1929 Mercedes-Benz SSK Roadster

A Rembrandt of iron and rubber

The Mercedes-Benz SSK was developed from the S-type chassis and fitted with a 7-liter SS engine. About 33 SSKs rolled out of the factory from 1928 to 1932, and about half were competition cars like this one, which was sold with the word “Rennwagen” (racing car) written on the invoice. It was built as a long-distance racing car and fitted with the largest fuel tank ever seen on an SSK chassis.

Built in 1928, this SSK Roadster was sold to Julio Berndt, brother-in-law and teammate of the talented driver Carlos Zatuszek. The first important event in which they entered #36246 was the 1929 500 Miles of Argentina Race, in which they came home second. The same year, Zatuszek won the Cordoba Grand Prix. He won it again in 1930, after taking second at the Grand Prix des Nations, second at the Buenos Aires Grand Prix and winning at the Fruhlings Preis. In 1931, this SSK and its driver won the Argentinean Grand Prix.

Zatuszek sold the SSK in 1935, after which it was raced by a variety of owners until 1958. In 1967, the car was brought to North America by California dealer/collector B. Paul Moser who drove it for several years in and around Santa Barbara and in competition at the Laguna Seca vintage races. The car was then sold to Ed Jurist, well-known owner of The Vintage Car Store. Jurist, in partnership with then-Hemmings Motor News owners George Waterman and Bayard Ewing, in turn sold the car to Japanese automotive publisher H. Hayashi. In 1986 it was sold to American enthusiast Brian Brunkhorst.

Two years later, Brunkhorst passed the SSK along to a J. Gottinger, who kept it for 11 years before selling it to Rolf Meyer. The car was totally restored between 1993 and 1996 by the Reifen-Wagner Company, who counts among its clients the Mercedes Classic Center in Stuttgart. The car was restored to racing specifications and without regard to cost. This is an important car, as beautiful as it was when new, reminiscent of an era when drivers showed outstanding courage and stamina. It is the gem of the Rolf Meyer Collection.