1957 Mercedes Benz 300 SC Cabriolet
The history of Mercedes-Benz often catered to luxury car buyers, offering upscale models that were exclusive and expensive.
Following World War II, they quickly regained their position within the lucrative and profitable luxury segment, and by 1952, a new three-liter overhead-cam six-cylinder engine was powering their newly designed four-door luxury sedans and convertibles, in addition to smaller numbers of the 300 on all oval-tube chassis. The 300 models were larger, more luxurious, more complex, and heavier than the utilitarian 170s and 220s. They ranked among the world’s most elegant automobiles of the 1950s.
Introduced in April of 1951 at the first-ever Frankfurt Motor Show and later that year in October at the Paris Motor Show, the Mercedes-Benz 300 were traditional in design, with elegant styling in the prewar tradition, yet refreshingly modern. Built from 1951 to 1958, they achieved uncompromising quality standards and employed the latest materials and technologies to achieve excellent power and to minimize weight. Using the best craftsmen and artisans from within the Mercedes-Benz organization, each Mercedes-Benz 300 was essentially custom-built. Along with luxury and style, they were endowed with performance, capable of cruising on the autobahn at three-digit speeds, even with a full load of occupants and their luggage in grand touring style. Luxuriously finished and trimmed in the highest quality materials, the Mercedes-Benz 300 was safe, comfortable, elegant, and fast.
The 300 was initially offered in cabriolet and saloon body styles on the W186 chassis. Later, the W188 chassis was used for the roadster, coupe, and cabriolet versions. The 300 Saloon wearing conservative styling was joined by the 300S (Super), built in similar elegance of the pre-war 540K. Introduced at the Paris Salon in October 1951, the 300S was built in two-seater Coupe, Cabriolet and Roadster forms on a shortened 300 saloon chassis. The two-seater was considerably lighter than the saloon, and it was more powerful, boasting an engine equipped with triple (as opposed to twin) Solex carburetors and a raised compression ratio. Rated at 150 horsepower, the coupe was capable of top speeds in the neighborhood of 110 mph. Along with performance, it was lavishly equipped with supple leather upholstery, burr walnut trim, precision-made switchgear, and chromium-plated dashboard instrumentation.
In September 1955, the fuel injection system of the 300 SL was introduced to its range-leading flagship model line, the 300 S, resulting in the 300 Sc. The dry-sump M188 II engine used a slightly milder camshaft than the sports car, equipped with the Bosch fuel injection system, produced 175 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque, a substantial increase over the S. Fuel was injected directly into the cylinders, but the fuel injection pump was driven by a chain instead of a gear train.
To cope with the performance, Mercedes-Benz added servo-assisted brakes, optional from 1954, and standardized thereafter. Similar to that of the 300SL Roadster, the 300Sc used a revised rear suspension with single-pivot swing axles, a setup that enhanced handling and road-holding characteristics. Zero-to-sixty mph was attainable in approximately 13 seconds and top speed was in the neighborhood of 112 mph. The 300Sc was more expensive than the 300SL sports car and nearly double the price of the contemporary top-of-the-range Cadillac.
Denoted by the words ‘Einspritzmotor’ (fuel-injected engine) on the rear bumper, Mercedes-Benz introduced its 300 Sc at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1955. Distinguishable styling features included perforated chromed disc wheels, chromed cooling vents about each fender, and enlarged turn signals.
Manufactured for less than three years, just 200 examples were built. 145 units were sold during the remainder of 1955 and through 1956. 52 examples were sold in 1957 and three more in 1958 after production ended. In total, only 49 cabriolets, 53 roadsters, and 98 coupes were sold, making these among the rarest dealer-ordered automobiles ever produced by Mercedes-Benz.
The 300, 300b, 300c, and 300d touring cars were often referred to as Adenauers after Konrad Adenauer, the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. In office from 1949 to 1963, he employed six custom convertible, hardtop, and landaulet versions of this model during his tenure.It was the most expensive luxury car of its day, twice as much as the 300SL and American luxury cars of the day. Equally important, it was the model that returned Mercedes-Benz to its prewar international clientele. Hence this was a car of the rich and famous including the Aga Kahn, the Shah of Iran, King Gustav of Sewden, Frank Lloyd Wright, Gary Cooper, Yul Brenner, Maria Callas, Clark Gable & Bing Crosby.