Two 1950s Mercedes Barn-Finds - once among the most expensive cars on earth

18/10/2017     Cars

Two exceptionally rare right-hand drive Mercedes-Benz 300 cars unearthed after decades of dusty slumber in a recent barn-find in the north of England go under the hammer with H&H Classics at Duxford, Imperial War Museum on November 15th.  

1954 Mercedes 300 B Adenauer Cabriolet - which is thought to be one of just seven right hand drive versions built - is estimated to sell for £50,000 to £70,000. And its younger sibling, a 1956 300 C Adenauer Saloon is estimated at £8,000 to £12,000.

When the 300 B Adenauer Cabriolet was launched in 1951 it cost almost twice the price of the contemporary top-of-the-range Cadillac and was without doubt one of the world's most exclusive automobiles.

It was a very important design for Mercedes-Benz, one of the first all-new designs since the end of WW2. It first showed its face to the world at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1951 and the 300's arrival re-established Mercedes-Benz in the front rank of prestige car manufacturers. This car’s message was that Mercedes had returned to the marque's tradition of building quality high-performance luxury automobiles.

The model’s 3-litre overhead camshaft six-cylinder engine – which in fuel-injected form also powered the 300SL sportscar – initially developed 115bhp but was boosted for the succeeding 300b and 300c variants before gaining fuel injection itself for the restyled 300d of 1957. 

The 300 was custom built by Mercedes-Benz's most experienced craftsmen. It was luxuriously appointed and trimmed with materials of the highest quality. Fast and elegant, it was one of the very few contemporary vehicles capable of carrying six passengers in comfort at sustained high speeds.

It gained the name, 'Adenauer' after German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, its most high-profile customer.

This was an important car for Mercedes-Benz as it marked a new beginning. With this car Germany announced that it was back in all seriousness with the aim of capturing a world market for luxury limousines.

Also pulled out of the dust in this wonderful barn discovery of two Mercedes was a 1956 300 C 'Adenauer’ Saloon which is estimated to sell for £8,000 to £12,000.

It was supplied new via Glovers of Ripon Ltd to the Tulketh Spinning Co Ltd of Preston. It was later purchased by Group Captain G.H. King in 1967 and has been in the current ownership since the 1970s.

“To find one right-hand drive Adenauer would be considered a triumph but to find two parked up together shows that the owner knew and loved this marque with a passion. They would make a fabulous pair once restored with the Saloon still capable of keeping up with modern traffic and the Cabriolet doubtless garnering more than its fair share of concours invitations.” 

James McWilliam | H&H Classics, Senior Sales Specialist