- Post is under moderationThe magic Mercedes number 300 stands for the high claim to build the best car in the world. But only the 300 S mentioned coupes and convertibles drive engineering and driving culture to the top. We drove the Schaustuck from the Paris salon in 1951. Luxurious liner. #Mercedes-Benz-300S-W188 / #Mercedes-Benz-W188 / #Mercedes-Benz / #1952 / #Mercedes-Benz-300-S-Convertible-A / #Mercedes-Benz-300S-Convertible /
The imposing Mercedes 300 S fulfills all the criteria of a real full-blooded automobile. The finely decorated, beautifully illustrated two-seater carries the massive star on the endlessly long bonnet with special pride. It originates from a classy, innovative brand, is powered by a 150 hp three-liter six-cylinder with overhead camshaft, and its elaborate chassis with rear double-jointed pendulum axle combines unrivaled ride comfort with a safe road position. The MotorRevue, a classy sister magazine of automotor and sport, euphorically stated: "There is no doubt that we are dealing with the best car in the world in the case of the 300S." Only the "antiquated pre-war body" is mended It is precisely the enormous charm of this class car.
The Hall-of-Fame-qualification of the highly sporty, 300 S is completed by the low number of pieces: only 560 copies of this mens car automobile, which like no other German car of that time paid for luxury and performance, were predominantly manual work and still Distributed on three body variants. There was above all the 300 S Cabriolet A with steeply raised cloth top and striking storm bars. In addition, the solved clientele could still choose between a roadster with a thin, fully retractable fabric hood as well as a stylistically extremely successful coupé, which looks as if the roadster had been designed with an adorable little hardtop. No one can see in his splendor and glory the somewhat old-paternal Adenauer base. The 115 hp and 160 kmh fast 300 sedan delivered the engine, gearbox, axles and the shortened chassis for the 300 S by 15 centimeters with the x-shaped oval tube frame. Since the prewar type, this had been the basic piece of the Mercedes kit since 1949, which has been extended by 170S and 220S since 1949.
The original 1952 convertible
At the IAA in April 1951, the #Adenauer again linked the famous pre-war tradition of high-quality Mercedes class cars. Only a few months later, in October 1951, the 300-coupe coupe and convertible appeared at the 38th Paris Salon Mondial de l'Automobile. With the higher-compression three-liter six-cylinder engines instead of two Solex carburetors, the elegant two-seater was capable of producing 150 hp. According to the Mercedes-Benz chronologist Werner Oswald, only two models were produced in 1951, a coupe and a convertible A.
The latter, still painted white on the exhibition photos, has survived and is presented in new splendor on these pages. The perfection and perfection that was uncompromising in perfection and authenticity was made by the Mercedes-Benz specialist Mechatronics Classic, a Pleidelsheim company. Only the color is a concession to the new owner who does not want to be named and unfortunately wants to give little over this jewel. However, it is important to know that this Ur-300-S has been running for a long time in the USA and has been crudely upgraded to a medium circuit.
Eye-catching cream should be DB code 629, instead of innocent white. Because in this striking pastel tone, the car was re-painted in 1955 because of its prototype character. He makes his mysterious identity in 28 subtle differences, most of which concern body and interior. Most notable are details such as the trim strip in the middle of the bonnet, the limousine indicators, the missing number plate lights and the unfinished open bumper horns.
But when you enter the splendid antique cabinet, which receives the driver with the finest leather, two precious wood veneer and a wealth of chrome-plated pull and rotary switches, the connoisseur records the most important difference to the later manufactory small series. The heavy, wide portals of the 300 S with the elaborately modeled footboard openings open across the wide, wide sills, while the passengers of the regularly manufactured 300 S can only see the road. The frame bracket closes with them on the side wall.
A luxury yacht for the road The feeling in the 300 S differs, apart from the pronounced fresh-air flair when the convertible top is open, not very much from the recently intensely moving 300 limousine. After an awesome pressure on the starter button, the six-cylinder wakes up with hoarse sound and harmonious idle speed. The controls for steering, brakes and shifting are astonishingly low. The large, wide car is amazingly effortless and already around the first kilometer round and liquid. Once again, the steering wheel system celebrates driving in this majestic boat to the stately act. From a sublime position in the sumptuous armchair, you always have the good star on all the streets at the end of the endless hood horizon.
