Motor City

30 July 2016

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Lot 141

1952 Mercedes-Benz 220 Cabriolet A

  • Chassis no. 187.012.05033/52
  • Engine no. 180.920.05212/52
  • Body no. 187.013.00225/52

Sold for $126,500


80 bhp, 2,195 cc SOHC inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, four-wheel independent coil-spring suspension with control arms in the front and swing axles in the rear, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 112 in.

  • One of just 1,178 units produced for 1952
  • Featured in the 2001 film The Majestic, starring Jim Carrey
  • Formerly owned by Oscar-nominated film producer/director Frank Darabont
  • Retains its original engine; includes copies of factory documentation
  • Features matching three-piece luggage set and original tool roll


Mercedes-Benz introduced the 220 Sedan at the April 1951 Frankfurt Auto Show with regular series production beginning in July of that year. The 220 was the successor to the 170 S and a clever update using essentially the same body as its predecessor. The main design change faired the headlights into the leading edge of the front fenders with chrome trim atop them so as to have a streamlined effect. The most significant change was under the bonnet, whereby a new 2.2-liter six-cylinder engine replaced the former four-cylinder engine used in the 170 S. Horsepower jumped from 52 to 80, making the car an able autobahn cruiser just as Mercedes-Benz had intended.

A stylish cabriolet was produced from July 1951 to August 1955; a total of 2,360 units were built over a five-year model run, including 1,178 in 1952. Production of all versions ceased in April 1956. Mercedes built eight times as many saloons as it did cabriolet and coupe models. The Cabriolet A models, such as this, commanded a 70 percent premium over saloon models which, understandably, kept production numbers comparatively low.

The Cabriolet A is a two-passenger convertible distinguished from the Cabriolet B by having a rear jump seat and a single side window compared to the four-passenger B. Distinguished from other 220 models, the Cabriolet As also include a leather-covered dash top in veneered wood and bound Wilton carpet covering the riser, kick panels, and rear floor. Rubber mats cover the front floor area.

This example was purchased in 1999 by three-time Oscar-nominated director and producer Frank Darabont, whose work includes such notable films as The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. During his ownership, the car was restored and featured in his 2001 direction of The Majestic, starring Jim Carrey. It was then purchased by Robert Ryan of Pennsylvania in 2003 before being acquired by the current consignor in 2010. Since then, it has been used sparingly and driven little more than 300 trouble-free miles while also being properly stored in a heated garage.

Copies of original factory documentation confirm the matching numbers of this Cabriolet A, currently finished in ivory with a contrasting ivory-welted navy blue canvas soft-top and navy blue leather interior. It has been featured in the June 2012 issue of Le Magazine de l’Auto Ancienne. A three-piece fitted luggage set, the sales brochure, a Mercedes-Benz Edition D Instruction Manual, and a factory tool roll, jack, and lug wrench are also included in the sale. It is described as “running and driving exceptionally well” and “eminently comfortable at 60 mph.”

The 220 Cabriolet A has never been shown while in the consigner’s possession and would no doubt be a hit at any MBNA club event.

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

+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