By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
The value of history It’s no secret many of us here are fans of old cars in general or of cars with a significant heritage. Many of the ones that turn up in ads or news items are just old. Nothing wrong with that, but a great story makes an old car more interesting every time. Hold onto your checkbook; here’s today’s. The British fine arts auction house Bonhams recently sold what they termed “a breathtakingly-original time-capsule car for the truly discerning connoisseur… a jaw-droppingly unspoiled, time machine-vingtage car…” The time machine in question a 1928 Mercedes-Benz 36/220 6.8-litre S-Type Four-Seat Open Tourer with a body by Cadogan Motors, London. The car was shipped, in 1928, from the Mercedes factory to England without the body, and the buyer made his own arrangements locally. This was the era of the “Mighty Mercedes” competition cars and such arrangements were not uncommon. Fitted out with lightweight coachwork instead of the normal factory kit, this Benz “fast tourer” – design of which was overseen by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche – was considered one of the highest performance cars of the day. The story gets better as we learn that the original owner took his new car to Brooklands and noted it capable of close to 100 mph in street trim. He even built a special “motor house” on his property for the car to stay in, complete with tools and service pit. But although he had survived four years in WW I, the owner died in England unexpectedly and too young in the early 1940s. The car passed to his son who drove it regularly for a while and maintained it. It appears to have been parked in the motor house for the last time in 1952, the last year in which the car had documented registration. Almost 60 years later, the son’s son secretly spirited the car away to be completely reawakened as a 75th birthday surprise for his dad. Initially, the car got a new set of new tires and some required radiator repairs, plus the usual fluid replacements. After a bit of other fussing, the was car started and ran “incredibly well,” ticking over (that’s Brit-speak for idling) almost silently. Further mechanical work was performed on various systems to insure safety and proper function, but that’s all. The exterior and interior pieces were left untouched except for a good cleaning. The car was presented “on the day” to Dad’s great surprise and delight. But the family ultimately decided to sell the car and that brings us to earlier this week. The 1928 Mercedes-Benz was presented at Bonhams Goodwood Revival Auction. The one-family ownership for 84 years, plus the mechanical excellence, all-original condition bodywork, full documentation and the 8,375 miles provided the needed provenance to attract several bidders. Although the auction house had assessed it at less, the car went home with an unidentified buyer for £2,801,500 including premiums, or roughly $4.481 million USD. Heritage, indeed.
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