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Lot 154

2017   |   Pebble Beach Auctions 2017

1928 Mercedes-Benz S-Type 26/180 Sports Tourer

Coachwork by Gläser

Estimate

$5,000,000 - $6,000,000

Chassis

35920

Engine

68674 | Commision: 39901

Car Highlights

Cherished in a Private Collection Since 1964
Spectacular Gläser Coachwork, and the Only Known Example
Veteran of Numerous Concours, Tours, and Rallies
Restored and Continuously Maintained by the Renowned D.L. George Coachworks Ltd.
Among the Greatest of All Mercedes-Benz Touring Cars

Technical Specs

6,789 CC SOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Twin Updraft Carburetors
Roots-Type Supercharger
180 HP at 3,000 RPM (Blower Engaged)
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes
Suspension by Live Axles and Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs

Saleroom Addendum

*Please note that this vehicle is titled by its engine number.

Register to Bid

Offered from Single-Family Ownership of 53 YearsLouis Delling, Dresden, Germany (acquired new in 1928)Peter F. Whalley, Virginia Water, Surrey, England (acquired via Scott-Moncrieff Motors by 1938)Douglas A.J.F. Hodson, Cambridgeshire, England (acquired in 1952)Walter Stocklin, St. Michaels, MarylandLeo Pavelle, New York City (acquired from the above)Current Owner and Family (acquired from the above via Ed Jurist, Nyack, New York in August 1964)

AACA Spring National, Winchester, Virginia, May 1969 (First Junior Award)AACA Northeastern Pennsylvania Region, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, May 1969 (First in Class, Best of Show)Reading Garden Party, Reading, Pennsylvania, May 1969 (Best Antique Car)Mercedes-Benz Club of America Meet, Washington, D.C., June 1969 (First in Class, Best in Show)Scottish Games, Wilmington, Delaware, June 1969 (Chieftain’s Choice)AACA Fall National, Hershey, Pennsylvania, October 1969 (First Senior)Reading Garden Party, Reading, Pennsylvania, May 1970 (Best Antique Car)AACA Fall National, Hershey, Pennsylvania, October 1970 (First Senior)CCCA Grand National, Buck Hill Falls, Pennsylvania, January 1971 (First Primary)VMCCA Rallye and Concours d’Elegance, Tarrytown, New York, October 1983 (First in Class)The Elegance at Hershey, Hershey, Pennsylvania, June 2014 (Most Elegant Open Prewar Car)Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, Amelia Island, Florida, March 2016(Most Elegant Mercedes-Benz)

Within a year of the historic merger between Mercedes and Benz, the S-Type of 1927 married the engineering expertise and motor sports pedigree of the two companies with spectacular success. The brainchild of technical director Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, the imposing 6.8-liter S was a bold step forward from the capable but less sophisticated K-Type that it replaced. The new S-Type was a much more advanced machine, with the added benefit of being lighter, lower, and more powerful.

The S-Type employed a unique method of aspiration – a Roots-type supercharger that engaged when the throttle was fully depressed, resulting in a surge of acceleration and an unforgettable mechanical shriek.

Throughout the 1927 racing season, legendary driver Rudolf Caracciola and his teammate, Adolf Rosenberger, proved unbeatable in an S-Type, adding to the team’s staggering collection of hill climb and tournament trophies. The S-Type’s reputation spread as far as the US, where the great Ralph DePalma drove one to victory in Atlantic City, New Jersey, recording a sensational 80 mph average. With the competition wins came great prominence and marketability. Given its impressive stature and supercharged power plant, the S-Type was a grand touring car of unrivaled performance and prestige, elevating the Mercedes-Benz name to the world stage.

While the S-Types of 1927 and 1928 have individual qualities, each of the 146 built shared the extremely low hood line that is longer than the coachwork behind it, as well as three curved, external exhaust pipes that not-so-subtly announce the capabilities of the engine. While a majority of the cars were bodied by the Sindelfingen factory, many examples received custom coachwork from famed coachbuilders such as Saoutchik, Murphy, Erdmann & Rossi, Corsica, Castagna, and Gläser. A historian of the model has accounted for some 58 S-Type cars that survive to this day, and most reside in major, permanent collections throughout the world.

The special car offered here is believed to be a one-off example, and is among the most sporting of all; close examination reveals countless details at which to marvel. Its oversized Belgian Supralux headlamps frame the imposing, thermometer-equipped, three-pointed star radiator cap. And its auxiliary wartime blackout headlamps date from the earliest known images of the car.

