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PreWar Mercedes Benz


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A.J., thanks for the above info!

Okay, I just started reading Taylor's book. 2nd paragraph: "Of course, a great deal [of information] is available through the M-B archives ... they have provided to help me tell the story." I wonder how much of this was Melin's research. The context of Taylor's Intro does not suggest he went to Germany and was allowed to do his own research, but rather that they provided him with certain information (photos certainly). Onward I go ...

... Finished the intro and the first chapter. I find it a well-written summary, but he definitely suggests that rumors, myths and contradictions about specific cars are are not going to be addressed in this book, partly because material was destroyed in the war and partly because DBAG won't share it. In comparison to Melin and Hernstrom, just enough information for the non-technically-minded to understand the basic development. For example, he mentions the early use of the Roots-type blower, but doesn't explain how it works. If the casual enthusiast wants to know more, Melin and others have covered it. The history of the supercharged racing cars will consume the next chunk of the book. Obviously very important to the development and history of the supercharged cars, but not my focus. My interest is in the top-of-the-line coachbuilt cars. I'll have to get a fresh start to churn through the racing history...

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I'll get the book tomorrow. Looking forward to it. I'm going through the big box I have on the Roehrs 540k I mentioned above. There is some interesting material. Here is a letter from the factory telling Mr Roehrs that they have no parts or capability to work on his 540k and he should find a shop in England or the U.S. He eventually sent it to England for restoration where it was stolen (sold by the restoration shop) and started a 5 year odyssey to get the car back. At the time it was sold by the restoration shop, a number of parts including the one piece top were separated from the car. I'm not sure of the condition when it got it back but I'm wondering if the missing parts would have made it a likely Special Roadster candidate?

post-31305-143142374365_thumb.jpg

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Some other interesting tidbits. This car was a 5 speed model and is referred to consistently as a 41. Bob Hannaford in a letter to Mr Roehrs reports that at 60 mph in 5th gear the engine is turning 1700 RPM. Redline on a 540k is around 3800 so somebody can help with the math. After Mr Roehrs received the car he reported that in test drives he could go as low as 30 mph in 5th gear but acceleration was very slow without downshifting. There were no roads long and straight enough in Puerto Rico to go really fast so he was never able to test high speeds although he seemed very eager to try.

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I'm going through the big box I have on the Roehrs 540k. ... Here is a letter from the factory telling Mr Roehrs that they have no parts or capability to work on his 540k.

Sounds like the basis for a nice book. Who is that author (Cussler?) that does the fiction novels based around his classic cars? I went to his museum is in Colorado several years ago.

I love the next to last paragraph wherein the factory basically advises him to give up and buy a new car! They should blow that up and frame it for the wall at the Classic Center!

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Thank you for the date of the last U.S. model, A.J. I'm interested in more data on the 1941 Roehrs 540K, too.

By the way, A.J., look on page 111 of Melin's Swedish-language book. There is a 540K (408425, not an Aktion P) that was delivered in 1943. Chassis was built in August 1939. Document from October 1940 states body was not finished. Completed car delivered in September 1943. There must have been a few of these really late ones.

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Sounds like the basis for a nice book. Who is that author (Cussler?) that does the fiction novels based around his classic cars? I went to his museum is in Colorado several years ago.

I love the next to last paragraph wherein the factory basically advises him to give up and buy a new car! They should blow that up and frame it for the wall at the Classic Center!

Definitely an interesting story. I thought the last paragraph was funny too. Would probably make a good magazine article. What I particularly like is the correspondence with other owners in the 1950s. It allows me to connect some dots that I did know know about.

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Thank you for the date of the last U.S. model, A.J. I'm interested in more data on the 1941 Roehrs 540K, too.

By the way, A.J., look on page 111 of Melin's Swedish-language book. There is a 540K (408425, not an Aktion P) that was delivered in 1943. Chassis was built in August 1939. Document from October 1940 states body was not finished. Completed car delivered in September 1943. There must have been a few of these really late ones.

