London

8-9 September 2013

Mercedes Collection

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Lot 138

1939 Mercedes-Benz 320 Cabriolet A

  • Chassis no. 019009
  • Engine no. 123752

Sold for £263,200


77 bhp, 3,405 cc overhead-valve inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission with overdrive, central transverse leaf-spring front suspension with coil springs, swing axle rear suspension, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,880 mm

Mercedes-Benz’s 320 of the late 1930s occupied the same position in the company’s hierarchy that the E-Class does today: it was a competent performance car without the sheer brawn and Teutonic force of the big eight-cylinder models, but it was still swift, luxuriously bodied, and elegantly appointed. The 320 showed that one had arrived in the world, but also that one was still careful about one’s money. Typical of Mercedes-Benz in this era, a wide variety of beautifully crafted body styles were made available, to suit virtually every taste and desire.



Perhaps most prominent amongst the sporting variations was the cabriolet A, which, like the contemporary 540 K, was a luxe two-door convertible that had a beautiful top that was constructed in typical German style and an interior that seated a pair of wealthy adults comfortably. The curve of the top complemented the 320’s raked-back radiator shell, flowing wings, and increasingly popular two-tone colour combinations, whilst the dual rear-mounted spares added a sporty flair. This was by far the most beautiful factory coachwork constructed on the 320, and its smaller chassis allowed for proportions that rivalled the car’s larger factory siblings.



The Cabriolet A offered here is badged as having been produced at the Daimler-Benz factory in Mannheim, and it shows under 4,000 kilometres, presumably since restoration. It is the ultimate W142 version, with the bigger 3.4-litre engine and the desirable overdrive. It is appointed in a beautiful, rich dark blue and dove grey, with a complementary blue canvas top that is headlined in beige cloth and beige leather upholstery. Trim is correct throughout, including Bosch headlamps, milk glass parking lights, a driver’s side spotlight, period aftermarket traffic signals, three wiper blades, and chrome wire wheels. Dual flag mounts behind the headlights provide a proper place to mount one’s yacht club burgees.



Peering within the car, one sees such fine details as a single jump seat behind the driver’s seat, which is suitable to hold one’s child or a third very uncomfortable adult. Lowering the shelf behind the jump seat reveals a fitted suitcase, ideal for the grand tour. Interestingly, the driver has his or her own bucket seat, with a wider seat supplied alongside for the passenger. The interior is trimmed in light blonde woodwork, which surrounds very nicely restored gauges. A three-pointed star atop the gearshift knob is a distinctive touch.



The upholstery, tan carpeting piped in tan leather, and door panels, as well as the wood trim, is all in very good condition, with the wood appearing to have been refinished more recently. The paintwork could use some selective refinishing, the chrome trim has light pitting and polish marks throughout, and the radiator shell could perhaps be in need of re-plating. In addition, the top shows light wear from having been folded with the top irons. A thorough detailing and adjustment of panels would take care of many of the minor issues found throughout the car, which could be toured or shown locally with ease.



Overall, this is an elegantly appointed, gorgeous design on Mercedes-Benz’s “achievable” luxury car of this period, and it is ready to be re-commissioned for touring enjoyment in the finest German style.

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