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1953 mercedes original prices


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Hello

I wonder what was the pricing of Mercedes- Benz cars in US in 1950s? Were there Cadillac or rather Oldsmobile price range? I'm especially interested in prices of 300 "Adenauer". Im also curious what was reception of these cars by the public - as the were generally smaller, less powerful, styling was outdated and they came from just - defeated enemy. Any informations?

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From my yout, the Merc sedans were considered slow, expensive, and hard to keep cool. Of course I also remember people driving around town in Gullwings with both doors open on hot days and the 190SL was considered a daughter's car.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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They were very expensive, the big 3 litre sedans sold for Cadillac money or more. Even the small 4 cylinder sedans cost more than a V8 Ford or Chevrolet. They were a quality car that appealed to rich connoisseurs. If you appreciated fine machinery jewelry  etc you could appreciate the Mercedes Jaguar Armstrong Siddeley or Bentley but to the average rube they were an overpriced outdated monstrosity that did not compare to a Buick.

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I don't remember any widespread prejudice against German or Japanese cars. There were jokes like calling VW 'Hitler's revenge' or 'pregnant roller skate' but all in fun.

 

There may have been a few veterans with bad memories, who refused to have anything to do with them.

 

Russian Ladas were sold in Canada and some people had a problem with that especially if Russia was in the news that week. I recall more hatred of Ladas than any German or Japanese car but even that was rare.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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Original pricing in 1953 would be difficult to confirm, as they would have been purchased in Europe and privately imported to the U.S.

Mercedes Benz was offered exclusively in the U.S. by the Studebaker Corporation through selected Studebaker dealers beginning in April 1957 into 1965.

It was Studebaker marketing that presented them as a high end competitor to the Cadillac/Lincoln/Imperial market. In Germany they were still considered about medium class, with a few model exceptions.

I believe any M-B in the U.S. prior to that would have been privately imported, as no domestic dealer network existed.

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Edited by starlightcoupe (see edit history)
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Mercedes were not imported into the US until 1957.  Anything earlier than this was sold outside the US and then imported into the US.  I know of a 1954 300 four door cabrio that was sold new in Paris and shipped to the US in 1960, documented.  Order the build card from Mercedes and it should tell you who the ordering dealer was.

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Mercedes cars were sold in Canada from 1952. According to the main dealer in Toronto when I went there in the seventies. At that time they stocked parts for every car they ever sold in Canada. Wish I could tell you how much they cost. Have seen old road tests that gave prices, which were very high. But don't have any at hand right now.

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11 hours ago, 61polara said:

Mercedes were not imported into the US until 1957.  Anything earlier than this was sold outside the US and then imported into the US.  

 

This is simply not correct!  Beginning approximately 1953, Mercedes-Benz had a very active network of "foreign agents" selling their products in almost all of the 48 States.  Perhaps the largest and most well known of these agents was Max Hoffman in New York City because of his involvement with the 300 SL.  Most of the M-B cars imported into the United States during this period came through the Hoffman enterprise and were redistributed to other foreign agents for sale..  Indeed, I have the 1956 New York International Automobile Display Car (Standwagen} which was purchased at the 1956 Show by the individual from whom I acquired it in 1971. Here is a picture of the car as it appeared at the Show in the New York Coliseum in 1956.

Ed_Boyd%27s_300SL_Gullwing[2] (1).jpg

Edited by ejboyd5 (see edit history)
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Yeah something doesn't ring true. I'm pretty sure I have seen road tests of Mercedes cars in American publications from before 1957. I recall Tom McCahill in his column in Mechanix Illustrated discussing buying a new 300SL. In the end he decided against it because of the cost, and bought the first Thunderbird delivered to a customer in late 1954. At the time I think the SL was $7000 and the Tbird was $2995 but with accessories cost $1000 more.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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"Beginning approximately 1953, Mercedes-Benz had a very active network of "foreign agents" selling their products in almost all of the 48 States."

I agree with this.  On your 300SL, is the original speedometer in MPH or KM?  Just curious if it was built to US specs.

 

West has stated above, that the price of a 300d was about $14,000.  In 1953 the MSRP of a Cadillac 60 Special was $4,305 and in 1962 was $6,366.  The 1958 Cadillac Brougham was $13,074.  The 1956 Lincoln Mark II was $9,695.  As you can see the 300d was the German "Rolls Royce".

 

_DSC0678.JPG

Edited by 61polara
As usual, West is correct on the price of the Brougham...I incorrectly posted the weight, not MSRP (see edit history)
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On 2/27/2018 at 1:57 PM, filozof97 said:

I wonder what was the pricing of Mercedes- Benz cars in US in 1950s? Were there Cadillac or rather Oldsmobile price range? 

