The 1935 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Cabriolet was displayed at the 1935 Paris Auto Show as a mere chassis, and despite its stripped down state, was purchased straight off the stand. This swift acquisition was down to some good-natured rivalry between friends, Dr. Charles Crocker, and Lawrence Copley Thaw, which resulted in Thaw purchasing a Rolls-Royce chassis, and Crocker the 500 K chassis.
It was an exclusive and powerful chassis aimed at an equally exclusive and powerful clientele. With this in mind, and in a bid to outdo his friend, Crocker took the bare 500 K chassis to have a hand-crafted body built by one of the greatest and most fashionable coachbuilders of the time, Jacques Saoutchik, who was based in Paris.
Saoutchik was a carpenter by trade, so the coachwork he created was noted for the superior quality of workmanship, and beauty of the interior marquetry. His customers were everything from glittering socialites, artists, and couturiers, to royalty and heads of state. The owner of a chassis equipped with a Saoutchik body signaled good taste and great wealth.
Philip Kantor, Bonhams European Head of Motoring, said: “It is reported that on taking delivery of the chassis, Saoutchik declared that he would build a body for the Mercedes that would be, ‘As handsomely received half a century from now as it will today.’ And he fulfilled his promise: what remains today is magnificent."
Referred to by its original owner as ‘the magnificent vehicle’, the 500 K is estimated at €6,000,000-7,000,000.
The roaring motoring machines of the 1930s were grand, exquisitely designed and well engineered. The Art Deco movement was still in full swing, an influence that can be seen on some of the highlights offered at Bonhams Mercedes-Benz Sale.
Bonhams Mercedes-Benz Sale will take place on Saturday 19 March in the Mercedes-Benz Museum, Stuttgart, Germany. The Mercedes-Benz Museum charts the entire history of the world’s oldest car manufacturer, with a total of 1,500 exhibits featured in the museum.
For further information visit: https://www.bonhams.com/departments/MOT-CAR/