Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe
Lot 177
Single family ownership from new
Offered from the William M. Keck Estate

1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe
Sold for US$ 511,500 inc. premium

Lot Details
Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe Single family ownership from newOffered from the William M. Keck Estate,1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe
Offered from the William M. Keck Estate
1952 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe

Chassis no. 188011.00088/52
Engine no. 188920.00043/52

2,996cc SOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
3 Solex Carburetors
150bhp at 5,000rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Drum Brakes


*Just one single owner since new
*Expertly restored and serviced by Mercedes-Benz Classic Center
*Highly exclusive, top-of-the-line 300S Coupe
*Offered with extensive history file dating back to 1953
*Rarer than a Gullwing and more expensive when new



THE MERCEDES-BENZ 300 SERIES

More expensive than the 300SL sports car and almost double the price of the contemporary top-of-the-range Cadillac, the Mercedes-Benz 300S was one of the world's most exclusive automobiles. It is also historically significant as one of Mercedes-Benz's first all-new designs of the post-war era, debuting at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1951. The 300's arrival re-established Mercedes-Benz 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.

"To the characteristics of high performance, impressive appearance and fine detail finish which distinguished the big Mercedes models of pre-war days are added new virtues of silence, flexibility and lightness of control, while the latest rear suspension, a product of long experience on Grand Prix cars and touring cars, confers a degree of security at high speeds on rough and slippery surfaces which it would be very difficult indeed to equal," observed Autocar magazine.

Although Mercedes-Benz would adopt unitary chassis/body construction for its lower and mid-priced cars as the 1950s progressed, the retention of a traditional separate frame for the 300 enabled a wide variety of coachbuilt body types to be offered. 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-liter, 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 Mercedes-Benz 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. The 300 was the car of choice among West German government officials, and throughout Europe and the USA was widely favored by businessmen, financiers and politicians. Indeed, 'Adenauer' became the 300's unofficial model name, after German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, its most famous customer.

The conservatively styled 300 Saloon was soon joined by the 300S (Super), a model that succeeded in recapturing all the elegance of the pre-war 540K. Introduced at the Paris Salon in October 1951, the 300S was built in two-seater coupé, cabriolet and roadster forms on a shortened 300 saloon chassis.

Not only was the two-seater 300S considerably lighter than the saloon, it was also more powerful, boasting an engine equipped with triple (as opposed to twin) Solex carburetors and a raised compression ratio. Maximum power output was increased to 150bhp and top speed to 110mph (176km/h). Unlike some of its spartanly furnished contemporaries, the 300S boasted a lavishly equipped interior featuring supple leather upholstery; beautiful burr walnut trim, chromium-plated dashboard instrumentation and precision-made switchgear.

Elegantly styled in the pre-war manner yet technologically bang up to date, the 300S was built to the Stuttgart firm's uncompromising quality standards. Inevitably, production was limited, only 760 examples of the 300S/Sc (560/200) leaving the factory between 1951 and 1958. Ownership of such an exclusive automobile was necessarily restricted to a wealthy few, among them film stars Cary Grant and Gary Cooper, and the Aga Khan.


THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

Few cars from the 1950s can claim to have had just one single owner since new, even fewer as collectible and luxurious as this superb Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe. Completed by hand at the Stuttgart-based Mercedes-Benz plant in 1952, this W188 series Coupe was purchased new by William M. Keck on June 24, 1953 at International Motors, Inc. at their showroom on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

The new 300S Coupe cost $12,750, but Mr. Keck traded in a Jaguar Coupe, so received a $4,000 credit. Impressively, the original bill of sale from this transaction can be found in this car's extensive history file. It appears that the Mercedes' engine may have been replaced early on in the car's life with a factory unit. In October 1954, Los Angeles based Challenge Manufacturing sold Mr. Keck a Mercedes engine, with number 00071.52, apparently as a spare engine for the 300S Coupe, as this power unit is not installed in the car today. A receipt for this transaction is preserved in the history file. Oddly enough, the Mercedes factory build sheet appears to indicate 00071.52 as the 300S's originally installed power unit. Perhaps this is simply a typographical error on Challenge Manufacturing's invoice; regardless, it appears that the engine installed is not the original unit, but that this change was made within the first few years of the car's life.

The Mercedes-Benz has remained in Mr. Keck's ownership for all these years, and an abundance of State of California registration cards, dating back to 1953, can be found in the history file. By the early 1980s the Mercedes-Benz was starting to show its age. In 1984, Mr. Keck entrusted Charles Brahms of Mercedes Obsolete in Irvine, California to treat the car to a comprehensive restoration. The work totaled $120,000, quite a figure for a restoration in the 1980s. Mr. Keck is believed to have shown the 300S Coupe at various Los Angeles-area Concours events during the 1990s, though mostly he kept the car in secure storage. Since 2007, Mercedes-Benz Classic Center of Irvine has kept the car up to date, performing various repairs, maintenance and service jobs. Receipts from their work totals tens of thousands of dollars, and are included in the file.

Today, this exclusive and rare Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe presents extremely well inside and out. Correct finishes and materials are evident throughout the car upon close inspection. Elegantly finished in dark blue, the chrome trim provides an attractive contrast. A set of luggage can be found in the trunk, as can a spare wheel and jack. Inside, one is greeted by a neatly trimmed beige leather interior, and much wood and chrome trim – the epitome of early 1950s luxury. The Mercedes-Benz is offered with a copy of the factory build record (although very hard to read), an extensive history file and copies of an instruction, parts and workshop manual. A delightful automobile throughout, Bonhams is extremely proud to have been selected to offer this significant, top-of-the-line Mercedes-Benz on behalf of the Keck estate – it is truly a wonderful find, having been in this ownership since the day it was first sold on Sunset Boulevard. It is the type of find that only comes around, well, once in a lifetime...

Footnotes

  • Please note that this vehicle is titled as a 1953 and with chassis number 0007152.
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