Lot 451

Hershey 2023

1938 Mercedes-Benz 170 V Cabriolet A


$77,000 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania



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  • The most sought-after factory body style; one of only 794 cabriolets produced from 1936 through 1938
  • A beautiful example of the company’s most important prewar model, correctly presented throughout with rear fender guards, kinder seat, and semi-synchromesh gearbox
  • Benefits from a previous restoration
  • Formerly of the Mario Sueiras Collection; acquired by the consignor in 2014

In several official treatises of the company’s history, Mercedes-Benz publications have listed the 170 V, produced from 1935 through 1949, as “by far [our] most important prewar passenger car model.” At first glance, such a bold statement might offend longtime enthusiasts of the marque: How could they say such a thing, in abject defiance to their legendary supercharged models of coach-built opulence, such as the SSK, 540 K, and 770 K?

The fact, however, remains that the 170 V is the model upon which Mercedes-Benz built the foundation of its reputation that it still enjoys today. Without a contender in the medium-sized and medium-priced luxury market, the marque may have perished amidst the global economic depression, which severely hindered demand for the most extravagant and powerful flagship models.

Introduced in 1935, the revolutionary 170 V employed an all-independent X-shaped lightweight tube-frame chassis and a 1.7-liter inline six-cylinder engine mated to a four-speed, semi-synchromesh gearbox. Despite producing just 38 horsepower, the model’s powertrain proved more than adequate, with a robust, serviceable, and torquey character. Thanks to an incredible variety of factory body styles, the 170 V appealed to nearly every person in the world—not just on price, but also style, reliability, and utility. By November 1942, Mercedes-Benz had sold and shipped nearly 72,000 examples of the model.

Among the generous selection of factory configurations available for the 170 V, there was perhaps no body style more sought-after than the hand-built Cabriolet A, penned by Herman Ahrens, of which only 794 examples were produced from 1936 through 1938. Ahrens’ influence can be seen in the longer bonnet with twin rows of louvers, a more rakish windshield angle, and sweeping front fenders that gracefully flowed into the running boards. Later examples such as the one offered here were further improved with rear fender guards and distinctive radiator detailing.

This beautiful, previously restored 1938 170 V Cabriolet A was formerly retained within the noted collection of Mario Sueiras, from whom the consignor purchased it in 2014. Under Sueiras’ purview, the car was restored to a high quality during the early 2000s, and today it remains well presented throughout.

Under current ownership it has been sparingly enjoyed, although the engine and braking assemblies have reportedly been fully sorted—including being fitted with a newly made, 44-liter fuel tank—to deliver reliable performance for continued touring and roadgoing enjoyment. Rare and among the most sought-after body styles of the 170 V, this Cabriolet A will greatly augment any prewar collection, especially those of discerning marque enthusiasts.