Lot 606: Mercedes-Benz 170/6 Cabriolet
Over the years, it seems that virtually every pre-war Mercedes-Benz is purported to have a connection to the Nazi party or the German government of Adolf Hitler. Most often, these claims are attributed to the big and powerful 540K and 770 automobiles. Most often, these claims are false.
It's refreshing to hear tales of such a connection that can truly be substantiated, only in this case the car is a much more modest Mercedes-Benz Cabriolet C. Far from being a big and opulent car, Mercedes-Benz writer and historian Frank Barrett has referred to the 170 and 170V Mercedes as "Mercedes for the Masses."
Produced from 1931 through 1936, the Type 170 W15 was available in a variety of body styles, including two- and four-door sedans, an attractive roadster and Cabriolets in both A, B and C Forms. The Cabriolet C on offer features a body by the Mercedes-Benz in-house Sindelfingen coachworks. Finished in two-tone green, according to the original factory delivery records, this Cabriolet C was ordered by the "Deutsches Konsulat" to be used by Dr. Hans Koster - the German Consul in Danzig, Poland (now known as Gdansk). Delivered on April 12, 1934, the car was shipped by rail to Marienfelde, where Koster apparently took possession of the car. Koster was transferred to Dublin, Ireland in February 1936, and served as the first secretary in the embassy, until he was posted to Cape Town on September 23, 1937, where he became Consul for the Third Reich until war erupted. Although Koster may have been recalled, his Mercedes 170 remained in South Africa, sold to Baron von Zitsewitz in Somerset West. When the Baron parted with the car, he sold it to Ernie Magson, who intended to build a hotrod out of the Mercedes. But before the Mercedes was so transfigured, Johan Ryke from Grabouw bought it. In about 1957, Ryke had the engine overhauled and the gearbox repaired by the Schmidt Brothers in Cape Town.
In 1980, collector and restorer, Apie Venter traded a restored Ford to acquire this Mercedes from then owner Peter Robertson. When Mr. Venter acquired the 170 it was in poor condition, but complete and without rust. Beginning in 1995, the car was completely dismantled and all parts were cleaned or blasted. He rebuilt the engine, while the vendor's wife crafted a new interior for the car. Once complete, several Mercedes-Benz dealers have displayed the lovely Cabriolet, as have Mercedes-Benz South Africa. Even without its carefully documented provenance, this Mercedes-Benz 170 is a wonderful and rear car. Add in a fascinating history and it is truly one of a kind.
Collectors' Motor Cars|
Bonhams & Butterfields, Larz Anderson Auto Museum, Brookline
|Hammer Price (inc premium)||$11270|
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