The guarantor of security makes you safe even in this precious solitaire over the narrow streets. They try to find their way between the vineyards of Besigheim by chance. The easy play of the ball circulation around the center position makes the swing, the chrome-plated hoop ring also activates the turn signal, it awakens the impression that standing pedals are more sensitive. The clearly drawn instruments recall the father's pontoon, an oil pressure gauge is on board, a speedometer would be nice. One would like to explore the true performance with the supple six-cylinder, whose pulling power is astonishing, and whose joy of rotation is astonishing. But it also goes so fast forward, impressive is the swallowing capacity of the suspension. Even fast-moving corners he takes confidently, without the driver of the heavy ship is afraid. So just this 300-S-Vollblut in the end would only wish that it will be driven in the future and not only in the stable.
I rarely have the pleasure of driving such a full-blooded luxury car as the Mercedes 300S. It is not only the craftsmanship that characterizes this car. Performance, comfort and handling characteristics were far ahead in the early 1950s. Only the opulently painted body reminds of the prewar years.
The artistically equipped 300S was once 5500 Marks more expensive than the ascetic 300SL
Another 300S is being rebuilt Mechatronics masterpieces
The cream-colored 300S Cabriolet of this story celebrated its resurrection at Mechatronics Classic in Pleidelsheim. The specialist company, founded in 1996 by Frank Rickert, a former AMG engineer, is one of the first addresses when it comes to maintenance, repair and restoration of high-class Mercedes-Benz cars. Impressive is the depth of production: whether bodywork, saddlery, parts logistics or engine construction, everything is under one roof.
The keyboard of the chromium, embedded in the root veneer. Sublime Mercedes star on solid screw base.
Three-cylinder six-cylinder with three carburettors
The "Sindelfinger Body" is a compliment.
The Mercedes stylists understood their craft
The 300 S is formally still far away from factual pontoon prose. He also rejoices with sensuous curves in perfect poetry
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #1952 #Mercedes-Benz-300S-Convertible-A-W188 I, 1951-1955 / #Mercedes-Benz-300Sc-Cabriolet-A-W188 / #Mercedes-Benz-300-Cabriolet-A-W188 / #Mercedes-Benz-W188 / #Mercedes-Benz-300Sc / #Mercedes-Benz-300Sc-Cabriolet-A / #Mercedes-Benz-300Sc-Cabriolet-W188 / #Mercedes-Benz-M199 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz-Cabriolet-W188 / #Mercedes-Benz-Adenauer-Cabriolet / #Mercedes-Benz-Type-300-Cabriolet / #Konrad-Adenauer / #Adenauer
MOTOR Type #M188 / , water-cooled six-cylinder in-line engine, front longitudinal, bore x stroke 85 x 88 mm, displacement 2996cc,
Power 150 hp at 5000 rpm,
Max. Torque 230 Nm at 3800 rpm
Compression ratio 7,8: 1, two valves per combustion chamber, operated by an overhead chain driven camshaft and drag lever, block made of gray cast iron, cylinder head made of light metal, seven crankshaft bearings, three case streamers Solex 40 PBJC 6.5 liter
POWER TRANSMISSION Single disc dry clutch, fully synchronized four-speed transmission with steering wheel shift
BODY AND CHASSIS Steel body, welded to the X-shaped oval tube frame, front independent suspension on double triangular cross-arms, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers, rear swing axle with two hinges, two coil springs per wheel, balancing spring, telescopic shock absorbers, Drum brakes, wheels 5 J x 15, tires 6.70 x 15
MASS AND WEIGHT
Wheelbase 2900 mm, length x width x height 4700 x 1860 x 1510 mm,
Weight 1760 kg, tank 85 liters
DRIVING AND CONSUMPTION
Max speed 175 kmh,
0-62MPH 0 to 100 in 14 s, consumption 17 l / 100 km
BUILDING TIME AND PIECES 1951 to 1955, 560 Expl., In addition 200 pieces 300 Sc (W 188 II), 1955 to 1958
MERCEDES-BENZ 300 S CABRIOLET A CAR REPORT PURCHASING
Mercedes 300 S / Sc, W188
A top-class car like the 300 S consumes immense restoration costs, despite solid frame construction and robust technology.
Because the 300 S now costs the cost of a full restoration with a value of 600,000 euros, one should consult a specialist before the purchase, which can assess the quality of previous partial restorations and body repair. Thanks to the solid X-shape oval tube frame, penetrations on the underside are rare, sometimes it gets the longitudinal beams in the rear axle area or the floor plates at the level of the front seats. However, all attachments, such as mudguards, doors and bonnets, are highly susceptible to rust. A 300 S should be complete as a restoration object. The processing of the valuable interior is complex and costly.
Although a similar 300 S is not a 170 diesel, but the slightly long-stroke three-liter six-cylinder is considered robust and achieves high mileage. He does not like Dauverollgas. Above all, the 300 Sc with nine liters of oil content has been cautiously warm. Worn piston rings, which lead to high oil consumption, are not rare. But most of the technical problems on the carburetor battery, the injection system (SC), the braking system and the central lubrication for the axle joints are the cause of damage to the booth.
