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1956 MERCEDES-BENZ 300Sc COUPE. Estimate US$ 650,000 - 750,000 (€590,000 - 680,000). Photo Bonhams.

Chassis no. 188014.5500029 - Engine no. 199.980.5500002

2,996cc SOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine - Bosch Fuel Injection - 175bhp at 5,400rpm - 4-Speed Manual Transmission - 4-Wheel Independent Suspension - 4-Wheel Drum Brakes

*Extraordinary restoration by marque specialists
*Matching numbers example 
*Highly exclusive, top-of-the-line 300Sc Coupe
*Offered with Mercedes-Benz factory records
*Rarer than a Gullwing and more expensive when new 

THE MERCEDES-BENZ 300 SERIES

More expensive than the 300SL sports car and almost double the price of the contemporary top-of-the-range Cadillac, the Mercedes-Benz 300S was one of the world's most exclusive automobiles. It is also historically significant as one of Mercedes-Benz's first all-new designs of the post-war era, debuting at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1951. The 300's arrival re-established Mercedes-Benz in the front ranks of prestigious car manufacturers, marking a return to the marque's tradition of building high-performance luxury automobiles of the finest quality.

"To the characteristics of high performance, impressive appearance and fine detail finish which distinguished the big Mercedes models of pre-war days are added new virtues of silence, flexibility and lightness of control, while the latest rear suspension, a product of long experience on Grand Prix cars and touring cars, confers a degree of security at high speeds on rough and slippery surfaces which it would be very difficult indeed to equal," observed Autocarmagazine.

Although Mercedes-Benz would adopt a unitary chassis/body construction for its lower and mid-priced cars as the 1950s progressed, the retention of a traditional separate frame for the 300 enabled a wide variety of coachbuilt body types to be offered. The 300's cross-braced, oval-tube chassis followed the lines of the 170S and 220, with independent suspension all round and four-wheel drum brakes, but incorporated the added refinements of hypoid bevel final drive, dynamically balanced wheels and remote electrical control of the rear suspension ride height. 

Initially developing 115bhp, the 3-liter, overhead-camshaft, six-cylinder engine - used in fuel-injected form in the 300SL sports car - was boosted in power for the succeeding 300B and 300C models, finally gaining fuel injection in the re-styled 300D of 1957. Other improvements along the way included larger brakes (with servo-assistance from 1954), optional power steering (on the 300D) and the adoption of three-speed automatic transmission as standard on the latter. 

Custom built by Mercedes-Benz's most experienced craftsmen, the Mercedes-Benz 300 was luxuriously appointed and trimmed with materials of the highest quality. Fast and elegant, it was one of very few contemporary vehicles capable of carrying six passengers in comfort at sustained high speeds. The 300 was the car of choice among West German government officials, and throughout Europe and the USA was widely favored by businessmen, financiers and politicians. Indeed, 'Adenauer' became the 300's unofficial model name, after German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, its most famous customer. 

The conservatively styled 300 Saloon was soon joined by the 300S (Super), a model that succeeded in recapturing all the elegance of the pre-war 540K. Introduced at the Paris Salon in October 1951, the 300S was built in two-seater Coupe, Cabriolet and Roadster forms on a shortened 300 saloon chassis. 

Not only was the two-seater 300S considerably lighter than the saloon, it was also more powerful, boasting an engine equipped with triple (as opposed to twin) Solex carburetors and a raised compression ratio. Maximum power output was increased to 150bhp and top speed to 110mph (176km/h). Unlike some of its spartanly furnished contemporaries, the 300S boasted a lavishly equipped interior featuring supple leather upholstery; beautiful burr walnut trim, chromium-plated dashboard instrumentation and precision-made switchgear.

The top offering of the series was the 300Sc. The 300 Sc featured a 175bhp dry-sump engine equipped with Bosch fuel injection, and boasted a revised rear suspension with single-pivot swing axles similar to that of the 300SL Roadster, a development that enhanced both road holding and handling. The car's top speed was now 180km/h (112mph) with 100km/k (62mph) reachable in around 13 seconds. To cope with the improved performance, servo-assisted brakes, optional from 1954, were standardized. 

Coachbuilt in the traditional manner by Sindelfingen, the 300S family represents a standard of excellence that has rarely been equaled; only materials of the finest quality were used for the hand finished interiors, which were comparable with those of the contemporary Rolls-Royce. The 300Sc is widely regarded by discerning collectors as the most desirable of all Mercedes-Benz's post-war luxury models. Only 200 examples of the 300Sc were built and survivors are both rare and highly sought after. Ownership of such an exclusive automobile was necessarily restricted to a wealthy few, among them film stars Cary Grant and Gary Cooper, and the Aga Khan. 

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

One of only 98 built with this particular body style, this stunning and ultra-rare 300Sc Coupe was completed at the Stuttgart-based Mercedes-Benz factory on February 10, 1956. The Sindelfingen-built coachwork was finished in DB274 Metallic Green, and the luxurious interior trimmed in Cream leather hides. The car was optioned with a rear compartment jump seat instead of a traditional back seat arrangement. The new Mercedes-Benz was equipped and destined for the growing US-market, and dispatched for New York later that month. 

The 300Sc's subsequent history remains unknown, but a stamped entry in the cars accompanying owners manual, suggests that the car might have been in Dayton, Ohio at some point. During the mid-1980s, the 300Sc Coupe was discovered in Minnesota by noted Mercedes-Benz 300-series expert Chuck Brahms. Soon thereafter, the 300Sc was purchased by Mercedes-Benz collector Gary Gallup, who stored the car with his friend Robin Onsoien, the owner of Early Motors in Nipomo, California, with the agreement, that Mr. Onsoien would eventually perform an extensive restoration on the 300Sc. 

The aging Mercedes-Benz spent decades in clean, dry storage, and the extensive restoration finally begun in 2007. Following disassembly of the cars delicate bodywork, the panels were prepared and then refinished in a period Mercedes-Benz light Metallic Burgundy before being carefully reassembled. Jack's Upholstery in Santa Maria, California trimmed the interior in fine Belgian leather hides and expertly installed tan leather and carpeting. Lesco Engines of San Louis Obisbo refurbished the cars original fuel injected engine, with many parts sourced from the factory-backed Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine, California. The cars wiring harness was replaced, and both interior and exterior chrome and brightwork was sent to renowned plating company Christensen Plating of Vernon, California. 

The completed restoration is nothing short of breathtaking, with exceptional attention to detail throughout this luxurious motorcar. Equipped with Mercedes-Benz 300SL type alloy-rimmed wheels, dual spares in the trunk, as well as a full array of rare Karl Baisch luggage, this exceptional 300Sc Coupe presents beautifully. From the end-of-the run of real hand-built Mercedes-Benz automobiles, this rare and extraordinarily luxurious 300Sc Coupe is ready to show at national level Concours, or pack-up for the weekend away. 

Bonhams. THE SCOTTSDALE AUCTION, 28 Jan 2016 11:00 MST