1955 Mercedes-Benz 300S Cabriolet

Having resumed production in 1946 with the 170 in unchanged, pre-WWII form, Mercedes-Benz introduced its first all-new designs of the post-war era-the 220 and 300-at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1951. While the 220 was an advance on the 170, the 300 re-established Mercedes-Benz in the front rank of prestige car manufacturers, marking as it did a return to the marque’s tradition of building high-performance luxury automobiles of the finest quality. The 300’s oval-tube chassis followed the lines of the 170S and 220, with independent suspension all around and four-wheel drum brakes, but incorporated the added refinements of hypoid bevel final drive, dynamically balanced wheels, and remote electrical control of the rear suspension ride height.

The conservatively styled sedan was soon joined by the 300S (Super), a model that succeeded in recapturing the elegance of the prewar 540K. Built in coupe and Cabriolet forms on a shortened 300 sedan chassis, the 300S weighed considerably less than the 300 sedan and was more powerful, its engine gaining triple (as opposed to twin) Solex carburetors and a raised compression ratio. Maximum power output was 150 horsepower and top speed was 110 miles per hour. Only one significant change was made in the model’s lifetime: the introduction in 1955 of the fuel-injected 300Sc, which incorporated alterations-including revised rear suspension-also made to the sedan.

More expensive than the 300SL, and almost twice the price of the contemporary top-of-the-range Cadillac, the 300S was one of the world’s most exclusive automobiles. Inevitably, production was limited. Only 760 examples of the 300S and 300Sc left the factory between 1951 and 1958.

This Cabriolet has been in the same ownership for 30 years and has never been restored, having been acquired directly from the original owner, a German factory owner in Offenbach. The car is elegantly finished in black with cream leather interior-the latter featuring superb wood veneer and equipped with a dashboard-mounted Heuer stopwatch-and comes complete with fitted luggage. The convertible top and interior benefited from restoration work costing more than $50,000, while the paintwork is still the original nitrocellulose finish.