Lot 114

Monterey 2018

1953 Mercedes-Benz 220 Cabriolet A


$156,800 USD | Sold

United States | Monterey, California



Chassis No.
  • Shown on the Mercedes-Benz stand at the 1953 Turin Auto Show
  • First owned by Italian movie actor Alberto Sordi
  • Sold by Sordi to American actor James Mitchum
  • Subsequently maintained by a California owner for nearly 25 years
  • Complete restoration by noted European restoration shop

The W187-chassis Mercedes-Benz 220 was the first truly new model designed by Daimler after World War II, but even then it was an adaptation of the pre-war body-on-chassis 170 S and could only claim 86 hp. Nevertheless, the rare (only 1,278 units were produced between 1951 and 1955) and rakish two-seat cabriolet A version was a favorite of movie stars in both Europe and the U.S.

This example, originally painted pearl grey with blue upholstery and equipped from the factory with the optional Telefunken multiband radio with pushbutton station selection and antenna, was displayed by Mercedes-Benz at the Turin Auto Show in 1953.

The attractive little car was subsequently acquired by Italian movie star Alberto Sordi. Sordi then sold it in Italy to American actor James Mitchum, possibly while his father, Robert Mitchum, was filming Anzio in Italy in 1967. The younger Mitchum brought it back to California with him. Robert Hopkins of Visalia, California, purchased the car from Mitchum in California sometime before 1986 and drove it for at least eight years before putting it in storage around 1994–1995. By 1998 Hopkins was ready to drive it again, with receipts indicating typical refurbishing expenses to put it back on the road.

In 2006 Hopkins began an extensive amount of mechanical and cosmetic repair to the car, including repainting the exterior of the car in a period-correct light blue. In addition, Hopkins researched its early history with assistance from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine, California, and the American Automobile Association, confirming the car’s public debut and celebrity ownership. He eventually sold the Cabriolet A to Lex Classics, a historic car dealership in the Netherlands. Lex Classics had the car completely restored by Jürgen Schoenmakers in Oss, Netherlands, before selling it to the current owner.

As offered here by the European consignor, the car has been repainted during the restoration to the light blue Mercedes-Benz color chosen by Hopkins, and the interior has been extensively redone in the original blue leather with ivory piping, though the rear jump seat appears to still retain the original upholstery. The original grey folding cabriolet top has been replaced by an attractive contrasting dark blue fabric.

The overall appearance of this car is very nice, with the light blue exterior setting off the re-chromed trim, the interior in show condition, including the original Telefunken radio, and the engine compartment and suspension showing the positive effects of the complete restoration.

The new owner can expect to show this cabriolet with the élan of a movie actor in regional car shows and Mercedes-Benz Club of America concours events, and drive it comfortably and with confidence on classic car tours.