• This Month's Issue

    Red-Hot and Rapidly Rising: 1985 288 GTO $2.4m

    Why U.S. Customs is Destroying British Imports

    Mangustas: No Longer Undervalued

    Porsche 924S Provides Magic on a Budget

    Racing Past a Million: 1955 Austin-Healey 100S

    Read More
  • SCM Platinum

    Over 200 cars that sold at auction covered in every issue of SCM. Our market reports include detailed information about the vehicle, including VIN, condition, options, and expert analysis from SCM's auction reporters.

    SCM Platinum is the largest database of collector cars sold at auction. Over 150,000 vehicles, including over 59,000 with detailed write-ups from our auction reporters.

    Now optimized for your mobile devices!

    Read More
  • Glovebox Notes

    SCM doesn't just cover collector cars. Every week, SCM reviews a brand new car online and in our newsletters, and there are new reviews every month in the magazine. Thinking of buying a new car? Check out our reviews!

    Read More
  • Insider’s Guide to Concours d’Elegance

    The 2014 guide includes a calendar of events and detailed descriptions of 21 featured concours.

    Read More

Recent Blog Posts

  • Love From Land Rover +

    Read More
  • Upgrade Your Classic With a 5-Speed? +

    Should you upgrade the transmission on your vintage car? That's one of the debates in today's collector car world. The discussions revolve around "as built" correctness versus upgrades for driveability. Most of the small-displacement, under-2,000-cc vintage cars from the '50s and '60s handle, stop and start reasonably well. You simply Read More
  • The Alfa, Viper, Volvo, Méhari and Me +

    A Gearhead's Trip Through A Vintage-Car Theme Park You can tell the weather is getting better because I'm spending more time in the SCM/ACC garage. It all started last week when seven-year-old Bradley asked if I would take him to school in the Viper. I asked why that car, and Read More
  • Old Cars: More Reliable Now Than Ever +

    I was giving a talk at the local MG club meeting last Friday evening. We were discussing road trips, and the SCM “Road to Reno” adventure came up. In 2011, we bought three 1972-73 MGBs (two convertibles and a GT), refurbished them and drove to Reno for the All-MG Register Read More
  • April 2015 Cover Poll +

    Our Art Director, David Tomaro, has created three possible cover concepts, and we'd like to know which one is your favorite. Click here to cast your vote! In addition, please take a few moments and answer some questions about collector cars. It should all take less than a minute, and Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

Collector Car News

  • "My Classic Car" Star Dennis Gage Joins Keels & Wheels as Grand Marshal +

    Dennis Gage, the mustachioed host of Velocity's "My Classic Car," will be Grand Marshal at the 2015 Keels & Wheels Concours d'Elegance. The concours takes place May 2-3 in Seabrook, TX. SCM Publisher Keith Martin returns as emcee. Gage will be on the grounds meeting participants and visitors, signing autographs and Read More
  • The Andrews Collection: "The Best of That Little Bit of Everything" +

    RM Sotheby's presents the Paul and Chris Andrews Collection in Fort Worth, TX, April 30–May 2. The collection includes some of the finest and rarest cars the hobby has ever seen. As part of an effort to downsize their collection to a more manageable level, the father and son team Read More
  • SVRA and Motostalgia Partner for June 12 Auction at Indianapolis Motor Speedway +

    Motostalgia is now the Official Auction Company of the SVRA. The partnership kicks off with an exclusive collector car auction at the Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational on June 12. This joint venture will provide the true enthusiast the opportunity to enjoy two of the most exciting experiences in motorsports: auctions and Read More
  • Sotheby’s Acquires 25% Ownership Interest in RM Auctions +

    Sotheby's has acquired a 25% ownership interest in RM Auctions, which will now be known as RM Sotheby's. This long-term investment comes as the more than $2 billion market for the finest automobiles continues to grow, presenting increasing opportunities for both companies. Sotheby's and RM have previously collaborated on successful sales in Read More
  • 1966 Jaguar XKE Series I 4.2 Roadster at AA Fort Lauderdale +

    Auctions America has consigned a 1966 Jaguar XKE Series I 4.2 roadster for their Fort Lauderdale auction. The sale takes place March 27–29. This car has been fully restored and features some upgrades for an improved driving experience on modern roads (Auctions America estimate: $250k–$290k). Read more here. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

