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Author Topic: Mercedes-Benz 500K Cabriolet C - Original RHD  (Read 1785 times)

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Offline Des

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Mercedes-Benz 500K Cabriolet C - Original RHD
« on: May 06, 2011, 05:29:43 AM »
Mercedes-Benz 500K Cabriolet C - Original RHD, British Delivery 1935 for sale

Make: Mercedes-Benz
Type: 500K Cabriolet C - Original RHD, British Delivery
Year: 1935
Price: On Request
Advert ID: 51112

‘If Thor, the god of Thunder, owned a car it would be a Supercharged Mercedes.’ So much has been written over the years about these magnificent cars, but this statement is probably as accurate a description as any. Very few cars, before or since, have been so imposing, exclusive, charismatic and simply Wagnerian in conception. The supercharged Mercedes have long gone down in history as some of the world’s greatest cars.

Daimler Benz began development of the supercharged car for road and racing use at an early stage. Starting about 1919, they turned to supercharging in order to gain extra power from the slow-running engines of the period. That they succeeded is shown by a long line of cars from the 1922 Targa Florio winner to the W125 and W154 Grand Prix cars of the last years before the war, passing through the SSK and SSKL, before reaching the 500K and 540K, the last supercharged ‘production’ models ever made.

The 500K was introduced in 1934 as a replacement for the 380, and was immediately greeted with enthusiasm by motoring connoisseurs the world over; journalists spoke of ‘the sheer insolence of its great power’. Hitler’s Autobahn programme had begun and the coveted car was one which would speed down these vast roads in style and comfort; the 500K fitted the role admirably. Thus, the days of aesthetic functionality in German automobile styling had ended; the stark and purposeful SSK was replaced by the aggressive and imposing 500K. It has often been observed that automotive design reflects the culture of the producing nation; certainly the turmoil developing in the German psyche of the mid-Thirties can be visualised today in the chrome and mass of the arrogant 500K Cabriolet ‘C’ - one can imagine the Baron, or perhaps the Nazi party dignitary, blasting the peasant with oxcart (or simply a smaller car) inadvertently encumbering the passage of this juggernaut!

The car’s mechanical specification was every bit as impressive as its external appearance. The straight eight engine displaced 5019 c.c., and produced 100 bhp. unblown, 160b.h.p. with the supercharger engaged. In order to activate this fiendish device, one pressed down on the accelerator a extra few degrees - the results produced by such action were vividly described by H.S. Linfield of The Autocar in 1936: ‘One’s foot goes hard down, and an almost demonical howl comes in . . . the rev counter and speedometer needles leap round their dials; there is perhaps no other car noise in the world so distinctive as that produced by the Mercedes supercharger.’

The 500 K’s chassis complete with helical-spindle steering had been adopted - though in further refined form - from the preceding 380: the new double-wishbone axle with coil springs at the front and the double-joint swing axle - complemented by double coil springs and additional transverse balancing spring - at the rear.

The vacuum-boosted service brake acted hydraulically on all four wheels, the mechanical parking brake on the rear wheels. The chassis weighed as much as 1,700 kilograms; the complete car tipped the scales at 2,300 kilograms and the permissible gross weight was around 2,700 kilograms.

No matter what version of the 500 K you look at, the elegance of its body sends people into raptures even today: every single one had been given its own, unparalleled personality by the ingenious coachbuilders in Sindelfingen.

Only few customers opted for bodywork tailored by independent bodybuilders to their own wishes (the price lists quoted the chassis as individual items), especially since the good men at Sindelfingen rose above themselves in accommodating the customers’ special wishes, for instance for individual fender versions, rear-end designs or interior appointments.

Within two years, 342 units of the 500 K were produced, of which only 90 carried the elegant yet practical Cabriolet C coachwork.

Chassis No. 113625 is a very rare specimen indeed, as it is a right hand drive example ordered on 16th November 1934 and consequently first being delivered in 1935 to a certain Mr Penney through Mercedes-Benz Ltd. in London with the registration number BXO 444.

One can only guess the motives behind such an acquisition, as the rise of Mr Hitler in Germany must have prevented a great number of potential clients in the UK of buying anything remotely German, let alone one of the symbols of the Reich such as this imposing motor car. The commission number of this 500 K was 20820 with the body number being 815711.

After the war the car found its way to the United States, where it remained from 1962 to 1993 with one owner in California, who embarked on a comprehensive restoration which was only finished towards the end of his ownership. From 1993 to 1998 it reportedly covered a mere 56 miles with another American owner, before returning in 1998 to the Fatherland. Since then it remained in a notable private collection with its own mechanic. A recent invoice of April 2008 shows some engine work for € 3,500. It is reported that this stunning car won numerous Concours d’Elegance in America, among them a Best of Show in 1996.

Chassis 113625 is most handsomely finished in dark red over beige with a tan leather interior and hood and the typical mother of pearl dashboard inserts. It is described by the vendor as being in superb condition throughout. These impressive masters of the Autobahn are rarely offered in this condition, even rarer in right hand drive form and should be considered by any serious collector.

Offered with an older American title from the 1990s and current German Historic registration papers.  Seller: Coys showroom 
Phone: +44 (0)208 614 7888