19-20 January 2017

Offered from the Jules Barsotti Collection

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Lot 209

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Coupe

  • Chassis no. 188.011.5500037
  • Engine no. 188.920.5500038

Sold for $302,500

Please note that this lot is titled as 5500037.

150 hp (DIN), 2,996 cc SOHC inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, four-wheel coil-spring independent suspension with control arms in the front and swing axles in the rear, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 116 in.

  • Offered from the Jules Barsotti Collection
  • An exceptional “numbers-matching” 300 S coupe, ideal for restoration
  • Ownership by a famous name in Mercedes-Benz for nearly four decades
  • Extremely solid and complete throughout

One of the great grand touring cars of the post-war era, the remarkable Mercedes-Benz 300 S combined elements of the existing luxury 300 series with the upcoming 300 SL sports car. Its most notable enhancement was under the hood, where the engine’s horsepower was increased to 150, while the bodywork, all two-door styles, was hand-built to individual customer order, in the great tradition of Classic Era craftsmanship. Spectacularly appointed interiors featured acres of beautiful, thick walnut; cushy leather armchairs; and jewelry-like gauges, providing an incredibly comfortable space in which to reach the remarkable top speed of 110 mph.

With a price tag of $12,680, a new 300 S cost as much as 10 average automobiles. Perhaps unsurprisingly, only about 560 were built, for a roster of clients that included the Aga Khan, Gary Cooper, and Cary Grant. Just 216 of that number were coupes.

According to its Mercedes-Benz data card, the 300 S coupe offered here was originally delivered to a Fa. Santos of Lisbon, Portugal, finished in Dark Grey (DB 164) with a grey (955) leather interior and grey cloth headliner. Its subsequent ownership history has not been traced, but in 1979 it was purchased by longtime Northern California Mercedes-Benz dealer Jules Barsotti, through his European Motors, Ltd., of Oakland. Over the next seven years the car was conscientiously repaired and restored, in time to be exhibited in the European Motors showroom during the Mercedes-Benz centennial year of 1986.

While kept off the road in recent years, the 300 S, now showing 59,933 miles, remains very presentable. Furthermore, the car retains many of the rare and hard to find accessories and trim pieces, including the original headlamp rings, while the star mascot on the radiator, and the front turn signal lenses are OEM replacements. Its older Strawberry Metallic paint has a good shine, and the tan leather is still in excellent condition and would be suitable for driving and local shows. Given the attractiveness of its original color scheme, and the inherent desirability and beauty of the body style, it would also be an ideal basis for a complete restoration. Some mechanical work will likely be required, as the car has been in storage for several years.

The 300 S is among the most significant and sought-after of modern Mercedes-Benzes. Offered here is one of the most publically visible examples on the West Coast, familiar to anyone who visited European Motors and bought a new 450 SL or 500 SE from the late Jules Barsotti.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

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Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

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David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

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Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

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A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more