 

Your heading specifies 1953, but your question covers the 1950's.

I'll share what I have.

 

In the magazine Mechanix Illustrated for April 1956,

well-known reviewer Tom McCahill tested the Mercedes 190SL,

their sporty little offering.  "This little Mercedes, fully

equipped, sells for close to $4200 in New York....

At roughly the same figures, a Thunderbird or Corvette

would kill it, performance-wise, in normal road travel.

But the name Thunderbird or Corvette fails to have the

magic sound of Mercedes-Benz....To say you own a

Mercedes-Benz makes you stand out in a crowd like a

bull moose at a prayer meeting."

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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8 hours ago, 61polara said:

 On your 300SL, is the original speedometer in MPH or KM?  Just curious if it was built to US specs.

 

Car was equipped with US equipment at the factory and according to its build sheet was prepared for the "Int. Automobile Salon, New York" as a Standwagen.  Between 1954 and 1956 M-B prepared approximately 25 300 SL cars with special trim as Standwagens for display at the major automobile shows such as London, Paris, Brussels, Turin and New York.

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10 hours ago, 61polara said:

West has stated above, that the price of a 300d was about $14,000.  In 1953 the MSRP of a Cadillac 60 Special was $4,305 and in 1962 was $6,366.  The 1958 Cadillac Brougham was $5,315.  The 1956 Lincoln Mark II was $9,695.  As you can see the 300d was the German "Rolls Royce" and not in the class of any American car.

 

 

The Cadillac Brougham sold for more than $13,000, so yes, it would have been in the same class as the 300d Adenauer. The Continental Lincoln sold for $10,000, so it would have been a close competitor as well, although more of a competitor for the "S" and "Sc" as far as purpose.

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1 hour ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

In the magazine Mechanix Illustrated for April 1956,

well-known reviewer Tom McCahill tested the Mercedes 190SL,

their sporty little offering.  "This little Mercedes, fully

equipped, sells for close to $4200 in New York....

At roughly the same figures, a Thunderbird or Corvette

would kill it, performance-wise, in normal road travel.

But the name Thunderbird or Corvette fails to have the

magic sound of Mercedes-Benz....To say you own a

Mercedes-Benz makes you stand out in a crowd like a

bull moose at a prayer meeting."

 

The 190 was hardly "sporty" when compared to the Thunderbird or Corvette. The little anemic 4-cylinder 190 was a poopless wonder. In my opinion, the only reason the values are in the six-figures is because people are collecting them as pieces of art, as opposed to fun drivers. (I've driven them, and a good friend owns a perfect example and agrees with me)

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West, you are absolutely correct about the 190SL. Back around 1960 a friend and I drove a TR3 from Pennsylvania to Pensacola Florida and returned accompanied by my aunt in her 190SL. The two of them always fought over who would drive the TR since it was a lot more fun and ran circles around the 190SL. As a result, I was left driving the 190SL thousands of miles best described as a very comfortable but low performance poor handling car that couldn't get out of its own way. Any moderate hill meant down shifting to third. Yes, the engine was an OHC four the same displacement as the TR but the car probably weighed 50% more than the TR.

 

I agree that the six figures prices are certainly not based on anyone ever having fun driving them. Sorry if 'Ive offended 190SL lovers but my comments are based on actual experience.

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Here are a few more thoughts from Tom McCahill,

written in 1956.  His writings are useful, since he was there 

when they were new.

 

---He wrote that the 190SL and 300SL were big disappointments 

when they first came to the United States.  People

had to wait unexpectedly long--even a year for a 190SL.

The cars' performance wasn't as good as had been expected.

The earliest ones had problems, especially in fuel delivery,

because the Germans didn't tune them properly for U. S. fuel.

Evidently the 300SL's bugs had been worked out by his 1956 article,

but it was clearly a challenge for him to find a good 190SL

on which to do his report.  By the time of the 1956 article,

Mercedes had made changes, so the newer 190SLs' performance

was "far superior to the original offerings."

 

---Speaking of the 190SL's, he wrote, "These cars are among

the finest road-holding, road-feeling Mercedes-Benzes ever

produced and are actually superior to the more expensive

300SL in this department."  "All the [Mecedes race] team

members fought [to drive] the 190SL because it was so much

nicer to handle on this rugged course and so much more fun."

So, if the 190 wasn't as "hot" as a Corvette or T-Bird, at least it had

excellent handling.  Buy the cheaper model of Mercedes and get a

better driving experience! 

 

---"The finish of the 190SL, right down to its leather-lined

glove compartment hinge to its easy-to-put-up, no-thumbs-lost

top, has all the markings of true craftsmanship....the smallest

details of finish reflect the pride of the oldest automobile maker

in the world today."  

