<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793

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Lot 161
The ex-Pacific Auto Rentals, M.L. "Bud" Cohn and Craven Foundation
1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable
Coachwork by Jacques Saoutchik

US$ 1,100,000 - 1,250,000
£ 790,000 - 900,000
The ex-Pacific Auto Rentals, M.L. "Bud" Cohn and Craven Foundation
1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable
Coachwork by Jacques Saoutchik

Chassis no. 385133
Engine no. 60793

6,240cc SOHC Supercharged Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
100bhp at 3,100 rpm – 140 bhp with Compressor Engaged
4-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Leaf Spring Suspension
4-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes

*Exquisite coachwork on the legendary supercharged Mercedes-Benz chassis
*A signature design of the revered Jacques Saoutchik
*Designed with Saoutchik's patented disappearing top and stowable rear windshield
*Well-known ownership history with great collectors
*Attractive, extravagantly detailed older restoration in elegant colors


THE SUPERCHARGED MERCEDES BY SAOUTCHIK

The ideal Classic Era automobile could be said to be a combination of the highest-performance chassis with the most elite, finely detailed coachwork. In many ways that ideal can be found in a supercharged Mercedes-Benz with coachwork by Jacques Saoutchik.

Saoutchik had trained as a carpenter, and the bodies he produced before and after World War II were noted for their extraordinary level of finish and fine detailing, extending both to exterior hardware and to interior finishes. He was the master of complex mechanisms and patented designs for a large convertible top that would nonetheless disappear completely within a car's bodywork in addition to a "stowable windshield developed for the rear seats of automobiles."

These features were incorporated into the 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable, a style introduced by Saoutchik during 1928 and named for the northwest Atlantic seaside town where important concours were held. The 'La Baule' featured a three-position top that could be set fully open, fully closed, or with only the driver's compartment for formal use. Nonetheless, because of Saoutchik's patented disappearing top design, the lines were most striking with the top lowered and the stowable windshield erect, which is how Saoutchik catalogues most frequently depicted the design.

While examples of the 'La Baule' were fitted to a variety of chassis, its visual power was best matched by the Mercedes-Benz 630 K. Developed by Ferdinand Porsche, this model featured a mighty single-overhead-camshaft six-cylinder engine displacing a full 6.3 liters and produced 138 bhp with the Roots supercharger engaged and emitting its trademark wail. In this period, the 630 K was the fastest production touring car in the world with a factory claim stating a top speed above 90 mph. Only 267 chassis were produced between 1926 and 1932, and only a handful were mounted with the 'La Baule' coachwork. The result was a masterful combination of the finest in engineering and craftsmanship – two artistic mediums joined in happy union.

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

The 630 K offered here boasts kommission no. 40926, chassis no. 35813, and engine no. 60793, and was delivered on August 23, 1928, to Carrosserie Saoutchik to receive its 'La Baule' coachwork. It is likely to have been originally supplied to a buyer in the United States, as its known history picks up in the midst of World War II when it made an appearance as part of the famed Pacific Auto Rentals fleet in the 1943 film, Above Suspicion.

For some four decades, Pacific Auto Rentals was the foremost supplier of unusual automobiles to the Hollywood film studios, maintaining an enviable fleet of classics. Remarkably, they at one point owned two 630 Ks in this style. A photograph of chassis no. 35813 from Pacific Auto Rentals's book of "headshots" used to offer cars to prospective clients is included in the file and clearly shows original features such as the delicate, bright trim on the front fenders. Exquisite touches like these obviously drew attention from the studios.

From the Pacific Auto Rentals fleet, the 630 K was acquired by M.L. "Bud" Cohn. A flamboyant Southern California businessman, Mr. Cohn was one of the U.S.'s foremost early collectors of vintage Mercedes-Benz automobiles, establishing a well-chosen stable that also included an example of the 710 SS, a 500 K Spezialroadster, and a 540 K Cabriolet B. He exhibited widely in early concours d'elegance on the West Coast but most prominently at L'Cercle, of which he was a founder. Photos of the car in the Cohn collection are included within the history file.

The 'La Baule' was featured in an extensive article Mr. Cohn penned on his collection, "I Learned About Mercedes...," published in the July-August 1964 issue of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America Star. "It is equipped," its owner wrote, "with one of the finest bodies, I believe, ever put on an automobile, namely, a Saoutchik...I bought this car, which had been mechanically overhauled, standing in a small machine shop in Los Angeles. I completely overhauled it from the frame up. Suitable body work was done and the car today is one of the finest show cars in the country, both mechanically and luxuriously." Mr. Cohn was not shy regarding his automobiles, but likely few who beheld the 630 K would challenge him. Cohn notably stated that the original owner was the "French Ambassador", implying it would have been Paul Claudel, the poet, dramatist, and diplomat who was the Ambassador to the United States from 1926 to 1933.

Mr. Cohn eventually sold his beautiful 'La Baule' to the Craven Foundation of Ontario, which in the early 1970s had carefully assembled a truly enviable group of very finest Classic Era automobiles. These were exhibited in a public museum in Toronto that also included a prominent reference library and vast collection of radiator badges. In its day, the Craven Foundation was regarded by Canadian enthusiasts as their country's finest collection and even "the northern Harrah's." What it gave up to its Nevada brethren in size and scope, it made up for in quality, featuring a Simplex, Packard 734 Speedster Runabout, a Duesenberg Model J, and, of course, the 630 K which was one of the collection's most famous denizens and widely considered its centerpiece.

The Craven Foundation was eventually dispersed in the early 1980s as its corporate owners took a different path, and the Mercedes was sold to the Blackhawk Collection of Danville, California. Around this time, it was restored to its present appearance, in a striking, rich two-tone blue livery, contrasted to an interior finished in the decadent Saoutchik tradition with a combination of high-quality leather and mesmerizing multi-tone embroidered fabric. The surrounding woodwork was elaborately inlaid and finely detailed in the fashion one would expect of a cabinetmaker-turned-coachbuilder.

Following completion of this restoration, the car was displayed in the Blackhawk Museum for many years before joining the distinguished collection of the present owner in 2016. Overall, its restoration has been well-preserved and is still very attractive. Although, it should be noted that the car is not currently offered with its convertible top mechanism.

Bud Cohn, who knew this car perhaps better and longer than anyone, summed it up best: the 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable on the 630 K chassis is "a perfect and sporty touring car [with] a luxurious look second to none of any car." Second to none; Ferdinand Porsche and Jacques Saoutchik, the masters of their trades, would both have had it no other way.
Contacts
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
<b>1928 Mercedes-Benz 630 K 'La Baule' Torpedo Transformable  </b><br />Chassis no. 385133 <br />Engine no. 60793
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