Which countries were right hand drive in 1940/41 where someone would be ordering a right hand drive 540k which is basically a sports model? France? I know in my pile of stuff there is a one page right up done by Bob Hannaford on what he thought the history was. I'll scan it and post it the next time I find it.

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Which countries were right hand drive in 1940/41 where someone would be ordering a right hand drive 540k which is basically a sports model? France? I know in my pile of stuff there is a one page right up done by Bob Hannaford on what he thought the history was. I'll scan it and post it the next time I find it.

France was not one of those. Only French cars exported to right-hand-drive desinations were fitted with steering wheels on the right. The 1939 to 1948 Panhard Dynamique had a steering wheel almost centrally located, which was odd. The 1936-1938 version had it mounted on the left. I'll have to research which countries (besides the obvious U.K. and Australia) were right-hand-drive nations. That Hannaford page would be great to read. Thanks.

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Sounds like the basis for a nice book. Who is that author (Cussler?) that does the fiction novels based around his classic cars? I went to his museum is in Colorado several years ago.

I love the next to last paragraph wherein the factory basically advises him to give up and buy a new car! They should blow that up and frame it for the wall at the Classic Center!

Sounds like another 1950s case where Germany was trying to distance itself from its past. Many of my relatives lived there at the time and recall that attitude clearly.

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I have that Panhard on my bucklist of cars. I think most prewar French cars were right hand drive and they swapped to left after WWII? Another thing I found today, I knew where a couple of 540ks down under. This one is in the Southward Car Museum in NZ. It has right hand drive and what looks like the identical roof. Not sure why they are calling it a 36. I should probably send them some email.

post-31305-143142374617_thumb.jpg

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OK, now I'm thoroughly confused. I have many books and much info on prewar French cars, so I looked in a Renault book, which seems to show steering wheels on the left. The Delage book I consulted shows them all on the right before and during the war, with some still having it there after the war. I need to investigate this further.

The Panhard Dynamique's situation I had backwards; it started out with a centrally located steering wheel, and then by 1939 it switched to the left.

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This Australian new-car registrations table doesn't help much as it only shows 1939 onward. I have one covering an earlier period but it doesn't even break down figures of imports from non-British European countries. They're all lumped in an "other European" tally.

RegistrationsFCAI1939-1951_zps94ddae49.jpg

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OK, now I'm thoroughly confused. I have many books and much info on prewar French cars, so I looked in a Renault book, which seems to show steering wheels on the left. The Delage book I consulted shows them all on the right before and during the war, with some still having it there after the war. I need to investigate this further.

The Panhard Dynamique's situation I had backwards; it started out with a centrally located steering wheel, and then by 1939 it switched to the left.

I read something not long ago about the left-right placement of steering wheels in Europe. I will see if I can find it.

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The Taylor book does have one leg up on Melin - he covers the 6-cylinder cars for most of the first 100 pages. So far I find it to be a very nice book; I just wish it was a larger format so some of the photos could be larger (or more pages).

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I read something not long ago about the left-right placement of steering wheels in Europe. I will see if I can find it.

Thanks -- I'd love to see what the deal was with that. France confuses me in that regard!

As for Taylor's book, now my tracking status says it should arrive tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it. I'm also getting one on 1936-1948 Jaguars.

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This is gorgeous. What year was this body built? It looks like a late-1940s Graber creation. I've seen some other Grabers from that era (sometimes on American chassis) and they resemble it.

Here is a picture of the Graber bodied 500k. I think it started life as a Cab B and sustained some damage during the war.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]233238[/ATTACH]

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A.J., do you know of the cream-colored '39 Freestone & Webb 540K saloon? It's in the CCCA book. Some may disagree with me, but I think the razor-edge styling goes well with the 540 front end. I normally prefer Sindelfinger bodies but since we've been discussing the bodies of other coachbuilders, I was wondering how you felt about the Freestone.

