Lot 36

1934 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Offener Tourenwagen

Coachwork by Sindelfingen

Register to Bid

Estimate

$1,250,000 - $1,750,000| Without Reserve

Chassis

105355

Engine

105355 / Body No. 81404

Car Highlights

Among the Last Unrestored Supercharged Eight-Cylinder Mercedes

One of Five Surviving Examples of This Style on the 500 K Chassis

Retained in Single Family Ownership for Approximately 50 Years

Displayed at the Pebble Beach and Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Technical Specs

5,018 CC OHV Inline 8-Cylinder Engine

Single Updraft Carburetor

Roots-Type Supercharger

160 BHP at 3,400 RPM (with Supercharger Engaged)

4-Speed Manual Gearbox

4-Wheel Vacuum-Assisted Hydraulic Drum Brakes

Front Independent Double-Wishbone Suspension with Coil Springs

Rear Swing-Axle Suspension with Coil Springs

The name Offener Tourenwagen, or “open touring car,” in Mercedes-Benz parlance often brings to mind the vast and weighty 770 Ks of the late 1930s. On their sibling supercharged 500 K chassis, however, it referred to something entirely different: a very attractive two-door open model, with a rather low, subtly curving beltline, that recalled the powerful Sports 4 style of earlier K and S-type models. It was a very sporting automobile and one of the most masterful creations of the factory coachbuilders at Sindelfingen, who finished each body with the superb craftsmanship and quality materials for which they were renowned.

Chassis 105355, is one of only five surviving examples of this style on the 500 K chassis. According to its original Mercedes-Benz kommission sheet, a copy of which is on file, this car was originally delivered in late 1934 to Rudolf Hess of Berlin, one of the highest ranking members of the ruling National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Hess famously flew solo to Scotland in 1941 in a failed attempt to get the UK to exit the war. Instead, he was taken prisoner and convicted. To the victors, however, go the spoils: The 500 K was eventually commandeered at the end of WWII, and like so many of its brethren, wound up being used by American GI’s in Germany, then afterward came to the US.

As early as 1955, the car was in the ownership of V. Link Milsark of Vienna, West Virginia; a copy of a West Virginia title in his name, dated that year, is on file. Known to friends as “The Mayor of Rose Holler,” Mr. Milsark was an auto mechanic, aviator, model train collector, and a genuine character in every sense of the word. He is not known to have shown the 500 K in his decades of ownership but was nonetheless an enthusiastic owner, maintaining membership in and listing the car with the Classic Car Club of America for decades.

Mark Smith acquired the long-hidden Milsark 500 K in 2005 through what can only be described as one of his characteristic transactions, involving multiple cars and parties. He was undoubtedly pleased with the acquisition, which remained one of the great centerpieces of his collection ever after.

Retaining its original, numbers-matching chassis and engine per factory records, as well as the original typenschild on the firewall, the car remains startlingly original, never restored, and “improved” only as necessary over the years. Mr. Smith kept it much as he acquired it, with sensitivity towards preserving the condition in which it had been left by its long-term prior owner. At some point the bottoms of the front seats were replaced and covers were fit over the seat backs; the balance of the interior, including the door cards and rear seat, is that fitted at Sindelfingen in 1934. A 1955–1956 West Virginia DMV inspection sticker is even still intact on the windshield.

Mr. Smith exhibited his 500 K in the Prewar Preservation class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® in 2006, and at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 2019, where it received an Amelia Award in the exclusive 500 K/540 K class. Due to its high degree of originality and fascinating history, it ought to be a welcome entrant into many other concours, recognizing what its longtime owners saw in it: a very special automobile, made only more so by its passage through time.

*Please note that this Lot, like all vehicles in this Auction, has been in long-term static storage and may not be currently operational. It will require mechanical attention prior to any road use.

Gooding & Company presents and conducts the Estate of Mark Smith Auction under the authority of John J. Rendemonti, Executor of the Estate of Mark J. Smith, duly appointed by the Circuit Court of the State of New Hampshire, Probate Division, Case Number 312-2022-ET-00072. The Estate has compiled available title and/or registration paperwork for the Vehicles offered in the Auction and will provide such paperwork to the Buyer if it is available. However, as set forth more fully in the Conditions of Sale, neither the Estate nor Gooding makes any representation or warranty with respect to any existing certificate of title or registration with regard to any Lot in the Auction. Any Lot may be sold on a Bill of Sale. By participating in this Auction, all bidders and buyers recognize that Estate and Gooding have expressly disclaimed all such warranties concerning the availability or sufficiency of any title or registration documentation.

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