On introduction 1952 Mercedes-Benz 300S, convertible A 34 500 Mark
Classic Analytics Prize 2017 (state 2/4) 655 000/435 000 euros
The parts position is critical with the only 760 times built 300 S / Sc. Not everything is available, the prices are 300-SL level, the quality varies. Restorers prefer to work instead of exchanging. Good sources are: Mercedes Classic Center and the parts dealers Werner Karasch, Heinrich Niemoller, Günter Jelinek and Miroslav Benkovic.
CLUBS AND SPECIALISTS
Mercedes-Benz Veteranenclub eV, MVC, Hackländerstrasse 23, 70184 Stuttgart, Tel. 07 11/75 85 77 15, www.mvconline.de Kienle Automobiltechnik GmbH, restoration and sale, Max Planck Street 4, 71254 Heimerdingen, www. Kienle.com Mechatronik Classic GmbH, restoration, sales, Stuifenstraße 54, 74385 Pleidelsheim, phone 071 44/998 20, www.mechatronik.de
1 mudguards, lamppacks, standing blocks.
2 door boards (footboard)
3 car lifts
4 rear frame braces
5 spare tire trough
6 Central lubrication
7 Front and rear axle joints
8 Carburetor synchronization
9 Dry sump lubrication (Sc)
10 Injection stamped pump (Sc)
Spare parts location 2
Easy to repair 3
Maintenance costs 2
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- Post is under moderationGone with the wind
Exclusive, expensive and with sumptuous good looks, it is not hard to see how this 300Sc Cabriolet A captured the heart of one of Hollywood’s all time greats. Words & Images Richard Truesdell.
Classic Choice 300Sc Cabriolet A
One of the most iconic actors of his era, William Clark Gable personified everything that was Hollywood in its golden age. The actor, who spoke one of the most memorable lines in screen history in the 1939 epic Gone with the Wind, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” was a man with exceptional taste in automobiles. While his 1935 Duesenberg Model JN Convertible Coupe may be the best known car that he owned during his lifetime, the so-called ‘King of Hollywood’ had an affection for cars bearing the three-pointed star.
The connection between the actor and #Mercedes - Benz includes a 1955 300SL Gullwing that is so famous in its own right, that it is known as the ‘Clark Gable Gullwing’. Shortly afterwards, in 1956, Gable, with his fifth wife Kay, strode into Auto Stiegler, the factory authorised Mercedes-Benz dealership in Beverly Hills and took delivery of this brown painted, tan leather trimmed 300Sc Cabriolet A. It was reported by onlookers that the couple blazed out of the Mercedes dealership for the short drive back to their ranch in nearby Encino.
This 300Sc was the last car Gable purchased in his lifetime, reportedly one of his favourites in a life filled with many exceptional cars. Gable was so fond of this Mercedes that when attending the premiere of 1956’s Giant starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean, shortly after purchasing his 300Sc, he and his wife apparently decided to forego the customary Warner Brothers Cadillac limousine and instead arrived in style and continental elegance in their new Mercedes-Benz 300Sc Cabriolet A.
At a delivered price of $12,500, Gable’s 300Sc cost more than his recently purchased 300SL Gullwing, indeed more than any American luxury car. The only US car that could compare in elegance to Gable’s 300Sc in 1956 would be the Continental Mark II , a limited production coupe that sold for $10,000 – Ford reportedly lost money on each example built. A Cadillac Eldorado was a bargain at just $6,648!
THE LAST AND BEST
The three-litre, six-cylinder 300S (W188) was first exhibited in October 1951 at the Paris Motor Show, production commencing in 1952. It was based on the W186 300 that had debuted earlier the same year at the Frankfurt show in April, Mercedes’ top of the range limousine that soon became popular with VIPs including Chancellor Konrad Adenauer whose name is now associated with the model.
The W188 300S used a 150mm shorter version of the W186 300’s chassis and was offered as a coupe, a roadster and a cabriolet A, the roadster almost identical to the cabriolet A, but with a lighter, fully retractable roof. Until 1955, all three models in the exclusive 300S range were powered by Mercedes’ M188 straight-six that developed 148bhp and 170lb ft torque. Between 1952 and 1955, 203 Mercedes- Benz 300S Cabriolet As were built, along with 216 coupes and 141 roadsters.
