<b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153
Lot 235
1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster
Coachwork by Sindelfingen
Chassis no. 408153
Engine no. 408153
US$ 750,000 - 850,000
£560,000 - 640,000

Amended
Lot Details
<b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153 <b>1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster  </b><br />Chassis no. 408153 <br />Engine no. 408153
1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Long Wheelbase Kombination Roadster
Coachwork by Sindelfingen

Chassis no. 408153
Engine no. 408153
3,405cc SOHC Straight 8-Cylinder Engine
Single Solex Downdraft Carburetor
77bhp at 4,000rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Independent Front and Trasverse Leaf Spring with Live Axle Rear Suspension
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes

*Sindelfingen open two-seat coachwork
*Perhaps unique chassis/coachwork combination
*Lavishly accessorized
*Highly original and well preserved
*CCCA Full Classic™


THE MERCEDES-BENZ 320

The integration of Daimler and Benz was never easy, despite the best efforts of the leadership of both companies to smooth relations among employees fiercely loyal to their parent companies and the diverse factories which built Daimler and Benz automobiles.

Gradually, in a careful process that started even before the 1926 merger of the two German titans relations cooled from hot to simmering in the interest of maintaining production and jobs in the depths of the worldwide Depression that made integration even more difficult. Production was rationalized to cars at Mannheim and Stuttgart, commercial vehicles at Gaggenau and Marienfelde. Strategic decisions, like the choice of the Benz diesel engine over a similar project at Mercedes, reinforced the determination to build a single, dominant German auto manufacturer in the face of moderately priced competition from Ford and GM's Opel subsidiary.

While the former Mercedes facility at Stuttgart concentrated on limited production, high performance cars like the S, SS, SSK and later supercharged 380K, 500K and legendary 540K, the Benz factory at Mannheim produced moderately priced L-head six-cylinder cars. Built in significant volumes (for the time) they were solidly constructed, decent performers that kept the Mercedes-Benz star and laurel (the three-pointed star from Mercedes and the laurel band from Benz) accessible to merchants, professionals and mid-level bureaucrats in the burgeoning government of Thirties Germany.

Gradually features like swing axle independent rear suspension became common to both Mannheim and Stuttgart Mercedes-Benzes as the formerly competing factories became integrated and began sharing designs and ideas. Just a few years after the merger Mercedes-Benz introduced the 290, no longer featuring in its designation the factory location. It had an L-head 2,867cc inline six-cylinder engine, hydraulic brakes and swing axle independent rear suspension and continued in production until 1937.

It was succeeded by the Mercedes-Benz Typ 320 (W142), an improved and more powerful model with longer 2,880mm wheelbase chassis and 77 horsepower 3,208cc L-head six with a fully synchronized four-speed transmission with overdrive fourth gear, hydraulic brakes and swing axle rear suspension. In 1938 the engine grew to 3,405cc and a long wheelbase chassis of 3,300mm was made available. Rated horsepower remained the same due to a reduction in compression ratio to accommodate lower octane fuel.

Mannheim offered several open and closed body styles for the Typ 320 but also rolling chassis for clients who wanted individualized coachwork. Performance was sedate, but entirely capable of taking advantage of the Autobahns being built across Germany. Production was never large, some 885 3,405cc Mercedes-Benz 320s being built in the years leading up to the wartime transition of Mercedes-Benz factories in 1942.

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

This is one of the most rare and unusual prewar Mercedes-Benz automobiles unearthed in recent years.

A 3,405cc 3,300mm wheelbase 1938 Mercedes-Benz 320, series W142/II, it has possibly unique "Kombination Roadster" coachwork by the Mercedes-Benz coachworks at Sindelfingen responsible for the monumental Special Roadsters on 500K and 540K chassis. Its 3,300mm wheelbase in slightly longer than the standard 540K's 3,290mm. Its coachwork combines roadster features with a cabriolet A style top that folds atop the rear bodywork.

The interior is appointed as a 500K or 540K would be with mother of pearl instrument panel, banjo spoke steering wheel and opening panels in the steeply raked vee windshield. Its features – Bosch headlights and fog lights, fitted luggage, recessed rear deck spare wheel and tire with a chrome cover, backup light, dashboard-mounted radio – mirror those in Mercedes-Benz's supercharged eights. It rides on steel wheels with hubcaps and blackwall tires.

The hood is shorter than an eight's, appropriate for the shorter six-cylinder engine under it, but the passenger compartment sits in a more balanced position midway on the chassis giving it more subtle proportions.

Its history is known only from 1948 when it was bought in Germany by an American serviceman and brought to Connecticut. Sold to another Connecticut resident in the early 50's, it was driven for a short time – there is a 1953 Connecticut safety inspection sticker on the windshield – and then tucked away until it was discovered in 2012 and acquired from the owner's estate.

Since then it has been sympathetically serviced in order to retain its marvelous originality. There is some lacquer repaint on the burgundy and red body, estimated to be 65% original paint. The chrome and trim items are original and have never been off the car. Mechanically gone through to return it to running, driving condition, it has as much as possible been left in as-found condition with the faults – aged paint, deteriorated chrome, cracked upholstery, fragile top – expected of its history. The body is impressively sound and by all appearances the engine has never been out of the chassis. The starter recently failed, but is being rewound and rebuilt and will be supplied to the new owner if not ready by the date of sale.

Sindelfingen-bodied Mannheim-built Mercedes-Benzes are not just rare, they are all but nonexistent. Finding one so complete, so thoroughly equipped, in open Kombination Roadster coachwork is cause for celebration among classic car collectors.

This is, of course, a Classic Car Club of America Full Classic™ and one of the most significant preservation class discoveries in recent years.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the engine on this car carries the same number as the chassis and is stamped and plated accordingly. However, there is a plate above the engine number advising that this is in fact a replacement unit. As the block is numbered 408153 and carries the original plate, this was likely done in period and under warranty. We are further advised by the collection curator that the engine runs smoothly.
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