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PreWar Mercedes Benz


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This is an ultra rare 320n Combination Coupe. There are only 2 known to my knowledge plus a few more of the Cabriolet A model floating around. The hardtop is removable and there is a conventional soft top. The Cabriolet A has the fully padded double top with irons. This car is for sale btw.

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Edited by alsancle (see edit history)
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This second series 540k Cabriolet A was for sale for 500k in 2000 as a very old restoration. Presentable but needing a lot of work. The first picture is from around 2003. It sold at auction a couple of different times and then had a very (very) high dollar restoration shown in the other picture.

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Edited by alsancle (see edit history)
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The Caracciola car that I posted a photo above of is a 500K special coupe and didn't have plaid interior when new or when I last saw it, but maybe did somewhere inbetween. Maybe he had another one that you are thinking of. The rear treatment of this car is very nice - better in person than in photos.

You can see the interior in this factory shot and it does not look plaid. This car carries a subtle version of special roadster wings (fenders).

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I have always wanted to own a special roadster ~~~

The famous hidden Butcher's car comes to mind .

To me it has one of the most artistic flowing body designs to come from Mercedes of all time ! A true German work of art .

Was not much of the steel rusted thin in spots~~~So much so that it qute a bit had to be re-created ?

There was also a copy of this body re-created in the 90s~~~ I have a body panel beating & forming book written by one of the guys who re-created this copy.

There are several great photos of the finished , and yet to be painted body in this book !

Does anyone know where this copy went ?

Supposedly a member of the Krupp family also owned a similar roadster when new ?

Lets not forget some of the great deigns built for the German high government officials in the 30s ! Despite their past checkered Nazi ownership history you still must say that they are great auto designs !

The special roadster is on my top ten wish list !

Perhapps some day~~~~?

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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Is the 320 a combinations coupe? What is the asking price of that one?

This is an unrestored but complete car. I updated the description to the correct "combination coupe" moniker. Restored 320 long wheel base cars are going for 500 to 600k now. I would think that this car restored would be more then that. I'll pm you the details :).

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Ed,

Do you remember where and when? I was not aware of a real SSK in our area. I didn't think any or maybe one or two of the drilled cars survived. I have some decent S & SS pictures I should dig up. My dad was underbidder on the 4k miles from new SS at the Byrd estate auction back in the early 60s. He only brought 5k and the car went for 5100. We were talking about that A.K. Miller auction in another thread but the Byrd estate auction was arguably the greatest estate sale of all time.

A.J.

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Is Bob Bahre's an SS or SSK? For some reason I was thinking the latter but I haven't seen the car for about ten years. Also, the beautiful Mercedes that used to belong to DePedroso (sp?) in the Philadelphia area. What a fantastic machine!

Bob's car is an original SSK. I'm not sure of when or where he acquired it. He has one of the great private collections in the world.

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This is an interesting one. This car was owned by Opera Singer James Melton in the 1940s. I have a number of pictures of it at the Indy 500 one year. It is a Cab "A" body with Cab "C" doors and Special Roadster fenders. I also believe I have pictures of it in the 1980s minus the fender skirts. There was a similar car sold at the RM London auction sale in 2007. They may in fact be the same car.

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Al

I'm going to guess that they're different cars, based on the location of the spare tires, different taillights, skirts, parking lights, turn signals, size of the elbow joint on the laundau bars, etc. The "history" of the auction car is unknown before 1995.

I saw a similar car in the Mercedes-Benz collection "vault" in Germany about 8-10 years ago, which I think may still be there, also with the Special Roadster features. That may make three cars like this in existence.

Edited by West Peterson (see edit history)
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Al

I'm going to guess that they're different cars, based on the location of the spare tires, different taillights, skirts, parking lights, turn signals, size of the elbow joint on the laundau bars, etc. The "history" of the auction car is unknown before 1995.

I saw a similar car in the Mercedes-Benz collection "vault" in Germany about 8-10 years ago, which I think may still be there, also with the Special Roadster features. That may make three cars like this in existence.

Yeah, I guess the spare location was a give away. That will teach me to throw this stuff up on the fly. I'll dig out the pictures I have of it in green because that car has the sidemounts and I believe it's the same one. They both have a number of similar features however.