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Gorgeous car. Registration FXR420 was issued in May-June 1939, so this may be the same car I saw in the CCCA book.

Do you know the year of the Graber body, by the way?

Got my copy of Taylor's book, and I rather like it a lot. Glad to add this to my library. (Also got an excellent one on '36-'48 Jaguars.) Like Craig stated, Taylor seems to have summarized the findings of previous authors, like Oswald and Melin. He also did some research in the Multi-Media Database, because he spotted the error I did on there (the claim that 319 540K cars were built in total). He also has the initial (1984) version of Oswald's book, and not the revised 1986 version, made infinitely better by the researches of Melin, and Oswald's own further research into the 540K.

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The Graber bodied car was put up for auction sometime in the last 10 years. I'm thinking it was Bonham's but honestly don't remember. I probably have the catalog somewhere. My recollection is 1948.

Thanks. Did you see that hideous French creation of 1947 (I think) in Melin's second volume? I will dig it out again tonight.

What's your opinion of the Taylor book, A.J.?

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Hello, A.J. Long time no chat. Remember Hans Rinsma from one of the other forums we used to post on? He had a few wartime military Mercedes sedans and tourers. I lost touch with him but would love to find him again.

Were there ever any books written about the military Mercedes sedans?

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Were there ever any books written about the military Mercedes sedans?

The Jan Melin books we have mentioned in this thread all cover the supercharged cars that were used as staff cars, and one other book is dedicated to this topic: Blaine Taylor's Mercedes Benz Parade and Staff Cars of the Third Reich. Oswald's book (German language) covers all Mercedes cars, including staff cars, from the beginning till 1986.

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Looks like I won't have my Taylor book for some time. Amazon seems to have run out because what was supposed to be two days is now showing a delivery estimate of March.

A.J., did you order via amazon.com? I ordered mine via amazon.co.uk because it's a U.K. book (plus I ordered another U.K. book at the same time). Both books came in a heartbeat. You may want to cancel your amazon.com order and order via amazon.co.uk. and select the fast shipping method. Your same login/password applies to all the amazons (U.K., Germany, France, etc.).

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Bonhams is selling 205 178 which is a 500k Cab A.

http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/21768/lot/375/

[ATTACH=CONFIG]233599[/ATTACH]

Apparently it did not sell. I wasn't logged on to see what the high bid was. Did anyone catch it? Estimated was $2.7-3.4M. Given this non-sale and the trouble RM had selling the supercharged pre-war cars in London last year, I wonder if the market is slipping for these cars, or people are just setting reserves too high. I'm inclined to think the latter.

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Taylor says in his book that all 500K's came with either a fold-down luggage rack on the back, or fitted luggage. In the very next sentence he talks about how Special Roadsters differed from the other body styles in other respects, but he did not except them from the luggage statement. Obviously there was no rack on the back of Special Roadsters, and I'm not aware of any fitted luggage for roadsters or anyplace to put it. As far as I know all the Special Roadsters had dickey seats. Did the cars come with fitted luggage that could take the place of the seat?

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I have seen the Cab "A" with luggage either in the trunk or behind the front seats. If the luggage is in the trunk then there is a small sideways facing seat behind the front seat. I have not seen a Special Roadster without the dickey. The luggage is very expensive so you are lucky if you don't have to buy any.

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580K article in Car Collector, March 1985:

(We all know everything surrounding the 580K is uncertain, and the author states this at the end, and mentions Oswald says the same. It's probable that the Huehnlein car pictured didn't have the 5.8 L engine, though of course it is possible it did. We will likely never know.)

MERCEDES580K-CC-MAR1985A_zpscff75895.jpg

MERCEDES580K-CC-MAR1985B_zpse5042682.jpg

MERCEDES580K-CC-MAR1985C_zps91e2b264.jpg

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