At the 1955 Frankfurt show, the 300Sc was presented to replace the 300S range. Thanks to direct fuel injection, power went up to 173bhp, while out back, Mercedes introduced its low pivot, independent rear suspension. One visual change to the exterior was a pair of chrome strips on the front wings, plus ‘Einspritzmotor’ was embossed on the rear bumper, denoting fuel injection. The same three body shapes were produced as before. There was the 300Sc Coupe of which 98 were built between December 1955 and April 1958, the 300Sc Roadster of which 53 were built between January 1956 and February 1958 and this, the most rare, the 300Sc Cabriolet A, built from January 1956 until July 1957, of which just 49 rolled off the production line.
PLAYING THE WAITING GAME
So this is an exclusive classic and one with a superstar owner, only endowing this gorgeous motorcar with yet more kudos. Clark Gable’s beloved 300Sc was stored in a garage at his ranch in Encino for more than 20 years following his death in November 1960 at the age of 59. And this is where this Mercedes’ second owner enters the picture. Bruce Meyer is well known in the United States as a car collector – others in his collection include a 1937 Bugatti Type 57C Ventoux, the first Corvette to race at Le Mans and the first production Shelby Cobra Roadster. Having previously restored another 300Sc Cabriolet A, Meyer knew that Gable’s 300Sc was in storage in Encino and throughout the late 1970s he tried to acquire the car from Gable’s widow. Finally, in 1981, after selling his 300Sc, Meyer purchased the car from Kay Gable.
“What makes this car so special, beyond the fact it was once owned by Clark Gable,” Meyer tells us, “is its originality. Gable took great care with all his cars and the 300Sc was no different. At the end of his life it was his favourite car, you could say that it was his daily driver.”
Driving from one location to another in Beverly Hills, I was struck at just how tight and rattle free the Mercedes-Benz cabriolet is, a car that is just a year younger than I am and that now has a touch over 33,000 miles on its odometer. We pull into the home of Stanley Gold, the former Disney executive and noted Porsche collector whose mansion bears something of a resemblance to Tara’s in Gone with the Wind. “The car is completely original, except for the front seats’ leather upholstery,” comments Meyer. “The paint is as it left the Mercedes factory, as is the top, which I’ve never lowered, and the interior wood is flawless. But the element that sets this car apart from any other 300Sc can be found on the glove box, a St Christopher’s medal clearly engraved with the initials ‘CG.’ I don’t show this car often but I can tell you that I still enjoy every moment behind the wheel. I’ve driven it as far away as San Diego, a round trip of 260 miles.”
The 300Sc cars find themselves at a crossroads in the history of Mercedes-Benz. In terms of design, styling, construction and their hand built nature, they are clearly linked to the great pre-war Mercedes-Benz motorcars. And at the same time, they personify the German economic miracle of the 1950s and its recovery from the devastation of World War Two. It is incredible to think that the company was able to turn itself around and rebuild itself so quickly. Less than a decade after the declaration of peace, Mercedes-Benz was once again producing some of the world’s finest motorcars and attracting some of the world’s greatest superstars, celebrities like Clark Gable, who could afford the very best and naturally gravitated towards the three-pointed star.
The car is just so tight and rattle free, even with a touch over 33,000 miles on its odometer.
This is the most rare variant, of which just 49 rolled off the production line.
This 300Sc was the last car Gable purchased in his lifetime, reportedly one of his favourites.
TECHNICAL DATA #Mercedes-Benz-300Sc-Cabriolet-A-W188 / #Mercedes-Benz-300-Cabriolet-A-W188 / #Mercedes-Benz-W188 / #Mercedes-Benz-300Sc / #Mercedes-Benz-300Sc-Cabriolet-A / #Mercedes-Benz-300Sc-Cabriolet-W188 / #Mercedes-Benz-M199 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz-Cabriolet-W188 / #Mercedes-Benz-Adenauer-Cabriolet / #Mercedes-Benz-Type-300-Cabriolet / #Konrad-Adenauer / #Adenauer / #William-Clark-Gable / #Clark-Gable / #Mercedes-Benz-300Sc-Cabriolet-A-W188-Clark-Gable / #Mercedes-Benz-300Sc-Cabriolet-A-Clark-Gable / #Mercedes-Benz-Clark-Gable /
Engine #M199 2,996cc 6-cyl
Power 173bhp @ 5,400rpm
Torque 188lb ft @ 4,300rpm
Transmission 4-speed manual, RWD
Top speed 112mph
Fuel consumption 22.6mpg
Years produced 1956-1957
Rare, beautiful and kept in stunning condition throughout its 56-year life, this classic cabriolet is a very special treat for the senses Figures for car as pictured; fuel consumption determined at of top speed (not more than 110km/h, 68mph) plus 10 per cent.
This archive shot shows #Clark-Gable with this very #Mercedes-Benz .
Since being built in 1956, this cabriolet has only covered a little over 33,000 miles.
