1926 Mercedes-Benz K,
Lot 386
1926 Mercedes-Benz Model K 6,240cc Supercharged Torpedo Transformable
Sold for £441,500 (US$ 555,405) inc. premium

Lot Details
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1926 Mercedes-Benz Model K 6,240cc Supercharged Torpedo Transformable
Coachwork by Saoutchik of Paris

Engine no. 60616


  • With the inevitable merger of Daimler and Benz in 1926 two of the motoring world’s most significant motor manufacturing dynasties pooled skills and resources to produce a still mightier force in the relatively infant motor industry. Just 40 years had however seen huge leaps forward in the motor car culture and the mighty Mercedes-Benz cars of the late 1920’s were a far cry indeed from the earliest tottering machines of Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler.

    The technical genius of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, who had joined Daimler in 1923, brought significant influence to the mighty supercharged cars catering for the owner/driver who demanded outstanding touring luxury combined with top performance. Mercedes-Benz advertising boasted of ‘the fastest sports car in the world’ and referred unashamedly to ‘the Mighty Mercedes’. Such claims were thoroughly justified by the all-conquering racing successes of the marque in the hands of such legendary racing giants as Rudolf Caracciola and Christian Werner. Mercedes had shown a supercharged car at the 1921 Berlin Show and had campaigned a supercharged racing car in the Targa Florio Race in Sicily. The arrival of Ferdinand Porsche at Mercedes was heralded by significant enhancements to the Model K design and the supercharged six-cylinder engine.

    The Model K of 1926 was a truly Teutonic masterpiece, claimed to be the fastest touring car in existence, the giant engine shoe-horned under the bonnet displacing 6,240cc and developing 110bhp at 2,800rpm, this figure rising dramatically to 160bhp with the Roots supercharger engaged. The Model K was not for the faint-hearted with so much power on tap and the committed owner/driver experienced vividly the thrill of his racing heroes at the wheel of the 6 ¼ litre monster. Writing of the model in 1926 motoring correspondent Edgar Duffield reported, “Forget the supercharger, and you have a beautiful touring car. Remember it, use it …. keep at least one eye well ahead – for the glint of sunshine on white-metal buttons!” The Earl of Cardigan reported, “The Mercedes is a real pleasure to handle alike on the road and on the track …. the car itself will appeal more to the motoring enthusiast than to the more staid and serious citizen”. With its Elektron block and cast aluminium crankcase, vertical-mounted Roots supercharger, high compression and large valves, with twin sparking plugs per cylinder, Porsche’s Model K was indeed ‘state-of-the-art’ motor engineering in 1926. Despite this mass of engineering excellence, the Model K is a delight to handle, well balanced and offering exceptional passenger comforts.

    60616 carries Torpedo Transformable coachwork by J Saoutchik of Paris, surely one of Europe’s premier carrossieres– in open form the car having instant appeal to the sporting motorist, while the cleverly engineered hood folds fully away and yet in the closed position provides the passenger comforts of a saloon motor car. No expense was spared in the fine detail of Saoutchik’s masterpiece, the carved rosewood trim being inset with silver inlay, a rear screen providing passenger protection, concealed door hinges, silver-plated door and window accessories, while generous side and top scuttle vents provide the required ventilation to the passenger compartment. The car is superbly equipped with a complete set of fine Stephen Grebel lamps including head and side lamps, a windscreen-mounted swivel spot lamp of gargantuan proportions, a single rear lamp and a miniscule tower-style number plate illuminator. Driving equipment and facilities include a superbly engineered four-piece opening windscreen, wood-rimmed steering wheel, practical rear luggage locker, twin side-mounted spare wheels while the ‘Three Pointed Star’ radiator mascot embraces also a water temperature gauge. The car is liveried in white, (German Racing Team colours), and furnished with brown leather upholstery.

    This brutishly Teutonic German grand tourer has been in the present ownership since the 1970’s and in 1983 featured on the front cover and in a technical article on the model in Antique Automobile magazine. Records on file record major mechanical work carried out in 1986 by Custom Engine Service Inc. of Florida, this work embracing a major engine overhaul and further work to transmission, clutch, water pump, carburettor, etc. Since that work was carried out 60616 has not been used in anger and we strongly advise the most careful running-in period. Following a long period of inactivity the usual careful recommissioning in all areas is advised, although at the time of cataloguing the car started readily and the engine made all those noises that would have excited Dr. Porsche.

    This highly important and exceedingly rare Model K comes with a State of Florida Certificate of Title, together with British Customs & Excise form 388 recording importation into the UK in 1988.
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