Classic Van Auction Talk

Friday 27 March 2015

1958 Mercedes-Benz 300d 'Adenauer' Limousine BONHAMS 28/03/15

 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300d 'Adenauer' Limousine
Chassis no. 189.010-A8500918 Engine no. 189.981-8500204
Formerly used by Todor Zhivkov, First Secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party
This imposing Mercedes-Benz 300d limousine was formerly used by Todor Zhivkov, General Secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party and later also Bulgaria's Prime Minister. Appointed in 1954, Zhivkov ruled Bulgaria until his resignation in 1989, his 35 years at the top making him the longest-serving leader of any Eastern Bloc nation and one of the longest-ruling non-royal leaders ever.

One of Mercedes-Benz's first all-new designs of the post-war era, the 300 saloon debuted in 1951 and would succeed in re-establishing the Stuttgart firm in the front rank of prestige motor manufacturers, marking as it did a return to the marque's tradition of building high-performance luxury automobiles of the finest quality.

The 300's cross-braced, oval-tube chassis featured independent suspension all round, four-wheel drum brakes, hypoid bevel final drive, dynamically balanced wheels and remote electrical control of the rear suspension ride height. Initially developing 115bhp, the 3.0-litre, overhead-camshaft, six-cylinder engine – also used in the 300 SL sports car - gained the latter's fuel injection in the restyled 300d of 1957. Other improvements included larger brakes (servo-assisted from 1954), optional power steering (on the 300d) and the adoption of three-speed automatic transmission as standard on the latter.

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

It was the car of choice among West German government officials, and throughout Europe and the USA was widely favoured by businessmen, financiers and politicians. Indeed, 'Adenauer' became the 300 saloon/limousine's unofficial model name, after German Chancellor Dr Konrad Adenauer, its most famous customer. One of the world's most exclusive cars, the 300 sedan cost $6,980 in the USA, making it more expensive than any contemporary Cadillac, including the limited-edition Fleetwood models. Between 1957 and 1962 when production ceased, Mercedes-Benz made 3,077 300d saloons, this car being one of 1,165 that left the factory in 1958.

Ordered specially for Todor Zhivkov and reputedly his favourite vehicle, this 300d went to Russia after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 and was securely stored by the KGB (Soviet secret service) in Moscow. Subsequently it was bought by a Russian collector and former KGB member. The car is finished in black with beige leather upholstery, while other noteworthy features include a Becker radio, mechanical clock, wood-veneer interior embellishment and spare wheel/luggage carrier. Partially restored in 2014 by marque specialist Günther Jelinek of Nürnberg, the Adenauer is described by the vendor as in generally excellent cosmetic and mechanical condition. Accompanying documentation consists of restoration invoices, Classic Data appraisal, technical inspection, Russian registration papers and is full EU duties paid. 

No comments:

Post a Comment