Beautifully simple, the chrome trimmed speedo takes centre stage.
The original Becker Mexico radio remains on the car’s dashboard.
The car is totally original, apart from the leather trim on the two front seats.
Fitted luggage secured with leather straps within the curved rear.
This plate is yet to collect dirt and confirms that it is a #1956 car.
Current owner Bruce Meyer has never lowered the fabric roof, preserving its condition.
Earlier W188s had 148bhp, 173bhp for these 300Sc cars.
The St Christopher’s medal bearing the ‘CG’ inscription.
Whitewall tyres and chrome hubs offset the brown paint.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationHOLLYWOOD GLAMOUR
The W188 coupes, cabriolets and roadsters were elegant and refined in the best Mercedes-Benz tradition.
The chrome running over the front arches to the rear is a sign that this is an Sc.
The plush, grey, leather seats are overlooked by a very rare factory sunroof.
CLASSIC CHOICE 300Sc Coupe
Exclusive and rare it may be, but for the lucky owner of this beautiful 1957 300Sc Coupe, this classic Mercedes-Benz is all that and much, much more. Words & Images Richard Truesdell.
In October 1951, Mercedes-Benz launched the 300S at the Paris Motor Show. Available as a Cabriolet A, a roadster and a coupe, this new star had praise heaped on it by the world’s media, called a “car of the world elites” and a “model for what can be achieved today in automobile construction”. Based on the W186 300 that debuted at the first Frankfurt Motor Show in April 1951 and which was the biggest and fastest German production car of its day, the 300S models took much of the saloon’s technology, style and engineering, but used a 150mm shorter wheelbase. Traditional yet forward looking, the W188 300S was held in the highest regard, something which lives on to this very day with its modern day counterpart, the C216 CL, Mercedes’ 21st century flagship coupe.
In September 1955, a revised 300S was revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Known as the 300Sc and produced in the same three body shapes as before, the most notable changes were at the back and under the bonnet. Where the original three-litre engine gave 148bhp and featured three carburettors, for the Sc, direct fuel injection was employed, 173bhp now the output from the same 2,996cc, these cars carrying ‘einspritzmotor’ badging (meaning ‘injection engine’). And while the doublewishbone front suspension remained, the swing-axle rear was upgraded, a singlejoint swing-axle with a low pivot point fitted instead. More chrome trim, larger indicators and the addition of quarterlights were among the gentle exterior updates distinguishing Sc models from their forebears.
The W188 coupes, cabriolets and roadsters were elegant and refined in the best Mercedes-Benz tradition, with a dash of élan as a sporty counterpoint, they were exceptional cars then and today.
Their exclusivity is also undiminished. Indeed, with the passing years, they have become more rare. Only 560 300S models were built (of all body shapes), but that is more than double the number of 300Scs, of which a mere 200 were built, the production numbers for none of the three variants reaching triple figures. Like the 300SL Roadster, whose #1957 introduction might have stolen the hearts of potential 300Sc customers, contributing to the aforementioned modest production numbers, the factory offered special suitcases for the 300S and Sc models. Like the majestic 300 Adenauers with which they shared so much, these cabriolets, roadsters and coupes were true, luxury continent crushers, powerful cars that could sweep driver (maybe even chauffeur) and passengers across Europe from one great capital to another. Whatever the destination, a journey in any of these impressive 300s was certain to be a pleasure, high comfort and cutting edge engineering ensuring it could be nothing but perfect. And of course, today you have to take the grandeur and exclusivity these cars had when new and multiply it time and again to reach the status held by the remaining examples.
Just 98 300Sc Coupes were built between December 1955 and April #1958 . Vin Di Bona of Los Angeles, California, is one of the fortunate few to call one of these gorgeous cars his own.
A CALIFORNIA DREAM
Unless you are a fan of the long-running American television show America’s Funniest Home Videos, Vin Di Bona’s name might not immediately ring a bell. But if you watch the credits roll at the end of each episode, you will note the highly stylised logo of Vin Di Bona Productions. Now in its 22nd season, America’s Funniest Home Videos remains one of the most popular shows on the American television network.
Mercedes Enthusiast had the good fortune to sit down with Di Bona and his wife Erica at the conclusion of our photoshoot at his home in an upscale enclave in Los Angeles. His home is situated on land that was once the back lot for 20th Century Fox and lies in the shadow of the 35-story MGM tower, the first skyscraper built in Los Angeles in the 21st century. His 1957 300Sc is not the only Mercedes-Benz in his collection. He also has a 1961 300SL Roadster that he has owned for more than a decade. And to not feel left out, his wife has a 1971 280SE 3.5 Coupe, acknowledged as one of the finest W111 coupes in the US.