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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Both the 190 and 300 had swing axle rear suspension. I drove 220 sedans with this suspension for thousands of miles without a problem but can see where it could be squirrelly in a high powered, low built sports car when driven at the limit of adhesion. In that case the slower lower powered 190 would be easier and more pleasant to drive, and less likely to kill you.

 

Incidentally I have read practically everything McCahill wrote for MI and have the highest respect for him. He knew what he was talking about and never pulled his punches. What is more he managed to give every car a fair shake. He could drive the cheapest economy car in the morning, and some exotic sports car or luxury car in the afternoon and assess both on their merits.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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Seems like a number of conflicting verdicts on the 190SL, from 'poopless wonder', 'poor handling' & 'killed by the Corvette and T-Bird' to 'finest road-holding, road-feeling MBs ever, better than the 300SL'.
Subjectivity must have a strong hand WRT to the early SL.

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On ‎2‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 9:25 AM, West Peterson said:

The 300S cabriolet cost around $13,000. The Sc was even more. The 300d Adeneur cost as much as $14,000.

This 300d will be featured in the March 2018 issue of Antique Automobile.

 

IMG_0626.JPG

That photo will appear far more impressive with all four windows lowered and the rear quarters removed!  Few know what a genuine hardtop is these days.

 

Craig

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8 hours ago, WQ59B said:

Seems like a number of conflicting verdicts on the 190SL, from 'poopless wonder', 'poor handling' & 'killed by the Corvette and T-Bird' to 'finest road-holding, road-feeling MBs ever, better than the 300SL'.
Subjectivity must have a strong hand WRT to the early SL.

Perhaps the early 300SL's were different but having driven a 1962 300SL many miles over a number of years I strongly feel it is without a doubt one of the finest handling and performing sports car ever. It is almost inconceivable to think that anyone who has driven both cars can believe that a 190SL can compare favorably in any aspect to a 300SL, unless price is the only criteria.

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I have a friend who owned a 190SL while in College.  This was back in the early 60s.  He was shocked when I told him what the 190SL brings now.  He was trying to decide between a MG and the MB,  both were the same price.

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On 3/1/2018 at 11:02 AM, A. Ballard 35R said:

West, you are absolutely correct about the 190SL. Back around 1960 a friend and I drove a TR3 from Pennsylvania to Pensacola Florida and returned accompanied by my aunt in her 190SL. The two of them always fought over who would drive the TR since it was a lot more fun and ran circles around the 190SL. As a result, I was left driving the 190SL thousands of miles best described as a very comfortable but low performance poor handling car that couldn't get out of its own way. Any moderate hill meant down shifting to third. Yes, the engine was an OHC four the same displacement as the TR but the car probably weighed 50% more than the TR.

 

I agree that the six figures prices are certainly not based on anyone ever having fun driving them. Sorry if 'Ive offended 190SL lovers but my comments are based on actual experience.

I drove a 190 SL a few years back before they escalated in price and thought it was a very nice driver. Not enough power, but comparable to many Brit sportsters of the day. I had a 67 250 SL at the time and was considering a trade for the 190. I didn't do it, much to my financial loss.

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Had the opportunity to inspect an in-progress / partially disassembled '59 190SL at an auction a few years ago. Franky I was surprised at how crudely the body was constructed.

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10 hours ago, WQ59B said:

Had the opportunity to inspect an in-progress / partially disassembled '59 190SL at an auction a few years ago. Franky I was surprised at how crudely the body was constructed.

As WQ59B said himself in a previous post, "Subjectivity must have a strong hand WRT to the early SL."  What else could explain such a baseless allegation that the 190 SL was crudely constructed.  The 190 SL was every bit as finely finished and hand fitted as was the 300SL.  Today, some may consider the 190 SL to have been too lightly powered, but when viewed among other cars of the era it was a most desirable item,  Fit and finish were typical Mercedes-Benz and the suspension was very close to perfect for providing a comfortable, "boulevard" ride over almost any surface.  The 190 SL must be viewed in the context of its design parameters, it was never intended to be a race car such as the 300 SL. but was built to fill the niche for a luxurious sports type vehicle bearing the Mercedes-Benz name for the US market with a price tag below that of the 300 SL. This lower price did not result in any diminution of Mercedes-Benz quality. 

 
Edited by ejboyd5 (see edit history)
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On ‎3‎/‎5‎/‎2018 at 6:29 AM, West Peterson said:

Well, I can't adjust that photo, but...

IMG_0667.JPG

Thank you!

