Auto of the day May 19th 2012 – Mercedes 500K & 540K (The…

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Mercedes-Benz 500K W29

Auto of the day May 19th 2012 – 500K 540K (The bodied cars)

The Berlin Show Car’

— from the Lyon Family

— 1935 Berlin Show Car

— Rare on desirable supercharged eight-cylinder

— Recent inspection by from Mercedes-Benz Classic

At the beginning of the Thirties it became that Mercedes-Benz needed a new at the top of its product offering. The company that step at the 1933 Auto Show with the W 22 the 380. Its eight-cylinder engine on Mercedes-Benz’s successful experience the S series with a driver-controlled for short bursts of power for It shared its visual lineage the S also, with a massive vee set back at or behind the front centerline and huge Bosch Four-wheel independent suspension and brakes gave unprecedented handling and braking, not only on roads but also on the quickly network of improved roads, and Autobahns then being throughout Germany.

Reflecting the social and political dynamics of the Mercedes-Benz designed its newest chassis primarily as an owner-driven Some, with long limousine and enclosed sedan bodies, would be chauffeur-driven, but was now the exception, not the norm. A number of were incorporated in the design and through the Thirties on later to make owner-driver use easier, and smoother. Manuals were and extensive. Owners’ mechanical was assumed, but it was not expected to be extensive. drivers were not uncommon, and recognized its prestige models going to driven by owners a wide range of skills.

Mercedes-Benz’s pride in the 380 was apparent at its The centerpiece of the display was a meticulously show chassis revealing its construction and intricacy to full Aluminum surfaces, and there many of them, were engine turned. Every and detail was highly polished, and detailed to perfection. It was a jewel.

As as it was, however, the 380’s was at best marginal for the task of the ample, luxuriously appointed Tourenwagens and Innenlenkers favored by of Mercedes-Benz’s wealthy clientele and to the high, and massive, standards of the coachworks. Mercedes-Benz quickly its error in judgment and began of its successor in January 1933, before the 380 was introduced.

The Mercedes-Benz 500 K

was the Mercedes-Benz 500 K (W 29, 100/160 hp) destined to be one of the performance automobiles of the Thirties. It was in March 1934 at the Berlin Show, just 13 months the debut of the 380. Both built in parallel in 1934, but by the end of the the 500 K stood alone at the top of Mercedes-Benz’s

The 500 K had a generously-braced chassis frame within the axle centerlines fully independent suspension coil springs using A-arms at the front and swing at the rear, both fitted hydraulic lever shock Concentric coil springs added to the rear suspension to up higher loads, and later in the 500 K horizontal camber compensator added another level of to the swing axles.

The engine was enlarged from of the 380 with increased bore and It had inline overhead valves by pushrods and rocker arms a camshaft mounted above the on the left side of the cylinder The Rootes-style positive displacement mounted at the front of the engine was by the driver when the accelerator was pressed fully to the floor, a multi-disc clutch pack on the and forcing air through the carburetor the cylinders. The unit cylinder and crankcase were cast in with a cast iron head and an 8-10 liter aluminum oil sump. Output was 100 hp in operation and 160 hp at 3,400 rpm with the engaged.

Later 500 K engines a marvelous rotary-type “Jumo” pump built by aircraft manufacturer Junkers, an intricate gem that ensured adequate flow when the blower cut in and requirements soared.

For the 500 K, Mercedes-Benz the four-speed gearbox with (1:1) third-speed and a pre-selector overdrive fourth (Schnellgang, translated as “speed gear”) a 0.6:1 ratio engaged using the clutch. The top three were synchronized. The standard axle ratio of 5.11:1 of the 380 was to 4.9:1 or greater for the 500 K.

Even in form the 500 K was lavishly equipped two spare wheels and tires, glass, electric windshield hydraulic brakes with booster and 370-mm diameter central lubrication, 12-volt system and a centrally mounted fog

500 K production continued for three through 1936. 342 examples built. Of them just 29 bodied with Roadster and Roadster coachwork. Creating a shape on the 500 K’s 129½-inch wheelbase a hood line high to clear the 500 K’s long stroke engine topped by its valve is a daunting task. Only the accomplished and sensitive designers succeeded with similar and their creations, whether on Duesenberg, Alfa Romeo or chassis, are masterpieces of the artful of engineering and design in the integration of masses.

