1936 Mercedes-Benz Wins Award

Receives the Elwood Hanson Award at Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

The Museum’s stunning 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500K Special Roadster won the Elwood Hanson Award for the most elegant open, pre-war automobile at the 60th Anniversary of the Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, July 17, 2016.

It glistened in the sunshine at the Crystal Springs Golf Course as Executive Director Jackie Frady received the trophy and Automotive Collections Manager Jay Hubbard presented the Mercedes on the red carpet. 

1936 Mercedes-Benz Type 500K Special Roadster

This beautiful 500K was purchased in 1936 at the London Automotive Exhibition by Princess Nina Mdivani, wife of Denis P.S. Conan Doyle (son of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes).  They drove it throughout Europe on their honeymoon, starting where they were married at St. Donat’s Castle in Wales that was owned by William Randolph Hearst. Only 29 Special Roadsters were built and five (or so) are known to exist.

Mercedes-Benz automobiles are considered by some to be the most remarkable classics ever built.  They are products of Daimler, the oldest automobile firm in the world.  In America, Mercedes-Benz automobiles of the 1920s and 1930s were extremely popular.  With the exception of Rolls-Royce, more were imported into the United States than any other foreign car. 

The first Mercedes classic was the K series, begun in 1924 and produced until 1927 when the Model S was introduced.  In 1932, the 500K series began production.  The 500 series cars derive their model designation from the engine displacement in deciliters (5,018 cubic centimeters = 5 liters, or 500 deciliters), and the “K” stands for Kompressor (supercharger). 

The 500K, despite its weight, was an exciting performer, giving excellent acceleration and top speed of well over 100 mph.  The 500K was shown at the leading European International Automobile Exhibitions in Brussels, Geneva and London.  The engineering and mechanical design of the 500K Special Roadster was typical of Mercedes-Benz thinking – solid, sturdy, dependable, and put together with superb craftsmanship from casting and machining to assembly.  The handsome and luxuriously appointed body of this 1936 Mercedes-Benz Special Roadster was done by Sindelfingen.  By any measure, this is one of the most beautiful models ever built.

Built By:                    Daimler-Benz Aktiengesellschaft

                                 Stuttgart-Unterturkheim, Germany

Body By:                  Sindelfingen

Price When New:     $10,780

Engine:                     Supercharged

                                  8-Cylinder, 100/160 hp

Bore:                         3 3/8"

Stroke:                      4 1/4"

Displacement:         304.2 Cu. In.