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Unique Mercedes-Benz 500 K Cabriolet could top $7 million at Bonhams

A unique Mercedes-Benz 500 K Cabriolet has been added to the roster of Bonhams’ single-marque Mercedes-Benz auction
The upcoming sale already had one stunning example with coachwork by Saoutchik, and now it has two – with the latest addition looking set to top the entire auction.

The highly rare 1935 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Cabriolet is one of only 354 examples of the 500 K ever produced, and features a unique, hand-crafted body from one of the world’s most coveted coachbuilders.

When the car in question, chassis 123696, hit the stand at the 1935 Paris Auto Show, it was just that – a chassis. Displayed  in its stripped-down state, it caught the eye of Dr. Charles Crocker, who was competing with his friend Lawrence Copley Thaw to own the finest automobile. Thaw bought himself a Rolls-Royce chassis, and Crocker snapped up the Mercedes straight off the exhibition stand.

He sent his newly-acquired Mercedes to Jacques Saoutchik, a trained carpenter based in Paris who also built some of Europe’s finest coachwork. According to Philip Kantor, Bonhams European Head of Motoring, "It is reported that on taking delivery of the chassis, Saoutchik declared that he would build a body for the Mercedes that would be, ‘As handsomely received half a century from now as it will today.’ And he fulfilled his promise: what remains today is magnificent."

The car was then shipped to San Francisco, and remained in Crocker’s family until 1959. Since 1967 the 500 K has had just two further owners, each of them admiring it for more than 20 years each, and the car is offered with a continuous history and chain of ownership from new.

In addition to its stunning good looks, the cars also packs a 5,018cc OHV Supercharged Inline 8-Cylinder Engine, 4-Speed Manual Transmission, 4-Wheel Independent Suspension and 4-Wheel Servo-Assisted Hydraulic Drum Brakes.

It now remains as a rare survivor of its golden era, right down to the original Art Deco vanity set lodged in the instrument panel, and will be offered with an estimate of €6-€7 million ($6.6-$7.7 million).

The Bonhams Mercedes-Benz sale takes place at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany on Saturday March 19.

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