One of Mercedes-Benz's first all-new designs of the post-war era, the 300 debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1951 and would succeed in re-establishing the Stuttgart firm in the front rank of prestige car manufacturers, marking as it did a return to the marque's tradition of building high-performance luxury automobiles of the finest quality.
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-litre, 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 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. It was the car of choice among West German government officials, and throughout Europe and the USA was widely favoured by businessmen, financiers and politicians. Indeed, 'Adenauer' became the 300 saloon/limousine's unofficial model name, after German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, its most famous customer.
This car is a rare, right-hand drive, automatic transmission example of the 300d featuring that model's revised, pillar-less coachwork and fuel-injected engine. It was ordered at the 1961 London Motor Show for Sir Robert McAlpine with ownership being transferred to Thomas McAlpine in 1962. In 1969 the Mercedes was sold to the current owner's father. Last started around 15 years ago, it will require re-commissioning before returning to the road. The car is finished in grey with red leather interior, while an 8-track cassette player and a specially commissioned stainless steel exhaust system (fitted circa 1975) are the only listed deviations from factory specification. Offered with old-style logbook and Swansea V5, 'GSW 523' represents a rare opportunity to acquire an example of Mercedes-Benz's much sought after 1950s flagship at a most affordable price. A total of 98,590 miles is currently displayed on the odometer.