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1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Cabriolet

The flagship 300-series sedan debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1951. The large, elegant six-cylinder sedan was graceful yet imposing, a fine statement of European luxury that was available in either four door sedan or striking four door full convertible configurations. The 300 received great praise for its exceptional engineering and build quality. Shortly after the debut of the big sedan and convertible, Mercedes unveiled a sporting version, the 300S – the “S” denoting it as Super. This new variant bridged the gap between the four door 300 and the much anticipated (though still in-development) 300SL super sports car. The 300S rode on a chassis that was 25 centimeters shorter than the four-door, and was available as an elegant closed coupe, or a beautiful open-topped cabriolet or roadster. S specification cars featured an uprated 3.0 liter inline six. A trio of Solex carburetors and a boosted compression ratio helped the big six to produce a healthy 150 horsepower, up from the standard car’s 115. The engine is backed by a smooth and reliable four-speed manual with a delightfully slick column shift. Suspension is independent up front with a swing axle arrangement in the rear, sprung with coil springs. The ride is of course tuned for comfort, but the 300S is still a respectable handler for a car of its size and remarkably stable and quiet at speed.

As Mercedes-Benz’s top offering, the cabin was of course luxuriously trimmed in leather, wood and wool. Jewel-like chrome trim and switchgear grace the elegant dashboard and make the 300S feel like a truly special place to be. All 300s featured powerful vacuum brakes as standard, along with other luxuries such as windscreen washers and reclining seats. Exclusivity was assured as only 560 examples of the 300S were hand-built between 1952 and 1958. That exclusivity also came with a price: A whopping $12,680 in 1953. Notable 300S owners included Cary Grant, Gary Cooper and The Aga Khan, all of whom could easily afford the cost of entry into the exclusive club.

This exceptional 300S dates from 1953 and is one of only 203 Cabriolet A’s constructed. It is a numbers matching example, that fact confirmed by an official Daimler-Benz Certificate of Authenticity. This car is very well-documented and has enjoyed low ownership history, with only two owners from new. The original owner cherished it for 26 years, from 1953 through 1979. It was then passed on to the second owner who clearly also had a great love for it, as they cared for it exceptionally well. It was subsequently treated to a no-expense spared restoration by respected marque expert Don Mertz, which was completed in 2010. Experts agree the 300S is among the most costly of all post-war cars to restore, thanks to their complex build and extensive chrome detailing. The previous owner certainly spent a vast amount to fulfill his dream but the results are, without a doubt, magnificent. The medium red color is superbly suited to the graceful and curvaceous body lines with just a hint of sportiness. It almost goes without saying that fit and finish is truly outstanding and every piece of brightwork is finished to perfection. Color matched wheels and center caps round out the beautiful body.

In true flagship fashion, the 300S was hand built to order and trimmed with only the finest materials. The restoration has faithfully reproduced that hand crafted feel. Leather covers nearly every soft surface in the cabin with luxurious wool carpeting covering the floors. The dash, windscreen surround, and door caps are covered in exquisite hand-finished burl walnut. Switchgear and instrumentation have also been restored to the highest standards and display a feeling of quality and substance that is unparalleled. A correct German canvas cabriolet top has been hand fitted, featuring the signature landau irons and a full headlining.

Under the hood, the numbers-matching, triple carb engine is meticulously detailed with correct markings, decals and finishes throughout. Thankfully, performance is up to par with the looks, making this a magnificent driving machine. The theme of excellence continues underneath the car with correct details, finishes and hardware used throughout the chassis. It has been expertly sorted and in true Mercedes-Benz fashion, will return plenty of miles of worry-free motoring.

Certificate of authenticity, extensive documentation of its ownership and restoration, a full complement of fantastic fitted luggage, original handbooks, original tool roll, dual spare wheels, and original jack will all be included in the sale.

Since the restoration was completed in 2010, this fine machine has been honored with several first place awards from many prestigious concours events. It is still in exceptional condition and would be most welcome at nearly any major concours or driving event in North America or Europe.

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