvo 240 DL station wagon

Mercedes’ loss was Volvo’s gain. Right across the street was a Volvo dealership, where the representative went with the request for a bulletproof station wagon. The Swedish carmaker was able to provide the Microsoft co-founder with a Volvo 240 DL station wagon which was bulletproofed. Adding to the story, Terry claims the Volvo came back to the shop every month as the driver’s bulletproof window was so heavy that the motor kept failing. Instead of fitting a stronger motor, Volvo kept using the standard motor, which apparently never fixed the problem. What a bummer!

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Sayan Chakravarty, a Senior Writer at Luxurylaunches, brings over 10 years of automotive journalism expertise. He provides insightful coverage of the latest cars and motorcycles across American and European markets, while also highlighting luxury yachts, high-end watches, and gadgets. An authentic automobile aficionado, his commitment shines through in educating readers about the automotive world. When the keyboard rests, Sayan feeds his wanderlust, traversing the world on his motorcycle.