Offered in two successive versions, the series Spezial Roadster is a roadster, without rollup with a fully disappearing top and a tapered tail topped by spares set off by stalk-mounted taillights. The Roadsters’ remarkable coachwork with the long hood to accommodate the length of the straight-eight Further extending the front of the 500 K, the centerline is well forward of the and classic Mercedes-Benz grille, an expanse of sweeping fender introduces and accentuates the hood’s and severity. The cowl is topped by a swept vee windscreen usually by one or two small spotlights. The top of the doors is in a pleasing curve that the fender’s sweep, the “low that accents the 500 K Spezial sporting presence and appeal. The sweep is accented by a bright along its edge which from the doors down the tail. The fender margin is by a complementary bright accent continues over the rear arch and down the fender to the tail’s margin. It creates a design that blends the mass into an integrated that belies its size seen without familiar to give scale.

Chassis no. 105380

The car offered was completed February 6, 1935 at with the beautiful and highly Roadster coachwork and immediately to Berlin where it was the centerpiece of the display from February 14 24 at the Berlin Motor Show. At the it was finished in an intriguing early of metallic green. It is pictured on 182 of Jan Melin’s authoritative book 8, The Supercharged 8-Cylinder Cars of the and has been identified by Mr. Melin as chassis. Following the Motor it remained in Berlin until 22 when it was shipped to the Mercedes-Benz in Aachen, Germany. The Kommission identifies it as sold a month on April 25, 1935, to Hans Prym of Stolberg. Prym’s company had developed the press i.e. “snap,” for clothing and in 1903, establishing a leading in that field that to the present day.

Mercedes-Benz 500K W29

Its interim is unknown at this time, but it turned up in the collection of pioneer Russell Strauch in the 1970s, it was in excellent original condition. By the of Strauch’s death in 1976 it had acquired by Don Dickson, and it remained in his until sold in 1988 to Clyne for the Imperial Palace which commissioned a cosmetic in 1991 from Mike Enterprises in Saugus, California. Clyne recalls the Roadster as it was the IP’s signature car for many featured in the collection’s publicity and and remembers that, “It ran like a All we did was a cosmetic restoration of a wonderful, low miles car.” Specifically, Clyne recalls that no were added to the Roadster its cosmetic freshening. It is beautifully from the radiator stone-guard to the mother of pearl instrument and white steering wheel.

It has been for many years one of the elements of the Lyon Family where it represented the very of the W 29 500 K series in both performance particularly, in the deftly shaped, and superbly constructed coachwork of in the rare and beautiful Roadster

Finished in rich red highlighted by wire wheels, whitewall dual rear spares, a of windshield post-mounted spotlights, outside exhaust headpipes and body accent moldings, its raked vee windshield accents the fenders with integrated boards. Both front and fenders are slightly skirted, the effect of their sweep but presenting a glimpse of the rugged and chassis frame and suspension – and a chance to highlight the chrome collector pipe under the front fender.

The interior is in supple tan leather with a tan single layer cloth The top ingeniously folds nearly with the rear deck a matching top boot cover, an distinguishing feature from the double layer tops of the cabriolet coachwork.


In for the car’s offering in Monterey August, it was personally inspected in by two seasoned experts from Classic Germany. In their opinion, they concluded the car has a correct 500 K replacement motor of the series. The frame number not be immediately located, but this is of consequence as a large-scale dismantling of the end would have to be conducted and disrupt the integrity of the complete The transmission, in particular, is of another but is nevertheless a correct 500 K transmission. The original body number was located. Nevertheless, it has clearly from a full restoration and to present extremely well.

One Mercedes-Benz expert described the 500 K by saying, “these cars never been ‘un-valuable’…new swoon at the sight of them” – as has generation since 1933. 500 K Roadsters, particularly the harmoniously and executed 1st series offered give their owners satisfaction from their of style and performance.

Magnificently fastidiously constructed and assiduously by a succession of owners, most by the Lyon family in their collection with fulltime maintenance and constant attention to any 500 K Roadster 105380’s effect, on the road or in a concours, is arresting. It a rare opportunity for other to experience its allure and satisfaction. of RM)

1935 – Berlin Motor

1935 – Hans Fridriech

1940’s – 1970’s – Unknown

– Russell Strauch USA

Mercedes-Benz 500K W29
Mercedes-Benz 500K W29
Mercedes-Benz 500K W29
Mercedes-Benz 500K W29


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