18 January 2013
1956 Mercedes-Benz 300Sc Cabriolet
- Chassis no. 188.013.6500077
Sold for $990,000
• One of 49 examples produced
• Outstanding, authentic restoration by specialist Charles Brahms
• Nicely documented, including correspondence from previous owners
Highly desirable and considered by many to be the “ultimate” 300, the 300Sc was introduced in 1955, packing a 300SL engine with Bosch mechanical fuel injection, good for a factory-rated 175 horsepower, although the actual figure was nearer 200. It also featured new “low-pivot” swing axle rear suspension, which was also developed and perfected on the 300SL. The combination of the 300’s advanced oval tubular chassis, suspension, and powerful engine produced a powerful grand tourer ideal for long-distance travel through Europe. It was the true spiritual successor to the 500K and 540K that are now so fiercely prized by enthusiasts. Only 200 examples were produced in three different body styles, and this is one of them.
Chassis 6500077 has an astoundingly well-documented provenance, with known ownership since it was only a few years old. This car, one of only 49 300Sc Cabriolets produced, was delivered from the Mercedes-Benz factory on April 27, 1956 to dealer Schoemperlen & Gast in Karlsruhe, in southwest Germany. It is reported that the first owner had a brewery in or near Karlsruhe and that his car was seen by an importer from New Jersey, who saw it while there on a trip and negotiated for its purchase and transport into the United States. He sold it to David Siegrist, President of Montclair Studebaker-Packard Inc., of Montclair, New Jersey, and it was then acquired from him in 1960, by Ben Halsell, of Green Farms, Connecticut.
Mr. Halsell retained the magnificent Mercedes until July of 1978, when he sold it to marque specialist Alex Dearborn. In correspondence from the time of the sale, which is retained in the car’s file, Halsell notes that the luggage accompanying the 300Sc appeared to have been unused by that time, and that in all the time he owned it, he only added 39,000 kilometers, for a total of 77,000. Perhaps it is most fitting of 6500077 to describe Halsell’s true feelings on parting ways with his Mercedes-Benz: “To stand and see this machine leave our place might be like losing the warmth and other attractions of a Sophia Loren or a Raquel Welch.” It is also important to note that the car file retains Mr. Halsell’s correspondence with Mercedes-Benz of North America, in which he received information about 300Sc production, verification of the dealer in Germany to whom the car was originally delivered, and a copy of the original handwritten build sheet, a transcription into typewritten German, and a transcription into typewritten English.
Mr. Dearborn retained the car for four years, passing it on to Michael Hall, of Newport Beach, California. In correspondence to a subsequent owner, Dearborn notes that at the time, “the car was completely original, including the paint, and beautiful enough to win the local MBCA Concours.” Mr. Hall entrusted the Mercedes-Benz to marque specialist Charles Brahms, who was one of the leading 300Sc experts at the time. A full restoration was performed by Mr. Brahms, who reportedly did not do partial restorations and did not cut corners, resulting in a flawless presentation. After Hall’s ownership, the car passed through a series of owners until coming into the current ownership in the late-1990s.
After its acquisition by the current owner, the 300Sc was sent to specialists Hjeltness Restoration, of Escondido, California. The Mercedes was thoroughly inspected, and any items that needed to be freshened or corrected were expertly executed. The front and rear carpeting was replaced and other cosmetic items were addressed, which included a re-veneering of all the interior wood; a re-covering of the leather dash and glove box door; a repairing of any nicks or blemishes in the paint; a replacing of the bumper guard rubbers; and having the radio rebuilt by specialist Charles Siegfried.
In addition to the cosmetic work, all mechanical items possibly needing attention were addressed, including a rebuilding of the water pump; a servicing of the brakes, which included having White Post Restorations sleeve the master and wheel cylinders; a repairing and reinstalling of the temperature and amperage gauges; a replacement of various gaskets and seals; and sorting other various minutia down to the battery cables and hold downs.
In its current ownership among an exclusive stable of the finest European sports and racing cars, nothing is allowed into the garage unless it is top notch. Since the work performed by Hjeltness, it has been properly maintained with regular service and exercise, and it remains imposing and simply beautiful. As presented, the dark blue paint is in excellent condition, with straight body panels and impeccable chrome. The blue top is just as fine, complemented by the grey leather upholstery, which exhibits only the slightest amount of wear. The luggage remains in excellent condition and displays little-to-no wear. Presented here is a truly turn-key example of one of Mercedes-Benz’s most desirable post-war products.
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