1935 Mercedes-Benz 500KSOLD
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Estimate: 750,000£-1,000,000£
Estimate: €1,089,000 - €1,452,000
Estimate: $1,500,000 - $2,000,000

AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of £698.438

From the Collection of Mr. Bernie Ecclestone

100/160bhp, 5,018cc overhead valve inline eight-cylinder engine with driver activated and gear driven Rootes type supercharger, twin updraft pressurized carburettors, four-speed transmission with synchromesh on third and a dog clutch on fourth, independent wishbone coil front suspension, independent swing arm rear suspension, and four-wheel servo-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 129.5in. (3,290mm).

In 1933 the first of a new generation of Mercedes-Benz cars left the Untertürkheim factory. The Mercedes-Benz 380 offered a fully independent suspension chassis with coil springs. Power came from a single overhead camshaft supercharged straight eight engine displacing 3,820cc. These impressive specifications, however, proved less than a match for the elaborate, solidly-built coachwork Mercedes-Benz owners preferred and gave disappointing performance. So disappointing, in fact, that only 154 cars were built before production ended barely a year after the model’s introduction.

The disappointment of the 380 was followed by the success of one of Mercedes-Benz’s great models, the W29 160hp 500K, which reintroduced the ‘K’ (Kompressor) designation made famous on the SSK and SSKL. Almost as many 500Ks were built in the changeover year of 1934 (105) as in the 380’s run of over a year. The 500K was an unabashedly luxurious car, as attested by its standard equipment, which included two spare wheels and tyres, safety glass, electric windscreen wipers, tool kit, lighted number plates, hydraulic brakes, central lubrication, a 12 volt electrical system, and four-speed gearbox with synchromesh on the top two gears.

Mercedes-Benz built a full line of bodies at its own coachworks at Sindelfingen, producing some of the most imposing and luxurious creations of an era of great coachbuilders. Sindelfingen’s creations came with luggage, internal lighting, map pockets, chromium-plated bumpers, electric directional indicators and door locks as standard equipment. Sedans got roll-up window blinds. Open cars had fitted top boots. All glazing was safety glass. Sindelfingen’s clients could prescribe additional equipment and features for their new 500K and there is no shortage of unique attributes in these automobiles, each of them being essentially a bespoke creation commissioned for a specific client.

Universally acclaimed as the fastest European production car on the road during its prime, the 500K was also a good driving companion. Its fully independent suspension absorbed the inevitable irregularities of thirties roads, city streets, and mountain passes while providing excellent road holding and responsive handling. Even in naturally-aspirated operation the 500K’s 5 litres had lively performance, giving away little to the luxury competition from Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Hispano-Suiza, and Isotta Fraschini. With the supercharger drive engaged, its performance challenged the most powerful machines of the day, all couched in nearly 3 tons of high-style luxury. At full throttle, these luxurious cars were capable of 100 miles per hour, one of very few models of its era this fast, and even fewer models achieved this level of performance with such luxury and comfort.

Indicative of the variety of coachwork that Mercedes-Benz clients could request from the company, and of the skills of the craftsman and artisans at Sindelfingen, the example offered here is perhaps unique among the cars built by the Mercedes-Benz Karosserie. Recorded on its original factory data sheet as a ‘Spez. Cabr. A’, it unusually combines the most attractive features of many of Mercedes-Benz’s open two-door coachwork designs into one exceptionally attractive and yet also unusually practical package. It was delivered through Mercedes-Benz Paris to Arturo Lopez on 4 March 1936. Its subsequent history is not known until it was acquired by the Ecclestone Collection in June 1995.

Finished in Dark Blue with a natural pigskin-coloured leather interior, complemented by similarly coloured wire wheels and wide whitewall tyres, Arturo Lopez’s Special Cabriolet A combines unique features that make this one of the most appealing of all Sindelfingen-bodied Mercedes-Benz 500Ks of the period. Its unique presentation combines the central body of the Cabriolet A with many of the design elements of the later Special Roadster – including the front wings, cowl, and striking open-top V-windshield, as well as the long tail with inset rear-mounted spare. The top is unpadded and sits low on the rear deck, avoiding the tall stack of Sindelfingen’s conventional cabriolet styles.

The use of longer Cabriolet B or C doors cleverly provides access to the surprisingly spacious rear seat area. The headlights are earlier Bosch items more commonly seen on S or SS Mercedes – a nice touch. A single driving light is suspended from the headlight crossbar for better illumination when motoring at the serious speeds attained with the supercharger engaged, and there is a pair of windscreen post-mounted spotlights for selective illumination.

The interior trim is older, and much of it may be original to the car. The mother-of-pearl instrument panel has been redone, although the rest of the dashboard, switchgear, steering wheel, and wood is aged, well maintained, and possibly original.

Under the bonnet, the engine has received some restoration attention. The undercarriage is aged and shows use but has been cleaned and repainted with black chassis coating where needed. The bodywork, panel fits, and exterior paint are older but in very good condition, although some of the exterior chrome work on the spotlights and windscreen frames are pitted or showing signs of ageing.

There is some gear noise on start-up, which is believed to be from the supercharger drive. It has been evaluated by specialists and driven enough to demonstrate that it is not an immediate operational issue. The supercharger works well and provides the visceral exhilaration for which these mythical automobiles are best known.

This car comes from a well-known collection of the highest quality and offers a rare opportunity to acquire a supercharged eight-cylinder classic Mercedes-Benz with highly unusual, and possibly unique, coachwork. Its Sindelfingen coachwork combines the sleek, streamlined appearance of the Special Roadsters with the larger and more comfortable accommodations of a Cabriolet A, making this a particularly attractive opportunity for collectors who want to combine style, rarity, and performance in a single sporting car that can be driven enthusiastically on the open road, exactly as Mercedes-Benz and Arturo Lopez intended 72 years ago.

Reference Number 13217

as of 9/14/2007

Car 1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K
VIN 130859 
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