Di Bona’s obsession with owning a 300Sc started back in the 1960s in film school, when he noted that one of his instructors at UCLA, the Academy Award winning cinematographer James Wong Howe, drove a 300Sc Coupe. “Mr Howe was short in stature but a dynamo behind the camera,” Di Bona recalls. “It seemed that he could hardly see over the Mercedes’ massive steering wheel.” As his producing career took off, Di Bona was able to indulge his passion for cars – and the thought of some day owning a Mercedes-Benz 300Sc Coupe was never far from his mind. About four years ago, the search picked up in earnest when he looked over several different cars.
“This 300Sc was part of an estate in Las Vegas,” he tells us. “I believe that when buying a collector’s car, it’s important to have experts to help guide one in the process. For me, that was 300SL Gullwing owner Don Minkoff. Years ago, at the Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance, Don was showing his own maroon 1957 300Sc.
Erica and I fell in love with his car. The thought of buying one ruminated for a year or two, and Don consulted me about several cars and suggested I contact another #Mercedes-Benz expert, Gary Clark. Of the three we checked out – one was in Santa Rosa north of Los Angeles, the other in San Diego – the Las Vegas car was clearly the best.”
The next step was to consult Mike Regalia, well known for his restoration of Steve McQueen’s Ferrari Lusso. “We did an engine compression check on the Las Vegas car,” says Di Bona. “The reason is simple, if the engine isn’t right it’s $60,000 (almost £40,000) to fix. I had already turned down one of the other cars because the engine would need an overhaul.”
It turns out that, about 20 years ago, this car was restored by noted Mercedes expert Chuck Brahms. The paint on the car, which had been changed from anthracite grey to its current dark blue hue, is now two decades old. Brahms is well known for his restorations featuring dark blue exteriors with contrasting grey interiors, as seen on this car. “And what makes my car really special,” says Di Bona with great pride, “is that it is just one of nine fuel injected 300Sc Coupes equipped with a factory installed sunroof.”
Di Bona has further plans to make his coupe even more special. He is looking to fit European spec headlights. The first set he acquired didn’t fit as the trim gap was wrong, owing to the fact that these were, in essence, hand built cars. Other work, however, has progressed a little more smoothly. “When I bought the car, second gear had a notch,” he explains. “Rene Luderan at Van Nuys Sports Cars was able to find two new gears. After that we went through the mechanical components of the entire car, rebuilding the column mounted, four-speed shifter.”
So what is this gorgeous classic coupe like out on the open road? “It’s remarkable how, for a car built in 1957, it has maintained its roadworthiness,” he effuses. “I’m an admitted air conditioning nut, but of all my classics, this is the only one not equipped with air con.” And it is interesting – and pleasing – to note that when we first encountered his 300Sc Coupe at the inaugural San Marino Motor Classic in the summer of 2011, Di Bona had no apprehension about driving it the 40-mile round trip. “I left at five in the morning so there wasn’t much traffic,” he says. “But we headed back near sunset, so on the drive home I had to be extra careful, especially as drivers would get close to admire its classic lines.”
Of course, those are just the same classic lines that drew Di Bona to Howe’s 300Sc almost 40 years ago. “The styling,” he considers, “the combination of pre war and post war elements, is something I continue to admire to this day.”
The best thing about this 300Sc Coupe is that it is not locked in some climate controlled garage, it gets driven to shows where others can admire it. Using it like this gives Di Bona an insight into life with a 1950s car few might even contemplate. “One time I sat in a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam for over an hour on a Sunday night coming back from an event,” he remembers. “In spite of that, it didn’t overheat. You can’t say that about many 50-year old cars. That’s a testimony to the robustness of the cooling system and the auxiliary fuel pump.”
So it seems that not only does this special Mercedes-Benz coupe retain its heart-stopping beauty and classical luxury, its solid German engineering still shines through too.
JUST THE FACTS #Mercedes-Benz-300Sc-Coupe-W188 / #Mercedes-Benz-300S-Coupe-W188 / #Mercedes-Benz-300Sc-W188 / #Mercedes-Benz-W188 / #Mercedes-Benz-M199 / #Mercedes / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz-Adenauer / #Mercedes-Benz-Type-300 / #Adenauer / #Mercedes-Benz-Type-300-Coupe / #Mercedes-Benz-Adenauer-Coupe
Engine #M199 2,996cc 6-cyl
Power 173bhp @ 5,400rpm
Torque 188lb ft @ 4,300rpm
Transmission 4-speed manual, RWD
Top speed 112mph
Fuel consumption 22.6mpg
Years produced 1955-1958
One of just 98 ever made, this adored Mercedes-Benz coupe is driven and enjoyed as its maker intended Figures for car as pictured; fuel consumption determined at ¾ of top speed (not more than 110km/h, 68mph) plus 10 per cent.
