The Don Davis Collection

27 April 2013

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Lot 130

1957 Mercedes-Benz 220S Cabriolet

  • Chassis no. 180.030.7511296
  • Engine no. 180.924.7500391

Sold for $148,500


120 hp, 2,195 cc OHC six-cylinder engine with twin Solex carburetors, four-speed manual transmission with Hydrak hydraulic clutch, independent front suspension with coil springs, swing-axle rear suspension with coil springs, and four-wheel servo-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 106.3 in.

  • Elegant open-air transportation
  • Unusual, factory-delivered black-on-black color scheme
  • Late-1957 model with desirable high-compression head and Hydrak clutch


The 220S debuted at Frankfurt in 1956 as the top of a new line of cars. It used the company’s envelope-style “ponton” body and shared a strong family resemblance to the sporty 190SL and mighty 300SL. Unlike those specialty two-seaters, however, the 220S was hand-built to carry passengers in luxury on a daily basis.



This highline model added new features from its type W180 predecessors, including a twin Solex carbureted, 2,195-cubic centimeter straight-six producing “more power than you need.” As of August 1957, that was 120 horsepower SAE for U.S.-spec models, with 8.7:1 compression. Additionally, Don Davis’ lovely Cabriolet was optioned with a Fichtel and Sachs Hydrak transmission, which also became available that August. This system retained a four-speed transmission but eliminated a clutch, using a vacuum servo and torque converter instead.



Mercedes built just 1,066 Cabriolets in 1957, accounting for only 6.5 percent of production. This Cabriolet was coachbuilt to impeccable standards, and cost 75% more than a comparable 220S Sedan, so befitting its station, it has trim and rear lamps that echo the 300 series, as well as unique sheet metal that looks good with the fully collapsible roof either up or down.



A history file extending back almost 50 years accompanies this car, documenting a lifetime of careful maintenance and infrequent changes of ownership. The original factory build card indicates that this car was optioned in black with a black top, where Cabriolets were almost always in contrasting colors.



As appealing as this Mercedes-Benz is mechanically, it is the complete package of styling, drivetrain, and interior fitments, which makes the 220S the standard by which all other six-cylinder European cars of the fifties are judged. As long as people continue to have the need to cover long distances in style, speed, and comfort, a 220S Cabriolet will have a home.



Titled as 1958.

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

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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

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+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

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+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

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+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

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+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

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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

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+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

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+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

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+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

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+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

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+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

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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

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+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

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+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

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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

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+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