This gallery is a special one. Special because it’s a collection of all generations of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class – Special Class or Sonderklasse in its native language. This long line of top-of-the-range limos has been in a class of its own ever since its inception, starting from the Mercedes-Simplex 60 hp from 1904 which was used by businessman Emil Jellinek – whose daughter Mercédès lent her name to the brand.

Two more pre-war models are included in this elite collection – a Nürburg 460 (W 08, year 1929) and a model 770 “Grand Mercedes” (W 07, 1931). The rest, as they say, is history.

This is a timely lead-up to the next-generation W222 S-Class of course, of which we’ve already seen the official interior teaser shots and undisguised spy photographs. We’ve also covered a preview of the next-gen car’s array of tech here.

Here’s a game for all you anoraks out there. How many of the nine other models representing the ancestors of the range-topping, premium-segment saloons can you name? The current model carries the codename W221, and the one before that is the W220. How low can you go?