alsancle

PreWar Mercedes Benz

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BTW, does anyone know what happened to that unique "long-tail" Special Roadster in that picture a couple posts earlier, with the spare wheels in the front wings? It's been said it was delivered to India when new I think. I've always only known that period factory pic of the car, so I guess it hasn't survived but I was wondering if anyone has some history on that one.

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I dont think there were actually two series built of the Cab A. There are very early 1936 540Ks that have the body style with the spare wheels set in the fenders as well as late ones of 39 already with the 5 speed gearbox that have that same body also. You could always order them with the spare wheels in the back also. It wasn t until 1939-40 when the design changed a lot and those last Cab As looked similar in style to the one-off Krupp Special Roadster.

I'm not sure where I picked up the first series vs. second series nomenclature from. A quick look at Jan Melin and I see he is using the term early vs. late. However, The first 30 or so 540K Cab "A" were significantly different then the next 50. There were only a couple of the very late short chassis cars built so those are in a class of their own.

The early cars had 2 significant differences vs. the late:

1. Setback chassis arrangement with radiator, engine, etc pushed 5 inches back in the chassis (similar to Special Roadsters & 500k Cab A)

2. Rear Mounted Spares

Additionally, the rear section of the body well as the fenders (mudguards) are very different. To my knowledge there was never a late Cab A with rear mounted spares. I know of a single car, perhaps two that had a single spare hidden in the trunk with none in the fenders.

The 5 speed transmission found it's way into a handful of chassis in 1939. I've seen a Cab A, as well as a couple of Cab B's with this transmission. I think all the short chassis cars at the end got that transmission also.

Finally, at last check, there is about a 25% or more premium paid for the early cars.

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BTW, does anyone know what happened to that unique "long-tail" Special Roadster in that picture a couple posts earlier, with the spare wheels in the front wings? It's been said it was delivered to India when new I think. I've always only known that period factory pic of the car, so I guess it hasn't survived but I was wondering if anyone has some history on that one.

The only pictures I have ever seen of this car are the factory photos. They can also be found in volume I of Melin. Does the license plate indicate India? The right hand drive would.

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Edited by alsancle (see edit history)

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Don't have the Melin books here with me to check, but I do know that the Cab A body style as seen on the right of your pics was available from 1936-39, so there were no two series, but rather both designs were offered at the same time for a while. I think you are right there are no known Cab As with the spare wheels in the back after 1938 or so though, so it seems that design was no longer offered at some point.

As for the 5 speed gearbox, it must have been introduced some time in 1938. I know of a couple of Cad As and Bs as well as at least two third series Special Roadsters that have it (the King of Romania car that was found a couple years back is one of them).

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The only pictures I have ever seen of this car are the factory photos. They can also be found in volume I of Melin. Does the license plate indicate India? The right hand drive would.

Not sure where I got the India reference from. Unfortunately not much seems to be known about the whereabouts of this car. Does Melin give a s/n for it?

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Not sure where I got the India reference from. Unfortunately not much seems to be known about the whereabouts of this car. Does Melin give a s/n for it?

No. Melin gives no serial number. I believe he states in one of the volumes that he won't reveal s/n for any prewar car to prevent shenanigans. When I get to the office tomorrow I will see if he is says anything about this particular car. Perhaps it is still hiding.

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I'll concede I probably made up the first series vs second series nomenclature as I can't remember where it came from. However, I don't know that I've ever seen a sidemount spare Cab A listed as a 36. I have seen a few as 37. Conversely, I've mostly seen the rear-spare Cab A listed as 36 and a few as 37. I've always assumed that MB transitioned from one style to the other, much the same way they did with the 3 distinct special roadster styles. I can't say that I know that for a fact, however.

Back about 5 or 6 years ago there was a 39 Cab B with the 5 speed for sale here in the U.S. I never got a chance to go see it and it went off to Germany. I don't know if there were ever any published road tests of the 5 speed cars as they were introduced so late. It would be interesting comparing the drive-ability and performance with the 4 speed.

Don't have the Melin books here with me to check, but I do know that the Cab A body style as seen on the right of your pics was available from 1936-39, so there were no two series, but rather both designs were offered at the same time for a while. I think you are right there are no known Cab As with the spare wheels in the back after 1938 or so though, so it seems that design was no longer offered at some point.

As for the 5 speed gearbox, it must have been introduced some time in 1938. I know of a couple of Cad As and Bs as well as at least two third series Special Roadsters that have it (the King of Romania car that was found a couple years back is one of them).

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The only pictures I have ever seen of this car are the factory photos. They can also be found in volume I of Melin. Does the license plate indicate India? The right hand drive would.

Looks more like a convertible with roll up side windows.