This badge signifies the 300Sc’s fuel injection, the 300S had three carbs.
Luggage straps and a full size spare wheel – ready for the next adventure.
Buying a mechanically sound car was of prime importance to Vin Di Bona.
The purpose built luggage fits perfectly into this 300Sc’s boot.
It is just one of nine Fuel-injected-300Sc-Coupes that was equipped with a factory installed sunroof.
Erica and Vin Di Bona own a 300SL Roadster and W111 coupe too.
The four-speed manual has a column mounted gearshifter.
The combination of pre war and post war styling elements is something I continue to admire to this day.
The Becker Mexico radio still works well.
The speedo is flanked by vital gauges.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationFamily affair. This rare 1950s coupe was bought as a basket case in 1972, reports Richard Truesdell, after which it was restored over a six-year period – and to this day remains with the same Mercedes loving family in California. Images Richard Truesdell/Daimler AG.
“The 300sc was owned by luminaries like King Hussein of Jordan and Hollywood stars Clark Gable, Gary Cooper and Bing Crosby”
The year was 1978, the car a 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300Sc, and the story is of the relationship between a father, his son, and his preservation of his father’s legacy in steel, aluminum, wood and leather. The father, the late Donald Minkoff of Newport Beach, California, was preparing his prized Mercedes for that year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and his son Mark, then 20 years old, was doing what he could, helping to get the car ready for the event.
“I was destined to be a car guy from the day I was born,” says Mark, sitting in his office in Costa Mesa, California with his wife of 34 years, Sherry. “My dad brought me to my first NASCAR race at Riverside Raceway when I was just five years old. I remember that Roger Penske won the race – from that point on, I was a big fan of any kind of racing.” Today Mark races a short-wheelbase 911 Porsche he acquired 15 years ago, and a Ford Thunderbird in the Historic Stock Car Racing Series for vintage NASCAR race cars.
I would crawl around the car as an infant trying to ‘help’ my dad with restoration projects,” Mark continues, recalling that the most memorable was the 300Sc. He was involved in its restoration, along with many skilled craftsmen, and still remembers trying to get it show ready the evening before loading the car on the trailer for its trip to Monterey.
“My dad was the type of guy who was always doing things at the last minute,” Mark remembers. “The 300Sc did make it to Pebble Beach, and miraculously won first in class and was also selected as one of the 10 most elegant cars in the show. Sherry was there, but at the time we were not married. My father being the frugal guy he was, made Sherry and me sleep on the balcony on a mattress instead of reserving an extra room. I think that tells you a lot of what you need to know about my father.”
He comments that times have changed greatly at Pebble Beach in the intervening 35 years, that what he and his dad accomplished in 1978 would be impossible today. “We don’t attend the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance any longer,” he tells us. “It has become so crowded. In the early days you could spread out a blanket and picnic with family and friends. That year I was proudly standing next to my dad as he received congratulations from Phil Hill, the 1961 Formula 1 champion.”
Donald Minkoff wasn’t your typical #Mercedes - Benz owner. Born in Los Angeles in 1929, at the height of the Great Depression, he spent his early years in Alhambra, graduated from Alhambra High School, and there, met and married his wife of 57 years, Erna. Happily, Erna shared his love of cars, especially those with the three-pointed star. This afforded the couple the opportunity to travel often to Europe while raising Mark and his sisters.
Don spent much of his professional life as a salesman for General Mills products and called on grocery stores and supermarkets in southern California. In the early sixties his route passed by a car dealership where he would see W188 300S Coupe on display, falling in love with it. But even for a successful salesman, it seemed that such a car was beyond reach, although that never stopped Don from dreaming that some day he would own the car the stars drove. The 300Sc was owned by 1950s luminaries like King Hussein of Jordan and Hollywood stars Clark Gable, Gary Cooper and Bing Crosby.
Over time, as Don become more successful, he moved from the middle class neighbourhood of Encino, north of downtown Los Angeles, to the upscale community of Newport Beach in Orange County, south of LA. Through it all, he never gave up on his aspirations of one day owning a 300Sc. That chance presented itself in 1972, 10 years after his first encounter with the 300S Coupe in that Los Angeles showroom. Purchased for the princely sum of $3,100 (the equivalent today of $17,000, or about £11,400), the car had just reached 100,000 miles. It was something of a barn find, having been purchased from the previous owner who stored it in hut a mile from Mark’s current office.
