Amelia Island

10-11 March 2017

A Gentleman's Collection: The Pride & Passion of Orin Smith

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Lot 118

1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Roadster

  • Chassis no. 188.012.00170/53
  • Engine no. 188.920.00175.53
  • Body no. 188.18.00063/53

Sold for $506,000


150 hp, 2,996 cc overhead-camshaft inline six-cylinder engine with three downdraft Solex carburetors, four-speed column-shift manual transmission, double-wishbone, coil-spring, and torsion bar front suspension, coil-spring swing axle rear suspension, and four-wheel vacuum-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 110 in.

  • One of only 141 Mercedes-Benz roadsters built; the rarest 300 S variant
  • Well-maintained older restoration by noted specialists Paul Russell & Company
  • Very satisfying authenticity, including original engine
  • An original U.S.-delivery example, sold new in Hollywood
  • Offered with three-piece set of fitted luggage


In an effort to bridge the gap between the Classic and Modern Eras, the Mercedes-Benz 300 was launched in 1952 with an unbeatable combination of modern engineering and performance with meticulous Old World build quality. They were built to uncompromising standards, and Mercedes-Benz employed the latest materials and technologies to achieve maximum power and minimum weight. Each car was lavished with beautiful finishes and woodwork, and each could travel at triple-digit speeds with a full load of cosseted occupants.

The 300 S was built upon the already sumptuous top-range 300 series chassis, with special attention being given to its appearance, details, and build quality. The extraordinary cost to do so resulted in a “halo” car for Mercedes-Benz, which was priced nearly 50 percent higher than its counterparts. This car was equipped with triple Solex carburetors that were mounted to the 2,996-cubic centimeter engine, which could produce 150 horsepower, and it was inarguably one of the best luxury touring cars available in the 1950s.

The sportiest 300 S variant was the roadster, which was a dashing convertible that featured a top that folded completely flat, giving the car a very elegant appearance. Only 141 were produced, and they are the most desirable 300 S amongst enthusiasts today.

The car offered here is documented by its Mercedes-Benz data card, a copy of which is on file, as being a genuine 300 S roadster, retaining its original engine; the proper engine and chassis tags and stampings are both present and fully satisfying, as is the body number tag within the door. Equipped with the Becker Nürburg radio, English instrumentation, and sealed-beam headlamps, it was delivered by International Motors of Hollywood, California, earmarked for a Mr. Shriver.

Information on file indicates that the 300 S was restored in its present livery of Ivory over Chestnut leather by the renowned Essex, Massachusetts, firm of Paul Russell & Company, and was then maintained by them for another 10,000 miles before joining Mr. Smith’s collection.
The paint is slightly older but still in overall excellent condition, with only minor markings on the door hinges and other stress areas; the leather interior is still very good and only lightly stretched from occasional use. The burled walnut woodwork is solid and attractive, with no visible cracking, and the dashboard instruments are fully restored and beautiful. Underneath, minor surface corrosion from occasional use is visible, but the chassis is overall clean and solid. The appearance throughout is thoroughly attractive and honest, and it is completed nicely by a three-piece set of Dare Classics fitted luggage within the trunk and a correct jack.

Accompanying the car is a selection of paperwork, including copies of an original brochure; a handful of service invoices from 2013, covering rebuilds of the carburetors and a major engine service; and an English language instruction manual for the model, in leather folio.

The 300 S has become one of the most desirable Mercedes-Benzes and is a car that must be driven and enjoyed to be fully appreciated for the modern high-speed marvel that it is. This fine example, restored by marque specialists and well-maintained since, is ideal for the choosing.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

Cameron Smyth

csmyth@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Cameron Smyth joined RM Sotheby’s as a Car Specialist in 2015, working out of our corporate office and providing assistance on c... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more