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Looks more like a convertible with roll up side windows.

Although MB called them "roadsters" they all had roll up windows. There are only a very few sindelfingen bodies that did not have roll up windows. It got cold in the alps!

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No. Melin gives no serial number. I believe he states in one of the volumes that he won't reveal s/n for any prewar car to prevent shenanigans. When I get to the office tomorrow I will see if he is says anything about this particular car. Perhaps it is still hiding.

The car is pictured on page 80 of Volume I. Melin says "540K Spezial Roadster in 1937. A rare car. There are additional fuel tanks mounted on the running-boards. The spare tyres have metal covers Special trunk grids made it possible to load a lot of luggage."

Edited by alsancle (see edit history)

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Don't have the Melin books here with me to check, but I do know that the Cab A body style as seen on the right of your pics was available from 1936-39, so there were no two series, but rather both designs were offered at the same time for a while. I think you are right there are no known Cab As with the spare wheels in the back after 1938 or so though, so it seems that design was no longer offered at some point.

On page 191 in the caption for a picture of a side mount spare Cab "A" he calls it a "Cabriolet A - second version". :)

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Here are some pictures of the first version of 500k Special Roadster. These pictures were found in a trash bin and posted on the Hamb. They were taken before WWII.

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attachment.php?attachmentid=914023&d=1267483660

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Here are two Windovers bodied 500ks. Pictured first in London in 1955 has a more square boot area while the one in the recent picture has a more rounded boot. You can go here for a discussion on these cars.

file.php?id=24029&t=1

file.php?id=15671&t=1

Edited by alsancle (see edit history)

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One of my all time favorite cars. A 540k Roadster with coachwork by Erdmann & Rossi. Car was the subject of a feature in Automobile Quarterly in the late 60s when it was owned in New England. I remember as a kid reading this article and loving the car. Reportedly back in Germany. This picture was taken at Hershey in 1962

file.php?id=24030&mode=view

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Quote : Here are some pictures of the first version of 500k Special Roadster. These pictures were found in a trash bin and posted on the Hamb. They were taken before WWII.

This early special roadster is just phenominal. If you look at each "version" of the special roadster and put it in context with other cars of the same years, they are all incredible. You look at this one and think - fantastic! - they you look at the next version and think the same thing - and so on... Is one better than the other? They are all awesome in their own way. Is this the car that Bob Friggens owned which is now in Europe?

I really like the photo taken from above.

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I agree with everything you said Dave.

Yes, I believe it is Bob Friggen's car while it was owned by Bob Day of California. It was also on the cover of Road and Track in the 1951. I knew he sold his Duesenberg but did not realize the 500k was gone. He new Bob Day when he was a kid and was eventually able to buy the car from him. The new owner would be the 4th owner of the car since 1935.

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So it was one of the very few cars that came to the US prior to 1945. Couldn't have been more than a handful.

You are right - there were very few. Mytropia Motors of NY (the sole American MB dealer) sold approx 30 total cars between 1936 and the start of WWII. I do not know how many were sold prior to 1936 or were brought over by their owners. Also, 500k Special Roadsters were even more scarce then 540k ones. According to Melin, total 500k roadster production, special & Normale was 29 which is close to 540k Special only.

Given that Bob Day lived in Bel Air California and bought the car in 1937 I would say they are the same car.

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A J, the Erdmann and Rossi and Windovers photos don't come up for me - are they there?

Yeah, that is weird. I've had that happen before and I've assumed it's moderators removing them for some reason. I've taken care to not to link copyrighted material so I don't know what is going on. The "current" picture of the Windovers which was removed was a link and not my photo. I will repost the Erdmann-Rossi roadster as that is my photo.

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AJ,

What year was that photo taken? It appears to be taken at Hershey. Now, you all remember the green Duesenberg Willoughby sedan that was on e bay back in January, right? What was parked next to it in the garage in those photos? It was the same tan & brown 1932 Packard Eight phaeton that you see parked next to the red Mercedes. Small world, isn't it? The Packard has since gained metal tire covers, whitewalls, and spotlight since your photo AJ.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=350430690181&ru=http%3A%2F%2Fmotors.shop.ebay.com%3A80%2F__%3F_from%3DR40%26_trksid%3Dm39%26_nkw%3D350430690181%26_fvi%3D1&_rdc=1

Edited by K8096 (see edit history)

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I'm sure West will have something to say about the Packard having blackwalls in 1962 and whitewalls now.

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I'm sure West will have something to say about the Packard having blackwalls in 1962 and whitewalls now.

I'm with West on that one. Perhaps I'm still trying to get over my dad putting them on everything including the lawnmower back in the 60s and 70s.

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