Lot Number

1953 Mercedes-Benz 220 Sedan

Sold For $82,500

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Sotheby's - ARIZONA 19 - 20 JANUARY 2017

Body No.
Chassis No.
Engine No.
  • 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

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.

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.

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