1935 mercedes benz 500k special roadster


In 1933 the first of a new generation of Mercedes-Benz cars were issued from the Untertürkheim factory, incorporating advanced features for the time. The Mercedes-Benz 380 offered a fully independent suspension chassis with coil springs, unprecedented for the time. Front suspension was by dual A-arms, at the rear swing axles were used, giving ride and handling that were unprecedented for the time, even on racing cars.
The 380 was powered by a straight eight engine displacing 3820 cc. These impressive specifications, however, proved less than a match for the elaborate, and often heavy, coachwork Mercedes owners preferred, thereby diminishing the 380’s performance. So diminished, in fact, that only 154 were built before production ended barely a year after the model’s introduction.
The disappointment of the 380 was followed by the success of one of Mercedes-Benz’s great models, the W29 160-horsepower 500K which reintroduced the “K” (Kompressor) designation made famous by the SSK and SSKL. Almost as many 500Ks were built in the changeover year of 1934 (105) as in the 380’s two-year run. The 500K was an unabashedly luxurious automobile, as attested by its standard equipment. This included two spare wheels and tires, safety glass, electric windshield wipers, tool kit, lighted number plates, hydraulic brakes, central lubrication, a 12-volt electrical system and a four-speed gearbox with synchromesh on the top three gears.
Mercedes-Benz built a full line of eight bodies in its own coachworks at Sindelfingen, producing some of the most imposing and luxurious creations of an era of great coachbuilders. Sindelfingen bodies were equipped with luggage, internal lighting, map pockets, chromium-plated bumpers, electric directional signals and door locks as standard equipment. Sedans got roll-up window blinds. Open cars had fitted top boots. All glazing was safety glass. Befitting the bespoke creations they were, Sindelfingen’s clients could order additional equipment and features for their new 500Ks and there is no shortage of unique attributes in these automobiles.
The feature that distinguishes all supercharged Mercedes-Benz automobiles, beyond their quality and majesty, is the song of their supercharger, a high-pitched wail of finely meshed gears forcing immense quantities of air and fuel into volumes where it normally would not fit, drowning out all other sound in a tornado’s shriek of power and purpose.
Creating a sporting shape on the 500K’s 129-inch wheelbase, with a hood line high enough to clear the car’s long-stroke engine topped by its overhead camshaft and valve gear, is a daunting task. Only the most accomplished and sensitive designers have succeeded and their creations, whether on Mercedes-Benz, Duesenberg, Alfa Romeo or Rolls-Royce chassis, are masterpieces in the artful integration of disparate masses. Most owe their success to the skill and temperament of masterful individuals. It is a tribute to the management skills of Mercedes-Benz that the communal product of Sindelfingen’s designers and craftsmen joins these individual accomplishments, making the 500K Special Roadster one of the triumphs of automotive designs and remaining to this day one of the most beautiful cars ever created.
Offered in two successive versions, the first series Special Roadster, like the one pictured here, was a true sport roadster without side windows and had a disappearing top, a tapered tail topped by twin spares and stalk-mounted taillamps. The later, second series cars were heavier, not as sporting and traded the first series’ low doors for roll-up windows, a longer tail, flush taillamps and an inset flush-mounted spare.


{analysis}{auto}692{/auto} This first series Special Roadster sold at RM’s Amelia Island auction on March 10, 2001 for $2,970,000, including buyer’s premium.
As we reported in the May 2001 issue of SCM, this car was “Sexy, slinky, the Jean Harlow of 1930s motor cars.” Actually, there are few Mercedes-Benzes of the period that would earn this compliment: many of them have more the appearance of Wagnerian heroines than film stars.
But if 500K Special Roadsters are as attractive as Jean Harlow, they’re also as elusive as Greta Garbo. Prior to auction, this car had resided in a Japanese collection. It won the Gwen Graham Trophy for the Most Elegant Car at Pebble Beach in 1986 and since then has been maintained in concours-winning condition. Only one other example has gone across the auction block in recent memory: in 1989 Christie’s sold an unrestored 500K that had resided in a shed behind a butcher’s shop in the north of England. In fact, “unrestored” is a complimentary description. The British tabloids called it a “rodent-ravaged roadster” and for once they weren’t spewing hyperbole. Despite its shabby condition, this car topped a million pounds before selling, which at the time represented about $1,600,000.
This would make the RM car a relative bargain, given its superb condition and the obvious quality of its restoration. And I know it probably seems strange to see a car that cost more than most people earn in a lifetime called a “bargain” but, for a road-ready and show-ready example of what their catalog rightly called “one of the most beautiful cars ever created,” we’ll stick to that assertion. This car has it all and always will, just like a Rembrandt painting or a Degas sculpture.—Dave Brownell
(Historic data and photo courtesy of auction company.){/analysis}

Recent Profiles

load more / hold SHIFT key to load all load all