1938 MERCEDES-BENZ 320 CABRIOLET A
Chassis no. 191150
3,208cc OHV Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
78bhp at 4,000rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
*Exquisitely restored, rarely seen model
*Sporting two-seat Cabriolet A Coachwork
*Elegant color combination
*Ready for competitive Concours judging
*Offered with restoration file
THE MERCEDES-BENZ 320
Mercedes-Benz's luxurious 320 series was introduced in 1936 as a replacement for the outgoing 290. Built initially in two different wheelbase lengths, the 320 was down to just one from 1938 onwards, though a wide variety of open and closed body styles remained available, including a state-of-the-art streamlined saloon. The 320's six-cylinder engine started at 3,208cc before being bored out to 3,405cc towards the end of production to compensate for inferior quality fuel. Maximum power increased to 78bhp and overall performance greatly improved, while coil-sprung independent suspension all round ensured that the ride afforded the ultimate in comfort at all times.
Factory sales literature was coy about top speeds, though models whose standard four-speed manual gearboxes were complemented by the optional ZF overdrive "autobahn" gear were reckoned capable of approximately 130km/h (80mph). Hydraulic brakes were a very necessary refinement in a car that in saloon form weighed almost 2,000kgs.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
Most 320s were completed with rather formal coachwork, though there was also a tourer, a roadster and various cabriolets to choose from. Of the latter, the two-door Cabriolet B is best known, but this 3.2-liter example is fitted with the more sporting two-door Cabriolet A body with two front seats, a third seat set at 90 degrees across the rear, and twin spare wheels on the boot. Stylish and imposing, the 320 Cabriolets had few peers as exemplars of open-top motoring in the grand manner, affording their fortunate owners 500K style but without their considerable purchase and running costs.
This striking 320 Cabriolet A's earliest history had yet to be uncovered at the time of cataloging; it was reportedly confiscated during WWII, presumably for military purposes. By the 1960s, the car was with a private owner in the United States and it is believed that he sold the Mercedes-Benz to a European businessman the mid-1980s. In 2007, the 320 Cabriolet A returned to its native Germany and subsequently was subject to a no-expense-spared restoration performed by a Mercedes-Benz specialist during 2011 to 2013.
The frame-off restoration paid particular attention to the bodywork and the chassis, which present superbly in a fitting dark blue, neatly contrasting against a new grey leather interior done to the highest standards. The paintwork as well as all brightwork was finished to the highest standard possible. Mechanically, the engine was comprehensively restored and revised in every detail, while the Mercedes' electrical system was completely renewed with new cabling and connectors.
The lavish interior of the 320 Cabriolet A is just as exclusive an environment today as it was in 1938. Restored VDO instruments record vital running information; the highly polished wood covering the dashboard and door cappings has been renewed.
An extensive photographic documentation of the work carried out will accompany the car, along with German Historic Registration documents. This 320 Cabriolet A presents a wonderful opportunity to acquire a fully restored example of this most desirable, elegant and sporting pre-war Mercedes-Benz soft-top, one which is ready for Concours judging at an international level.
- Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit.