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 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 and was a favorite of celebrities and heads of state alike, including Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, whose affinity for the sedan earned its eponymous nickname. Shortly after the big sedan and convertible debuted, 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 300SL sports car. The 300S chassis was shortened by 25 centimeters and was available as an elegant closed coupe, a beautiful open-topped cabriolet, or a disappearing-top 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 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. The suspension is independent in front with a swing axle arrangement in the rear, sprung with coils. While tuned for comfort, the 300S is still a respectable handler for a car of its size while also remaining impressively poised 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 an extraordinary 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, who all could easily afford the cost of entry into the exclusive club.

This exceptional 300S dates from 1953 and is one of only 203 Cabriolet As constructed. It is a numbers-matching example confirmed by Daimler-Benz build records and is very well-documented, with just three owners from new. The first 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 and cared for it exceptionally well. They subsequently treated it to a no-expense-spared restoration by respected marque expert Don Mertz, completed in 2010. Restoration specialists generally agree that the 300S is one of the costliest of all post-war cars to restore due to its complexity and extensive chrome detailing. The previous owner indeed spent a vast sum to fulfill his dream, and the results are, without a doubt, magnificent. The medium red color is superbly suited to the graceful and curvaceous body lines, lending a subtle sporting character. The fit and finish are truly outstanding, and every piece of the brightwork is finished to perfection. Color-matched wheels and center caps round out the superb presentation.

In true flagship fashion, the 300S was built to order and trimmed with only the finest materials at Mercedes-Benz’s Sindelfingen works. The restoration has faithfully reproduced the handcrafted 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 exquisitely finished burl wood trim. Switchgear, instrumentation, and the original in-dash radio have also been restored to the highest standards and display a feeling of unparalleled quality. A proper German canvas cabriolet top has been hand-fitted, featuring the signature landau irons and a full headlining. Certificate of authenticity, extensive documentation of its ownership and restoration, a full complement of gorgeous fitted luggage, original handbooks, original tool roll, dual spare wheels, and original jack will all be included in the sale.

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

Since the restoration was completed in 2010, this fine machine has been honored with several first-place awards from many prestigious concours events. It remains exceptional and would be a welcome entry into nearly any prestigious concours or driving event in North America or Europe.


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