<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115

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Lot 182
Motorcars from the Collection of Gerhard Schnuerer
1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B

Sold for US$ 168,000 inc. premium
Motorcars from the Collection of Gerhard Schnuerer
1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B
Chassis no. 139756
Engine no. 171115

2,229cc Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
55bhp
Single Solex Carburetor
4-Speed Manual Transmission w/Overdrive
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Hydraulic-Assisted Drum Brakes

*An advanced Mercedes-Benz model of elegant design
*Well-maintained restoration by the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center USA
*Very seldom seen in the United States
*Wonderful presentation throughout


THE 230 N

Daimler-Benz has a long and rich tradition of offering a wide spectrum of models, suiting almost every corner of the market, and all of them built to the same exacting standards. With the popularity of the big eight-cylinder supercharged models of the Classic Era, it is easy to overlook the fact that they were not the company's only offering in this time period. Indeed, in the late 1930s the buyer of a Mercedes-Benz could choose any number of smaller models, including the mid-range 230, which offered much the same styling cues as its larger brethren but in a more affordable package – something that appealed to buyers then as now.

The heritage of the Mercedes-Benz 230 is complex, as several models produced by the company have worn that name over the years. The model in question here was known as the 230 N and internally as the W143, and was originally introduced in the fall of 1936 as the successor to the earlier small six-cylinder model, the 200. Naturally the new car featured a larger 2.3-liter engine equipped with a Solex downdraft carburetor, providing somewhat better performance, mounted on a chassis with double transverse leaf springs in the front and swing axles with double coil springs in the rear. It steadily evolved in its first year, adopting redesigned headlamps and radiator shell, a wider track, and a larger fuel tank, then, in September 1937, gained the important bonus of a fully synchromesh four-speed transmission, with direct-drive fourth gear, improving acceleration. Maximum speed was 75 mph, quite sufficient for cruising Alpine roads.

Typical of Mercedes-Benz models in this era, the W143 230 N was offered with a dizzying array of body styles, some of which were produced by the same famed Sindelfingen Werke that clothed the 500 K and 540 K. These included a roster of four different cabriolet bodies, including the Cabriolet B with a four-passenger interior and rear quarter windows. The bodies were handsomely designed and solidly constructed, with the excellence in craftsmanship and materials that one expected from the Stuttgart automaker. Naturally these cabriolet bodies are today among the most desirable 230 Ns, accounting for only a handful of the surviving examples on both sides of the Atlantic.

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

According to a later Fahrzeugbrief, the Cabriolet B offered here was first delivered on July 1, 1936, in its home country of Germany. On March 16, 1979, it was acquired by Walter Kurt Gross of Halen, Lotte, who seems to have registered it continuously in the late 1980s and through the 1990s, as documented in the history file. Mr. Gross appears to have undertaken occasional road journeys in the 230 N over the years, and was quite an enthusiastic and long-term owner of the Cabriolet B.

In 2003 the car was sold to Gerhard Schnuerer and moved to the United States, joining his expanding stable of unusual Mercedes-Benz models from throughout the marque's history. Photographs of the car as it arrived show it to be in solid, intact and presentable condition, with only minor rust from years on the road; the sole noted modification had been to the taillights, something typical in postwar Europe to meet new safety codes. Typical of Mr. Schnuerer, his detailed record-keeping extended to maintaining all records of the car's movement between Germany and the United States, including extensive correspondence with the shippers and all related documentation, which remains today in the file.

Following acquisition, Mr. Schnuerer set to mechanically improve his new automobile, fitting a new head gasket and valve cover, and installing new brake lines. The water pump was rebuilt by specialists at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Fellbach, a connection made through Mr. Schnuerer's longtime connection with the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center USA in Irvine, California. Over the years Mr. Schnuerer maintained an excellent relationship with the restorers in Irvine, collaborating on several projects that added much to the enjoyment of his collection.

Eventually it was decided to submit the 230 N to the Classic Center USA, for what became a ground-up and concours-quality restoration. It was a true body-off restoration, with the frame carefully stripped, cleaned, repaired as necessary, and professionally refinished in the effort to make the car as-new. The suspension and brake systems were both fully rebuilt. The engine and transmission were rebuilt to original specifications, and a new exhaust system produced and mounted. Numerous small modifications that had been made over the years during the car's working life in Germany were carefully reversed, such as reshaping the correct bumper brackets and reinstalling proper taillights. The original body wood was preserved where possible, and replaced wherever it was required. Similarly, the few corroded sections of the body sheet metal were cut out and patched with metal, thus allowing the remainder of the bodywork to remain original. The same careful attention to detail was even given the engine cover!

Attention was paid to restoring the original dashboard wood and instruments, with a new dashboard face made, and all chrome trim was professionally plated back to its original luster. The interior was beautifully finished, with rich leather upholstery, overseen by a correct German cloth top. The car was fully rewired, with a new harness, and in the process converted to a modern 12-volt electrical system; the original headlamps were seamlessly modified to suit, with the goal being that the car would be able to be driven comfortably at night. Mercedes-Benz archival images were used wherever possible to guide the correctness of the work. Indeed, there are pages devoted only to the correct hardware components, inside and out, as they were acquired from the Classic Center USA's stock and installed. Invoices and correspondence for the restoration work are included in the file, as are several discs of images showing the progress of the restoration.

The restored 230 N was occasionally shown by the Schnuerers over the years, receiving a class award at the Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance in 2010, and appearing at the Beverly Hills Concours d'Elegance in 2012.

Suffice to say that the 230 N is rare on American shores in its own right, the Cabriolet B certainly even more so – but this is surely one of the very few examples to have received a professional, high-quality restoration, elevating it to the same standards as the other superb automobiles of Gerhard Schnuerer's collection. It may well be one of the best in the world and would certainly be welcomed at any number of concours events, as a Mercedes-Benz model that deserves to be better remembered and embraced.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note, the title for this vehicle will be in transit.
Contacts
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
<b>1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet B</b><br />Chassis no. 139756<br />Engine no. 171115
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, number VI/1087220/1