18 January 2013

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Lot 144

1956 Mercedes-Benz 300Sc Cabriolet

  • Chassis no. 188.013.6500077

Sold for $990,000

175 bhp, 2,996 cc overhead-cam fuel-injected inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, rear swing axles with coil springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 114.25 in.

• 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.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo

Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Sotheby's in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in Histo... read more

Alex Classick

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United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby's in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born ... read more

Annette Abaci

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With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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California, United States

Barney Ruprecht graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a degree in Hospitality Administration. In ... read more

Dan Warrener

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Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a car specialist in May 2015. He is a lifelong automobile enthusiast and g... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Sotheby's in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and re... read more

Ian Kelleher

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New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Sotheby's in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in ... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

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Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a restoration shop as a teenag... read more

Max Girardo

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United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby's, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Gra... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his ho... read more

Peter Wallman

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United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

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Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a car specialist. A... read more