The low price reflected its need for extensive restoration, which would become a father-son project over the following six years. While the bodywork was left to specialists, much of the mechanical work was performed by Don and Mark. The 300 series was a special car, with over 1,000 highly skilled man hours applied to each one during its build.
All components were hand fitted, each item bearing an individually stamped identification number. In seven years of production from 1951, Mercedes made only 760. Of these, 200 were the 300Sc, introduced in 1955 to replace the 300S, and using a new three-litre engine with Bosch fuel injection rather than triple carburettors, which raised power by 25bhp to 173bhp, and torque 18lb ft to 188lb ft. Of these, only 98 were coupes, with very few being equipped with the factory installed sunroof. It is believed that around 60 per cent of all 300 series coupes, cabriolets and roadsters have survived.
Down the years, Don and Erna travelled often to Europe, and established a successful business importing Mercedes cars directly from Germany. Their Mercedes collection progressively grew, at one time Don owning 10. One of them, a 1956 220SE Cabriolet was a 10th wedding anniversary gift from Don to Erna, in 1963. On the day he gave it to her, he covered her eyes, getting her sat behind the wheel, and saying he bought her a station wagon. But as she smelled the leather, she knew very well that this was no crude, US built truck with a vinyl interior and imitation wood side panels.
The 300Sc is displayed regularly, at regional events, most recently, this year’s Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance. There, it was parked next to Bruce Meyer’s 1957 300Sc Cabriolet, a car once owned by Hollywood screen icon Clark Gable – and there is a direct link between the two cars, dating back to the days when Don and his family lived on Encino. It seems that Mark detailed the Clark Gable car when it was owned by the late actor’s estate. It was during this time that Don was able to purchase the fitted luggage that now resides in the Minkoff’s 300Sc (we’re thinking that Bruce would love to reunite the luggage with his car but it is likely that Mark will want to keep it with his).
Don Minkoff passed away on September 15 2010, after a short illness. He was 81, and as Mark will attest, his was a life well lived, especially where his relationship with the three-pointed star was concerned. Since his passing, Mark has faithfully tended to his father’s collection, striving to maintain the cars in perfect running condition, which is something his dad struggled with. “My dad was the type that was happy with how his cars presented but left some of the hidden details untended,” says Mark. “The best example is the under dash wiring harness on the 300Sc. When I refreshed the car after his death, I removed the harness, with all the splices, butt connectors and electrical tape intact. I keep the harness in a cabinet in my office in my ‘man cave’ in Costa Mesa, where I have kept his collection intact.”
This includes a 1957 300SL Gullwing, it being the ninth from last of the 1,400 coupes built over the three year period. It is probably the most valuable car in the collection, but Mark knows that the 300Sc Coupe was always his favourite. “I am sure my dad is looking down and smiling,” says Mark, looking wistfully at the cabinet with the wiring harness.
“The 300Sc is displayed regularly, at regional events like the legendary Cars and Coffee show held each Saturday morning in Irvine”
“The 300 series was a special car, with over 1,000 highly skilled man hours applied to each one during its build”
TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATIONS #Mercedes-Benz-300Sc-Coupe-W188 / #Mercedes-Benz-300S-W188 / #Mercedes-Benz-W188 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz-M199 / #Mercedes-Benz-300Sc-Coupe / #Mercedes-Benz-300S / #Mercedes-Benz-300 /
Engine #M199 2,996cc 6-cyl
Power 173bhp @ 5,400rpm
Torque 188lb ft @ 4,300rpm
Transmission 4-speed manual, RWD
Top speed 112mph
Fuel consumption 22.6mpg
Years produced #1955 / #1958
All figures from #Mercedes-Benz
Above. ‘Einspritzmotor’ tells us that this car, unlike early models, has fuel injection.
Left. Every year Mark takes the 300Sc to varoius classic car events in California.
Right. The fitted luggage set was acquired later – from a 300Sc Clark Gable owned.
Right. One of the publicity photos Mercedes issued of the coupe in the mid 1950s.
Above. Rear seat is best described as cosy, with limited space.
Left. The 300Sc has 173bhp, a healthy output for the time.
Below. Few 1950s cars looked as chic.
Above. The 300-series was offered as the Coupe, Roadster and Cabriolet.
Above left. This is the cover of the 1951 brochure for the early model, the 300S.
Below. The polished wood and chromed trimmed dials make for a stylish fascia.
Above. Mark with the 300S as it is today, 35 years after the restoration was completed.
Left. Same place, in 1972, with Jim Albin, who carried out some paintwork on the car.
Left and below. Phil Hill congratulates Don (open shirt) on ’1978 Concours win; Mark is to Don’s right. classic coupe 300Sc.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.