MB has all the historical data on the Sindelfingen built 500k/540k lines. That includes a build sheet that will give you the body color and interior color and sometimes additional details. Also in most cases they know the original owner and date of delivery. For the Mannheim built cars which I think is most 320 models and below, they do not have that information.

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I agree, just repeating what the auction info says. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

If the owner does not go through the effort to get the information from MB the auction company cannot do it as MB will not release the records to anyone other than the owner (who must prove they are the owner).

In general the auction company just parrots what the seller says. In this case, Bernie Ecclestone owned a bunch of cars and it is possible he never got around to it.

I personally would not buy a car without knowing the full history, however I think this car is legit. Although very fancy, it's not exactly the body someone would cobble up from scratch. I just have to think that if someone was going to go to all that trouble (many years ago) then they would have built a full special roadster replica.

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If the owner does not go through the effort to get the information from MB the auction company cannot do it as MB will not release the records to anyone other than the owner (who must prove they are the owner).

In general the auction company just parrots what the seller says. In this case, Bernie Ecclestone owned a bunch of cars and it is possible he never got around to it.

I personally would not buy a car without knowing the full history, however I think this car is legit. Although very fancy, it's not exactly the body someone would cobble up from scratch. I just have to think that if someone was going to go to all that trouble (many years ago) then they would have built a full special roadster replica.

I would have to agree, but clearly RM didn't care to look into this. For the money they made on that sale they could have put some effort into it. Ecclestone may not have had the time, but he could have had someone research it for him. I think MB would cooperate with him. These cars don't just pop up out of thin air.

From my understanding, the records on almost all of the prewar cars exist, but some are in bad shape, or not organized and in could be in different locations and the historical dept may not even know how to find them as they are much more into the records from the 50s and newer.

I know that MB won't release a lot of info because they think that people will build cars to match serial numbers, which of course has happened with other makes.

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I would have to agree, but clearly RM didn't care to look into this. For the money they made on that sale they could have put some effort into it. Ecclestone may not have had the time, but he could have had someone research it for him. I think MB would cooperate with him. These cars don't just pop up out of thin air.

From my understanding, the records on almost all of the prewar cars exist, but some are in bad shape, or not organized and in could be in different locations and the historical dept may not even know how to find them as they are much more into the records from the 50s and newer.

I know that MB won't release a lot of info because they think that people will build cars to match serial numbers, which of course has happened with other makes.

I agree with what you are saying with regards to tracking down the info. You would think on a million dollar plus car somebody would have spent the 20 minutes to send the form to MB. Btw, I believe that car is pictured in period on Page 68 of Jan's first book.

It would be great if you could get info on some of the lesser models. I didn't think this was possible. With 320 Cab A bodied cars going for 500k plus I think the temptation to build a few is out there.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is a rather rough 500k Cabriolet "B". I recall that back around 2001/2002 Leo Gepart was brokering a very similar car that was located down in the South East U.S.A. The asking price was around 150k and I believe the car was sold off to Germany. It could be this car.

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Great thread A.J. - sorry I can't contribute as everything I know about these cars is in this thread BUT now I will know about the updates.... :)

Thanks Steve. I have an strong affinity for these cars. They were different than anything else made during the classic era.

Edited by alsancle
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  • 2 weeks later...

I posted this (the text, the picture was not mine) in another forum so I'll take the liberty of copying it to here:

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Differences between a 500k & 540k.

Mostly, the 500k has hood lovers and the 540k chromed screens. But, some late 500ks were delivered with the hood screens and some of the 540ks were delivered with the 500k style louvers so that is not a hard and fast rule. Besides the different body styles, there were a number of minor differences between the chassis:

1. The 540k had .4 liter bigger displacement.

2. The 540k had larger jets in the carburetor.

3. The 540k had slightly longer wheelbase and track.

4. The location of the intake and exhaust manifold are reversed.

5. The 540k had a complex mercury driven shock & anti-sway system in the rear.

6. The 540k had a slightly larger exhaust pipe existing through the chassis.

7. The 540k had a different air cleaner (or silencer).

8. The gearing of the transmission and rear end are different.

9. The 540k tended to have twin exhaust pipes and the 500k single, however there were 500ks built with twin and 540ks built with single.

I'm sure there are a couple of others I'm forgetting.

Other then that the cars are practically identical and have basically the same performance as the additional horsepower of the 540k engine is offset by the additional weight of the larger chassis.

Edited by alsancle (see edit history)
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