The 300 series, introduced at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1951, was designed specifically for the export market. Germany's postwar economy was desperate for hard currency and at the same time, the U.S. economy was booming. It was only natural for Mercedes to design a car to meet the needs of that market. Although not flamboyant, the 300 was nevertheless very attractive, with a modern wraparound windshield and flush-mounted headlights.

The 300S variant was introduced in 1952, and featured a number of enhancements, most notable of which was a 30% increase in horsepower, from 115 to 150. Praised by the motoring press, this new car was capable of a remarkable 110-mph top speed. Appearance was also enhanced with graceful new fender lines and a new curved rear body line. At $12,500 each, each one cost as much as ten ordinary cars. Over six years, only 560 cars were built.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S
Years Produced:1952-1953
Number Produced:203
Original List Price:$12,500
SCM Valuation:$140,000-$155,000
Tune Up Cost:$500-$1,000
Distributor Caps:$50
Chassis Number Location:Metal plate on firewall
Engine Number Location:Left side of engine block
Club Info:Mercedes-Benz Club of America, 1235 Pierce St., Lakewood, CO, 80214
Alternatives:Delahaye 235 Cabriolet, BMW 502 Cabriolet, Bentley R type DHC

The example shown here, finished in cream with a green top and green leather, is the result of a painstaking $200,000 restoration that required four years and 2,600 man-hours to complete. The car is equipped with fitted luggage and a full tool set.

The vehicle described here sold for $189,000 (including commission) at the RM Classic Auction held July 31, 1999 in Rochester, Michigan. When the history of Daimler-Benz is examined, we see a thread that runs through the specifications of certain “sporting” models. Going back as far as the 500K and 540K, several models combined the appointments of a luxury tourer with an advanced drivetrain package that provided (for its time) excellent performance and a level of comfort not normally associated with that era’s sporting cars.

Those cars, the 500K, 540K and the 300S/SC, were expensive, limited-production machines when new. Their rarity and sporting qualities have been recognized by generations of collectors and enthusiasts; as a result these cars have held their own in the collector marketplace. The 300S is exceeded only by the fuel-injected 300 SC in today’s 300 Cabriolet market. The triple-carb, three-liter powerplant and a chassis with four-wheel independent suspension makes for driving qualities beyond their era. The interior trimmings of leather and lacquered hardwood give a nicely restored 300 the feel and ambiance of the most exclusive luxury automobiles. The reported restoration cost of $200,000 is believable for a 300S. The purchase price of $189,000 seems to blow the lid off the SCM Price Guide. However, it was just a case of a desirable car selling for less than the price of its restoration, not to mention the purchase of the “project car” that began this four-year restoration adventure.

Well bought and probably a $200,000 car if presented to the right audience.-Michael Duffey

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