<b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367
Lot 427
c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT
US$ 900,000 - 1,200,000
£680,000 - 910,000

Lot Details
<b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367 <b>c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT</b><br />Engine no. 9367
c.1908 MERCEDES-SIMPLEX 65HP TWO SEATER RACEABOUT
Engine no. 9367

9,439cc Side-Valve T-head, Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
65hp at 1200 rpm, dual ignition,
4-speed transmission with double chain drive
Rear and Intermediate Shaft Brakes
Semi-Elliptical Leaf Spring Suspension, Live Axles

THE MERCEDES

In the first decade of the last century arguably the best automobiles in the world came from Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft in Cannstatt, Germany.
Derived from the earliest automobiles designed and built by Gottlieb Daimler, by 1900 design was in the hands of the redoubtable Wilhelm Maybach. The name Mercedes (originally Mercédѐs) came from Emil Jellinek in Nice, France. His order for 30 vehicles of modern design was unprecedented in its size and also upon its conditions. The cars had to meet his specifications for light weight and low profile, and all of them had to bear the name of his daughter, Mercédѐs.

The new Mercedes automobiles were far more advanced than earlier Daimlers, with big four-cylinder engines, efficient honeycomb radiators, strong frames and standardized controls that resulted in Daimler's decision to add the term "Simplex" to their names.

First introduced with 35hp in 1901 the new Mercedes automobiles nearly swept the multiple competitions at "Nice Week" in March. Its dominance was so complete the secretary general of the ACF stated, "We have entered the Mercedes era."

Competition throughout Europe and in the United States spurred Mercedes to develop ever larger, faster and more reliable automobiles. They won races and set speed records regularly, enhancing both the experience of the firm and its designers and the brand's recognition on both sides of the Atlantic in the hands of legends like William K. Vanderbilt, Camille Jenatzy, Christian Lautenschlager and Ralph dePalma

The Mercedes-Simplex was built in a bewildering array of models, from 1760cc 11hp to 9¼ liter 65hp giants, the latter 45-55-65hp models sharing a common piston stroke and varying only in the bore of the cylinder blocks from 120 to 150mm. Their cost was breathtaking, but so was their performance, reliability and simplicity.

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

Daimler-Benz records reflect that the car with this engine number was delivered in September 1908 to the Paris agent and a month later transferred to the Mercedes Direct Agency in New York as a 40/45hp with unknown coachwork. Today, evidence of component numbers listed on those same records, of 760 and 718 can still be found in numerous places on the car, including rear sprockets, braking components, the starter handle surround and hood, which is clearly original. While its J.M. Quinby & Company coachbuilders plaque (#2790) indicates it was probably bodied in the U.S. prior to delivery to its first owner.

The car has always been attributed with a connection to the Vanderbilt family, numerous members of which were both racers and owners of the early Daimler product, but no documentary evidence supports this claim and its early history is not known. However by the time it was acquired by Lindley Bothwell in the 1930s or 1940s it wore the two-seat Raceabout body it has borne ever since. The debossed three-pointed star radiator it so proudly bears today also was a later addition, that style having been first used by Mercedes in 1909, a year after the chassis was first delivered.

It now has a displacement of 576 cubic inches (9,439cc), as documented on the AAA Competition Car plaque from 1952 on its footboard. Mercedes 65hp engines were 564 cubic inches (9,236cc) indicating a small overbore during the many rebuilds it must have had during its active life, particularly during Lindley Bothwell's ownership.

The Bothwell Collection vehicles were famously used not only around the family ranch but also in events and shows, some of which were produced entirely by Lindley Bothwell with cars from his collection making up all or a large part of the field driven by fortunate friends.

In those early days the Mercedes sported a white paintwork scheme. It is documented as being used during the famed "First Annual Avalon to Isthmus Road Race" on Santa Catalina Island August 4-5, 1951. Sanctioned by the AAA Contest Board, the Santa Catalina race was run over tight, twisting dirt and gravel roads as a two-day event, the first day from Avalon to Santa Catalina's Isthmus, returning the next day taking the winner (not surprisingly, Lindley Bothwell in a 1910 Pope-Hartford) a combined time of 1:32.51.

At Santa Catalina the Mercedes-Simplex was driven by Jesus Sanchez, described as a well-known Mexican driver, and did not finish. It was probably also a participant in the Santa Monica Road Race revival put on by Bothwell, his friends and his unparalleled stable of antique race cars on July 16, 1950 over the original street circuit in Santa Monica.

The care and preservation of the Bothwell Collection is renowned and this 1908 Mercedes-Simplex 65hp Raceabout is no exception. Continuously maintained and frequently exercised, it exhibits a standard of preservation with active use that is immensely pleasing and satisfying.

There is no doubt that it has been used, but also no doubt that neglect, at least over the past seventy years, has never been its fate. Believed to have been in the Bothwell Collection since the late 1930s or early 1940s, it has a delightful patina of care and use. A plaque on the firewall identifies it as a 1998 participant in the Mooney Grove Park Independence Day Motorsports Festival in Visalia, California, testament to the continuing use of the Bothwell Collection.

It is equipped with bell-shaped acetylene headlights, cycle fenders, detachable rim wood spoke wheels and a pair of spare wheels and tires at the rear behind a cylindrical bolster fuel tank and useful trunk for luggage or tools and spares. Careful analysis of the structure of the bodywork, shows that the underpinnings of wood rails and supports of its original body probably still remain intact, albeit they were leveled to enable a more sporting guise.

The original clutch system has long since been replaced with a more modern set up and is no longer with the car. An updraft Zenith carburetor feeds the gigantic cylinders with a pair of outside exhaust headpipes feeding an expansion chamber to an essentially straight-through exhaust that exits just below the left ear of a fortunate, but soon monaural, passenger.

With the prudent attention deserved by any automobile, let alone an automobile capable of freeway speeds, that is 109 years old the Bothwell Collection's 1908 Mercedes-Simplex should soon be back on the road for years of enjoyment, it's "Simplex" design lending itself to simple, straightforward preparation and maintenance.

It is a proud giant among automobiles of the first decade of the last century, the product of Emil Jellinek's vision and Wilhelm Maybach's engineering. Its performance will be outstanding, the big T-head four pounding out miles with glorious sound and relaxed effort.

And, perhaps best of all, its new owner will walk in the respected footprints of Lindley Bothwell, whose connoisseurship and stewardship of fine antique racing machinery is legend.
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Current licence set to expire May 31, 2019
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