Mercedes 300S Coupe W188 to najwyższa półka luksusu, w latach 50-tych był droższy od Mercedesa 300 SL, prawie dwukrotnie przebijając cenę topowego Cadillac’a. Jego design podążał za modelami 170S i 220, lecz techniczne rozwiązania szły krok naprzód. Wysokość tylnego zawieszenia była regulowana, a trzylitrowy, sześciocylindrowy silnik z wtryskiem paliwa został przejęty wprost ze sportowego 300 SL. Szybki i elegancki model 300 był jednym z niewielu ówczesnych pojazdów zdolnych do przewożenia sześciu pasażerów w komforcie i to przy utrzymaniu wysokich prędkości. Trzysetkę kochali i wybierali biznesmeni oraz urzędnicy, nie tylko z Niemiec, choć to właśnie od nazwiska kanclerza Konrada Adenauera samochody te uzyskały swój przydomek. Oprócz reprezentacyjnych limuzyn, powstawały one również w jeszcze bardziej ekskluzywnej formie oznaczonej literą “S” i później “Sc”, w nadwoziach Cabriolet A, Coupe oraz Roadster. Okaz prezentowany na aukcji to Mercedes 300S Coupe W188, jeden z zaledwie 216 wyprodukowanych. Konfiguracji klasycznej czerni i wnętrza w czerwonej skórze jest jego oryginalną, a całkiem niedawno Adenauer przeszedł 18-miesięczną renowację. Z przebiegiem 107000 kilometrów i z oryginalnym silnikiem potwierdzonym dokumentacją fabryczną wyceniony został na 400 000 – 550 000 dolarów amerykańskich, czyli 1,6 – 2,2 miliona złotych.
1955 MERCEDES-BENZ 300S COUPE
US$ 400,000 – 550,000
PLN 1,600,000 – 2,200,000
THE AMELIA ISLAND AUCTION
9 Mar 2017, 13:00 EST
FERNANDINA BEACH GOLF CLUB
1955 MERCEDES-BENZ 300S Coupe
Chassis no. 188011.5500020
Engine no. 188920.5500027
2,996cc SOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
150bhp at 5,000rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
*Well-preserved, matching numbers example with less than 107,000 Kms from new
*Luxurious, top-of-the-line 300-series Mercedes-Benz
*Extensive mechanical refurbishment by Thornley Kelham Ltd
*Offered with history file, books, tools and copy of the factory build sheet
THE MERCEDES-BENZ 300 SERIES
More expensive than the 300SL sports car and almost double the price of the contemporary top-of-the-range Cadillac, the Mercedes-Benz 300S was one of the world’s most exclusive automobiles. It is also historically significant as one of Mercedes-Benz’s first all-new designs of the post-war era, debuting at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1951. The 300’s arrival re-established Mercedes-Benz in the front rank of prestige car manufacturers, marking as it did a return to the marque’s tradition of building high-performance luxury automobiles of the finest quality.
“To the characteristics of high performance, impressive appearance and fine detail finish which distinguished the big Mercedes models of Pre-war days are added new virtues of silence, flexibility and lightness of control, while the latest rear suspension, a product of long experience on Grand Prix cars and touring cars, confers a degree of security at high speeds on rough and slippery surfaces which it would be very difficult indeed to equal,” observed Autocar magazine.
Although Mercedes-Benz would adopt unitary chassis/body construction for its lower and mid-priced cars as the 1950s progressed, the retention of a traditional separate frame for the 300 enabled a wide variety of coachbuilt body types to be offered. The 300’s cross-braced, oval-tube chassis followed the lines of the 170S and 220, with independent suspension all round and four-wheel drum brakes, but incorporated the added refinements of hypoid bevel final drive, dynamically balanced wheels and remote electrical control of the rear suspension ride height.
Initially developing 115bhp, the 3-liter, overhead-camshaft, six-cylinder engine – used in fuel-injected form in the 300SL sports car – was boosted in power for the succeeding 300B and 300C models, finally gaining fuel injection in the re-styled 300D of 1957. Other improvements along the way included larger brakes (with servo-assistance from 1954), optional power steering (on the 300D) and the adoption of three-speed automatic transmission as standard on the latter.