Copies of its factory build sheets confirm that the car retains its original engine, that it was sent to Gläser-Karosserie in Dresden for coachwork in late May 1928, and that it was completed for Louis Delling, a prominent grocer in Dresden, who took delivery later in the year. According to records from The Mercedes-Benz Club in the UK, the S-Type had two UK-based owners in the 1930s before the Sports Tourer made its way to the US, likely in the 1950s. According to the owner’s records, it had two stateside owners based on the East Coast. In 1964, this S-Tourer was on display with noted classic car enthusiast and dealer Ed Jurist at his Vintage Car Store, where it was offered for sale.

The current owner and his family have maintained ownership of this dramatic machine since August 1964, when he acquired it from Mr. Jurist for the princely sum of $15,000. This new caretaker, who was enlisted in the Navy at the time, bought it sight unseen on the strong advice of his brother, and the S-Tourer has essentially been regarded as a member of the family ever since. In spite of the snow white over red color scheme that it wore when it first joined the family stable of cars, there was no denying how exciting this spectacular automobile was. The helmet-style front fenders with the sporting flair at their rear edge, and lack of traditional running boards, accentuated the car’s length and low stance. The louvered rocker panels appear to enumerate every inch of the wheelbase between the 20" wire wheels and copper-plated brake drums; and the hood panels, topped with twin rows of 57 louvers each, extend well beyond the firewall and close to the low, V’d windshield. The rear fenders echo the design of the front but with a more pronounced extension at the rear, beautifully framing the dual rear spares. The body’s cut-down doors and curvaceous accent lines combine to create one of the most exciting-looking cars of the era. With performance to match its design, Mercedes-Benz built the reputation for excellence that continues to this day.

In the mid-1960s, the car received a thorough restoration, and leading specialists were entrusted with renewing the engine, radiator, and suspension. The coachwork was refinished in the black and yellow color scheme that it displays today, a new black canvas top was installed, and the interior was re-trimmed in black leather. Once completed, the Mercedes-Benz made its concours debut in the Northeast in 1969, never placing lower than first, and garnered multiple special and Best of Show awards. Following its success on the show circuit, the S-Type became a cherished driver for the owner and his family, even taking part in more than one family wedding over the ensuing decades.

The owner often mused that his Mercedes-Benz helped make each day more enjoyable, and for a time, he would use the car on an almost daily basis, including for simple errands, picking up his children from school, and taking them on evening excursions to the ice cream shop. It is fair to say that the car became an extremely common, though memorable, sight around the owner’s hometown as he joyously drove it over tens of thousands of miles.

The S-Type’s exhaustive file of receipts, diagrams, correspondence, and photos, dating to the owner’s 1964 purchase, accompanies the sale and underscores the active role that was taken in researching the car’s history and sourcing proper items and services from marque specialists around the world. The search for the proper, faceted flex tubing for the exposed exhaust pipes is one such example, as only an exact match to the rare original material was acceptable. Restoration of the engine and its many ancillaries, gauges, lights, brightwork, and more are covered in similar detail within the fascinating pages of the file.

Since the mid-1990s, the renowned David George and the specialists at D.L. George Coachworks Ltd. of Cochranville, Pennsylvania, have continued to keep the S-Type in perpetually top form, with no undertaking too large or small to help ensure that each component performs as closely as possible to what it did when new.

A second major restoration effort, which began in 2013, included a completely new wiring harness, exterior refinish, an interior re-trim, and substantial mechanical work. As soon as the work was complete, the S-Type was transported west from its Eastern Seaboard enclave for the first time ever, where it was met by the owner and his son so they could take part in the 2015 Colorado Grand, a longtime goal. Seeing the gleaming, freshly refinished Mercedes-Benz for the first time, their smiles were immense, as this was the culmination of many years of effort and care that had been put into the car. Certainly among the older cars to participate in the challenging event that year, the Sports Tourer, as always, drew admiring smiles and cheers along the route.

Not long after the western excursion, the owner was asked by his son what he loved most about the car. “I just loved opening her up, letting her run,” he said. Adds his son: “When she is opened up, she is pretty great. The engine growls at idle but purrs at speed. Everyone in her or around her smiles as her sleek lines go charging down the road. Then the supercharger kicks in!”

Beloved for his wit and kind manner by all who knew him, the owner passed away in late 2016, leaving the future of his prized Mercedes-Benz up to his children. Following much debate, they have decided that it is time for their dad’s car, which he kept for over two-thirds of his life, to have a new caretaker. Gooding & Company is truly honored to have been entrusted with presenting this incomparable Mercedes-Benz to the car-collecting community.