London

8-9 September 2013

Mercedes Collection

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Lot 148

1934 Mercedes-Benz 380 K Cabriolet C

  • Chassis no. 103351
  • Engine no. 103351
  • Body no. 806004/34

Sold for £448,000


120 bhp, 3,823 cc supercharged inline eight-cylinder engine with single carburettor, three-speed manual transmission with overdrive, independent suspension with coil spring, front dual wishbones, and rear swing axles, and front and rear hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 3,200 mm

A predecessor to the mighty 500 K and 540 K models, the Mercedes-Benz 380 K was designed to be a luxurious long-distance touring car, as it was well equipped to eat up hundreds of kilometres at a time on Germany’s then new and expanded road network. As a completely new design that introduced a number of technical innovations, this was an automobile that offered everything a driver could have wanted from an automobile: a comfortable ride, ample power, sporty handling, and ravishing good looks.



The mechanical design is elegant and similar to the later 500 K and 540 K models, as all three share the same type of box-section chassis frame, suspension, and similar wire wheels. The easiest way to distinguish a 380 from its successors is by the lack of external exhaust pipes on the passenger side of the bonnet, something that was present on both later models. All 380s produced were coachbuilt by Sindelfingen, who produced a variety of body styles, including three different versions of a cabriolet, a roadster, a closed four-door, and a coupé. No doubt, the 380 K had many admiring onlookers upon its premiere at the Berlin Auto Show in 1933.



The defining aspect of the 380 K was its kompressor, or supercharger, which gave the examples equipped with it markedly increased power over the standard model, in addition to producing a howl which was, and still is, regarded as pleasing to automobile aficionados. Power was rated at 90 horsepower in naturally aspirated form, but with the supercharger engaged, power increased to 120, allowing the new Mercedes-Benz to compete with other supercharged touring cars of the time offered by Bugatti and Alfa Romeo.



Chassis 103351 was delivered new through the Daimler-Benz branch in Hamburg in June 1934. Having been restored some time ago, it displays few signs of wear, including some paint checking on the front wings, but it presents well overall. Painted in a stunning shade of red, this car is equipped with chrome wire wheels that have inserts painted to match the exterior. The tan leather interior and matching carpet display only light wear and contribute to a very nice ambiance, which is augmented by the polished wood trim and mother of pearl dash inlay. The engine bay remains tidy overall and appears to be correct. This example also has dual side-mounted spare tyres with pedestal mirrors.



With a total of just 154 units produced by its second and final year of production in 1934, the 380 K is quite rare and has an important place in automotive history, as it is the predecessor to the 500 K and 540 K. Both cars owe thanks to the 380 K for paving the road for their technical development and for giving birth to one of the most beautiful bodies ever adorned with the three-pointed star. As such, it demands to be included in any collection of pre-war Mercedes-Benz sports cars. This 380 K Cabriolet C would be a fantastic car to drive and enjoy, and it would certainly attract only warm compliments wherever it travelled.

Addendum

Please note that, contrary to the printed catalog, this car is a Cabriolet C. Additionally, the displacement should have been listed as 3,823 cc.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
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

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+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

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+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

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+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

drose@rmsothebys.com

+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

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
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

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+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

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+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

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+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

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+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

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+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

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
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

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+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

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+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

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
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

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+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