Marlborough House
5 November 2022
Lot 148

1952 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet


£410,000 GBP | Sold

United Kingdom | London, United Kingdom



Chassis No.
  • One of only 203 examples of the 300 S Cabriolet built
  • Exported new to the United States and later kept in a private collection for 35 years
  • Eligible for many of the finest concours events
Please note if this vehicle is exported outside of the UK an export license will be required.

Introduced during the early years of West Germany’s post-war “economic miracle”, the Mercedes-Benz 300 S was a beautifully engineered flagship model for a marque that had long since become a byword for quality. Launched at the Paris Motor Show in October 1951, it was a development of the standard 300, which had made its own debut only a few months earlier at April’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

The two-seater 300 S used a short-wheelbase version of the 300’s chassis and was powered by a 2,996 cc straight-six engine that breathed through triple Solex carburettors and produced 150 horsepower—up from 115 horsepower on the 300. It was an impressively robust engine that was designed to cope with the sustained high speeds of which the 300 S was capable, and it drove through a four-speed synchromesh manual gearbox with a column-mounted change.

Available as a Cabriolet, Coupé or Roadster, the 300 S was intended for an elite class of buyer, and Mercedes-Benz had a particularly keen eye on the all-important North American market. The motoring press found warm praise for the new model, which was seen as a moving showcase for the marque’s considerable engineering talents. While it was capable of 110 mph, many road-testers also commented on its “road-ability”, achieved via the use of all-round independent suspension. Wishbones and an anti-roll bar were used up front, while a swing-axle set-up was used at the rear, with coil springs being employed all round.

‘To the characteristics of high performance, impressive appearance and fine detail finish which distinguished the big Mercedes models of pre-war days,’ wrote The Autocar, ‘are added new virtues of silence, flexibility and lightness of control, while the latest rear suspension, a product of long experience on Grand Prix cars and touring cars, confers a degree of security at high speeds on rough and slippery surfaces which it would be very difficult indeed to equal.’

The 300 S was a fast, luxurious rival to the likes of Bentley and Rolls-Royce, and owners included the Aga Khan as well as film stars such as Gary Cooper and Cary Grant. An updated 300 SC was introduced in 1955 and featured various developments that had been seen on the fabled 300 SL, such as fuel injection in place of the Solex carburettors, and production ran until 1958.

The 300 S Cabriolet offered here is chassis number 00055/52—an early example that was built on 4 October 1952 and which was originally finished in Black with a Red leather interior. It was shipped to New York on 8 October and delivered to its first owner, a Mr Gasque. The Mercedes formed part of a private American collection for 35 years, and in the mid-1980s it was treated to a complete rebuild at MB Restorations. After having covered only 900 miles since that work was carried out, it was restored again in 2003—a process that included a bare-metal repaint, new Carpathian Elm woodwork, and a new convertible roof.

The Mercedes crossed the Atlantic in 2009 when it was acquired by a European enthusiast, and was later entered in the Rallye Paris-Deauville, where it picked up a second-in-class award in the concours d’elégance. Sold two years later to a UK-based owner, the 300 S was then displayed at the 2014 Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance and took part in the accompanying tour.

Offered for sale with fitted luggage, tools and jack, this is one of only 203 Cabriolet versions of the 300 S that were built, and is presented in stunning, concours-ready condition. Recently maintained by renowned marque specialists, it is a beautiful example of this rare, historically significant, and highly desirable Mercedes-Benz.