 

Unless one counts the 1937 Röhr, which I believe was a one-off, Mercedes Benz was the only European manufacturer who offered a four-door hardtop.  A few, including Rover and Triumph came close, but not quite.  Rover's P5B 'Coupe' was intended to be a hardtop, but structural rigidity issues ended it up being a sedan.

 

Craig

Edited by 8E45E
spelling error (see edit history)
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Those cars came from brand new factories in West Germany with the maximum support from democratic republics just to prove democracy was the best system. The best manufacturing equipment and newest technology in the world. East Germany made a handful of lesser cars with equipment salvaged from rubble and the support of less affluence communist countries.

Great cars from West Germany.

Quite similar to the disparity in a more recent country divided north and south. The good stuff comes from the best financed side.

Bernie

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From my trusty 1960 "Red Book, National Used Car Market Report," which covers cars back to 1953,

the earliest M-B's to appear are the 1956 models, P.O.E. East Coast prices...

 

180 Sedan........$3,150

180D Sedan........3,428

 

190 Sedan..................3,298

190SL Sport Coupe...4,295  (convertible with hardtop)

190SL Convertible.....3,998 

 

219 Sedan.......3,680

220S Sedan.....4,494

220S Conv.......7,138   (Cabriolet)

 

300 Sedan............7,078

300 Limo..............7,368

300S Coupe.......12,898

300S Conv..........12,898

300S Roadster...12,898

300SL Spt. Cpe....7,295

 

By 1960, the prices were, P.O.E. East Coast...

 

180 Sedan........$3,250

180D Sedan........3,527

 

190 Sedan.....................3,441

190D Sedan..................3,718

190SL Roadster............5,032

190SL Coupe................5,244   (convertible with hardtop)

190SL Cpe Roadster....5,428   (I can't figure out why 3 190SL versions are listed for 1960)

 

220 Sedan..........4,283

220S Sedan........4,583

220SE Sedan......5,018

220SE Coupe......8,091

220SE Conv.........8,091   (Cabriolet)

 

300 Sedan................10,070

300 Conv Sdn..........12,644  ("Adenauer" 4-door convertible sedan not listed in Red Book for 1956)

300SL Roadster.......10,950

300SL Coupe...........11,128

300SL Cpe Rdstr......11,397

 

Hope this helps...

 

TG

Edited by TG57Roadmaster (see edit history)
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6 hours ago, ejboyd5 said:

As WQ59B said himself in a previous post, "Subjectivity must have a strong hand WRT to the early SL."  What else could explain such a baseless allegation that the 190 SL was crudely constructed.  The 190 SL was every bit as finely finished and hand fitted as was the 300SL...
Fit and finish were typical Mercedes-Benz and the suspension was very close to perfect for providing a comfortable, "boulevard" ride over almost any surface.  The 190 SL must be viewed in the context of its design parameters, it was never intended to be a race car such as the 300 SL. but was built to fill the niche for a luxurious sports type vehicle bearing the Mercedes-Benz name for the US market with a price tag below that of the 300 SL. This lower price did not result in any diminution of Mercedes-Benz quality. 

 

I don't know about 'baseless'; I inspected the car in person, partially disassembled, and I intimately know my own car dissassembled (also a '59, tho from a different Corporation. I'd gladly be specific, but am anticipating having to defend my audacity). I welcomed the opportunity to see the claimed 'M-B quality' up close. It was completely pedestrian and yes; aspects of it were crude. Add to that the methods of hardware attachment (exposed gaskets & screws on the exterior), and it falls solidly below the bar for the time. Maybe it's pertinent to consider Mercedes' fledgling production experience and scant 15 years from WWII as contributing factors. Unfortunately, by the '80s, the SL was really no better.

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From my Canadian 1963 "Red Book, National Used Car Market Report," which covers cars back to 1956,

the earliest M-B's to appear are the 1958 models, P.O.E. prices...

 

180 Sedan........$3,270

180a Sedan........3,270

180D Sedan........3,475

 

190 Sedan..................3,545

190SL Roadster.........5,595  

190SL Cpe Rdster......5,845   (convertible with hardtop)

 

219 Sedan.......3,785

220S Sedan.....4,500

220S Conv.......7,900   (Cabriolet)

 

300d Sedan............11,500

300SL Roadster.....12,500

 

By 1960, the prices were...

 

180 Sedan........$3,380

180D Sedan........3,470

 

190D Sedan..................3,710

190SL Coupe................5,615   (convertible w/o hardtop)

190SL Cpe Roadster....5,615   (convertible with hardtop)

 

220 Sedan..........4,105

220S Sedan........4,705

220SE Sedan......5,200

220SE Coupe......8,400

220SE Conv.........8,400   (Cabriolet)

 

300SL Cpe Rdstr......12,500

 

TG

 

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