Soldier Owned: 1953 Mercedes 300 Adenauer

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After being purchased new in Germany and shipped home to Colorado after his deployment, this solider-owned 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 here on craigslist began a long period of dormancy, entering the barn in 1964 and not unearthed until recently. It remains in incredibly solid condition with little rust, original paint and a lightly restored interior. The seller is asking $39,000 for this running and driving Adenauer. 

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The graceful Type 300 was the S-Class of its day, packed with innovative features ranging from 4-wheel independent suspension to a fully-synchromesh transmission in all gears. The seller has already carefully updated the interior, reupholstering the seats and refinishing the wood trim inlays in the dash and on the doors. The insides remain quite handsome, complete with the original Becker radio still in place and very solid floors. Even the original horsehair padding is still stuffed inside the seats, which is impressive considering how often these collapse over time.

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The M186 straight-six benefits from a rebuilt carb and fresh fuel lines and heater/cooling hoses. New brake lines have been installed, but the brake master cylinder and wheel slave cylinders have been sent out for rebuilding. It’s hard to tell why the seller is stopping the project now, as it seems like good work is being done and some of the hard jobs are out of the way. However, these are not simple vehicles to restore, so perhaps he simply has had enough. The undercarriage hasn’t been touched, so plan on tackling bushings and the load-leveling suspension.

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The seller says rust is minimal and contained to the rear wheel wells and lower passenger door in front of the wheels. The chrome is presentable and the car wears original paint, but it should be refinished by its next long-term owner. A project like this is an impressive undertaking, especially if you plan to do the work yourself – but when it’s done, this 300 will be nothing short of spectacular. Do you think the asking price is in line or is their too much work yet to tackle?

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Comments

  1. Jose

    One too many zeros for me.

  2. Jon H

    He’s dreaming

  3. Tracy

    What is a solider? Oops, even spell check missed that one.

    • Racer417

      It’s “solider” than a more rusty one… :-)

  4. Chris Buchaniec

    Some Cragar mags, wide oval tires and I would drive it like I stole it!!

  5. socaljoe

    That’s a great 300 sedan though.

  6. Dave Wright

    These cars are bringing 100K today when nice, in a couple of years when this one is finished they will be at 150K and all you guys will be saying how you should have bought one at 39K. These are rare special cars……not some common junk Mustang that was built on an assembly line by the tens of thousands, these are hand built works of art, both high quality and rare. I find most people that whine about prices couldn’t afford them anyway and the “over priced” mantra is a convent excuse. 30 years ago I was fascinated when the best Dusenburgs went over 1,000,000$ then I saw the same cars resold a short few years later for 2.5 million. Everything is a gamble but the cream always rises to the top, and this car is pure cream.

    Like 1
    • PaulG

      Dave, I couldn’t agree more. This is one of those cars that will be worth the effort…and $$$

      Like 1
  7. KeI got to drive one back in the daynt Pearson

    Gorgeous but you don’t even get a/c.

  8. doug6423

    Should have left the interior and wood alone. Flipper trying to get more than it’s worth. Sad…

  9. Joe Nose

    Another amazing find. Not necessarily because of the CAR but rather the seller. Who would put the time into an interior rehab and then post the car with years of barn crap all over it? Why not a ‘before and after’?

    • DAN

      look at other pics
      it has been cleaned up and in a garage on rollers under tires.
      guess he bought it from barn, cleaned it up and then did interiour

  10. Tony S

    Bizarre

  11. That Guy

    In the “I think you’ll find….” department – the way I read the ad, “One US Owner” suggests there were previous non-US owners. I can’t imagine a soldier having been able to buy this car new unless he was a very rich kid. Even with the strength of the dollar vs the European currencies at that time, this would have been a hugely expensive car. Most likely our military man picked it up when it was just a used car, albeit a really impressive one.

    $39K for this car, in this condition, doesn’t seem out of line. Sure, they were cheaper back in the day. So was everything else. Today, this is potentially a six-figure car, so there’s a lot of room here for a serious restorer.

    But I agree the interior work only cleans things up cosmetically for a quick sale. It will all need to be ripped out and redone properly.

  12. Van

    James Bond villain
    Paint it black, tag says SPECTER

  13. jtnc

    If the “solider” bought it new he must have been an independently wealthy solider as this would have been one of the most expensive cars in the world in 1953, up there with Rolls/Bentley.

    Like 1
  14. Bill McCoskey

    Just as Elvis Presley was a soldier in Germany who ended up with a new BMW 507, the definition of “soldier” includes senior officers, who would have been able to buy such a car with hard US Dollars. There were plenty of young men from prominent families who went into the military & had the capability of purchasing a car of this stature. The year this car was born was also a time the US was mired in a “Police Action” in Korea, and the draft was very much in place.

    Even the smallest parts for the 300 series cars, especially the early ones, are very expensive. The satin finish visible on the interior wood trim suggests it was not done to factory original finish, and will need to be redone again. This is absolute top Dollar for a car that is not ready to drive down the street. If it was a running/driving car, the NADA price guide lists this car as in average condition, and valued at well under $30k.

    When I was there 20 years later, I was offered numerous beautiful early ’60s 300 series sedans & 4-door hardtops for about 2,000 to 3,000DM, when the Mark was valued at about 35 cents. I used to see these big cars [along with the big V8 BMW sedans] in the back rows of local used car dealerships. In 1974 I bought a 1956 Chrysler Imperial that had been the Paris Auto Show car, sitting in a used car lot between a M-B 300 sedan and a BMW 3200 V8. All 3 cars were the same price; 300DM each [$100].

    I turned down a beautiful maroon 300 4-door cabriolet for 1,500DM [$525] because it needed a new soft top, and the local auto upholstering shop wanted 2,600DM to do the lined & insulated Haartz top.

  15. Steve W

    When did seat belts first appear in these cars?

  16. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    My wife calls these the Needful Things car, she loves the black one in the movie, one of the few cars I could ad to my collection, for her of course, but not this one at that price

  17. Curt

    Beautiful roofline.

  18. Thorsten Krüger

    Seat belts in Germany being a must by law, starts for new cars in 1970. It is today still not necessary to assemble seat belts in cars older than 1970 over here in Germany.

  19. Daniel G Rawinsky

    My 1957 190SL sold new in 1959 for $5,600.00. Bought by my father in 1963 for $2,300.00. I bought it from him in 1967 for $400.00. It was a rust bucket. I really can’t see why these old Mercedes bring in so much when sold today. I went to work for MBNA, Teaneck, NJ in 1970 partially because it paid well, but also as a source for parts for my 190SL. When I found what it was going to cost to rebuild the 190SL I sold it for $250.00. I remember when Jackie Gleason got locked into his Mercedes 600. The hydraulics quit and they had to fly in a Mercedes factory mechanic. I once drove a 600. The drivers seat had very limited movement due to the divider window. The ride was okay, nothing special. The 6.3 liter V8 was just able to move itself down the road. Now the 300SEL 6.3, that was the fastest 4 door sedan in production in 1969, and it was!

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