Custom built by Mercedes-Benz’s most experienced craftsmen, the Mercedes-Benz 300 was luxuriously appointed and trimmed with materials of the highest quality. Fast and elegant, it was one of very few contemporary vehicles capable of carrying six passengers in comfort at sustained high speeds. The 300 was the car of choice among West German government officials, and throughout Europe and the USA was widely favored by businessmen, financiers and politicians. Indeed, ‘Adenauer’ became the 300’s unofficial model name, after German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, its most famous customer.
Elegantly styled in the Pre-war manner yet technologically bang up to date, the 300S was built to the Stuttgart firm’s uncompromising quality standards. Inevitably, production was limited, only 760 examples of the 300S/Sc (560/200) leaving the factory between 1951 and 1958. Ownership of such an exclusive automobile was necessarily restricted to a wealthy few, among them film stars Cary Grant and Gary Cooper, and the Aga Khan.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
Undeniably beautiful, the 300S models looked exactly what they were; well-built, well-engineered and designed. Mercedes-Benz was arguably far ahead of the curve with their offerings of hard to improve upon coachwork in the pre-war era. As the 1950s began they were even clearer in their tailoring of types of cars and appropriate bodies for their clientele. For the ‘S’ designation 300 models, the very ultimate in luxury was presented in three forms a Roadster, Cabriolet and this the Coupe.
From their introduction in 1951, through to the transition to the Sc models, Mercedes built 560 total for all three variations, the Coupe proved to be the most popular with some 216 being delivered but even that, particularly in modern terms, was an extremely modest production run.
As one might expect for this brand, they have kept exceptional archives of their production and the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center have been pleased to confirm for Bonhams that this 300S Coupe was delivered new on April 7th,1955. The new top-of-the-line Mercedes-Benz was equipped for and delivered in the home market, and arrived at the Mannheim dealership looking identical to how we see it today, in a subtle classy black with a tastefully appointed interior in red leather, and fitted with a Becker Mexico radio.
The cars first owner was a Mr. Rudolf Thissen of Heidelberg, Germany, and the car is known to have been owned by Diplomat Gert Schultheis by the 1960s. Mr. Schultheis, surely very fond of his exclusive Mercedes-Benz, brought the car over from his native Germany to New York in 1968, via air. The previous owner, Belgian collector Monsieur Christian Baverey, purchased the 300S in the US in 2006, and soon after bringing it back to Belgium treated the car’s interior wood and original leather upholstery to a comprehensive refurbishment, while a careful repaint of the exterior in the original black color was carried out.
The consignor – a UK and South African collector of the finest European collector cars – purchased the 300S in 2008, and recently embarked on an 18-month extensive mechanical refurbishment by the renowned specialists at Thornley Kelham. Ltd of Cirencester, UK. The work included a rebuild of the engine, braking and suspension systems, and the installment of the popular EZ electric power steering system. The system is easily reversible, and the original steering column is accompanying the sale of the car. Thornley Kelham would also attend to many cosmetic aspects of the highly original Mercedes-Benz, including much attention to the paint and bright work. A binder can be found in the cars history file, describing the comprehensive work in detail.
Today, this luxurious Mercedes-Benz presents very well throughout, and is believed to have been cared for by just five owners from new, and the odometer reading of less than 107,000 kilometers is indeed believed to be original. The 300S is offered with an instruction manual and parts book, tool set, jack, a copy of the original Mercedes-Benz factory build sheet, and an extensive history file containing many photos and receipts from work performed on the car. The interior features a set of beautifully made luggage matching the cars original interior color, and a luxurious Becker Mexico Radio with auto-tune and Hirshman antenna.
Upon close inspection, this well-preserved 300S Coupe displays a wonderful patina and the feel a good, genuine example, never left to neglect, and performed flawlessly on a recent 1000 km trip in western Great Britain. As verified by the factory records, the car retains its original matching numbers engine. Mercedes-Benz contemporary marketing described these Coupes as being ‘for connoisseurs with individual taste’ – a sentiment which surely holds true to this day.