Arizona

19-20 January 2017

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Lot 122

1953 Mercedes-Benz 220 Sedan

  • Chassis no. 187.011.02234/53
  • Engine no. 180.920.02947
  • Body no. 01388/53

Sold for $82,500


86 bhp, 2.2-liter SOHC inline six-cylinder engine with single dual-downdraft Solex carburetor, four-speed column-shift transmission, independent front and swing-axle rear suspension with coil springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 112 in.

  • Two-owner car driven only 63,000 kilometers (39,l46 miles)
  • Incomparable restoration by second owner over 20 years, completed in 2012
  • Unusual Webasto sliding canvas roof
  • Entirely original automobile, including engine, transmission, and suspension
  • Perfect car to complete any Mercedes-Benz enthusiast’s collection


Mercedes-Benz re-entered the automobile market in 1949 with the W137-chassis 1.7-liter 170 sedan built using tools and dies hidden away during the war. Its X-configured oval-tube frame was stronger and more stable than the ladder-frames of competitors. At the 1951 Frankfurt Motor Show, the company introduced the W137 with a 2.2-liter engine, hence the 220 model name, distinguishable from its predecessor only by the headlights faired into the front fenders.

Possibly impressed by the quality of the first examples sold on the West Coast, in 1953 the director of the California Department of Transportation ordered this example from the Mercedes-Benz representative, specifying the optional Webasto sliding sunroof, appropriate to the sunny California climate. After driving it for nine years, he sold it to a mechanical technician working at least occasionally for the movie industry. That owner would drive the car throughout his career, which was distinguished by his patented design of the pneumatic operating mechanism for “Bruce,” the animatronic shark in the blockbuster Jaws.

When this owner retired to Arcata, California, he applied the same skill and attention to detail to the painstaking, part-by-part restoration of the car that would obsess him for the next 20 years, deviating from original only in painting the fenders in a contrasting color. He had just completed his work when he died in 2012. The car is offered complete with original tool kit.

This unique car will be perfect for the discerning collector wishing to extend the range of a collection of stellar cars to include an example of the first post-war luxury Mercedes-Benz sedan sold in the United States, restored to a quality comparable to any in the collection, regardless of price. With its reliable drivetrain, it is capable of modern highway speeds on high-end classic driving tours but could as easily be a prime contender for best of show at Mercedes-Benz Club of America concours d’elegance events.

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 911. Barney l... 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

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. ... 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