Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet
The Mercedes-Benz 300 series, introduced at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1951, was the marque’s first new postwar automobile, and was designed specifically for the export market, particularly the United States. At the time, the American economy was booming, and it was only natural to design a car to attract much-needed export dollars by meeting that market’s needs. As Mercedes’ new flagship model, the 300 was very attractive, with a modern wrap-around windshield and flush-mounted headlights. The 300 and its various iterations remained in production for 11 years – a testament to the soundness of its concept and execution.
The magnitude of the achievement was exceptional. In February 1952, The Autocar declared, “…to have repaired the devastation of war and then designed, developed and brought to production these new models is a great achievement, and the unremitting effort involved may have contributed to the death of Dr. Haspel, the managing director of the Daimler-Benz company whose career was recently cut short at the age of 53, just at the moment when he had succeeded in restoring the oldest car factory in the world to a competitive place in international markets.”
The 300 S, or “Super”, model was introduced in mid-1952, and combined elements of the existing 300 series with the upcoming but delayed 300SL sports car. The most notable enhancement included a 30 percent increase in horsepower, from 115 to 150. Praised by the motoring press, this new car was capable of a remarkable top speed of 110 miles per hour. Its appearance was also enhanced with a wraparound windshield, graceful fender lines and a curved rear bodyline. The comprehensive list of standard equipment included a signal-seeking radio, no-glare mirrors, vacuum-assisted brakes, backup lights, reclining seats and windshield washers. Priced from $12,680, they cost as much as 10 standard cars and as a result, approximately 560 examples of the 300 S were built. Of course, such exclusivity resulted in an enviable list of wealthy and famous clients, including the Aga Khan, Gary Cooper and Cary Grant.
More importantly, the 300 S introduced three sporty new bodies on a 25-centimeter shorter chassis, including a coupe, cabriolet and roadster. Although the styling was fresh and modern, the interior was most impressive. In comparison to the spartan automotive furnishings of some of its contemporaries, the new 300 S featured a lavish interior with supple leather, glossy and perfect burled walnut trim, a dash with chrome-accented instruments and switchgear made with the precision of fine jewelry.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2009 at the The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.
150bhp, 2,996 cc overhead cam inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, front suspension by forged A-arms with frictionless coil springs and anti-roll bar, swing axle rear suspension with coil springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 114"
Source: RM Auctions