Benz from the 19th Century stars in Bonhams Amelia Island auction

Historic German vehicles from famed collection include several early cars

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The 1911 Benz 50hp Victoria is believed to be the only example that still exists | Bonhams photos

Historic Benz motorcars dating back to the 19th Century will be presented during Bonhams’ collector car sale on Amelia Island, Florida, on March 5.   These are among 20 vintage German vehicles from the estate of California collector Gerhard Schnuerer that will be offered at the auction. 

The earliest automobile in the sale is a true horseless carriage, an 1897 Benz 10hp Mylord Coupe, of which only two are known to exist. It is one of the world’s oldest motorcars. 

The 1897 Benz 10hp Mylord Coupe is one of the world’s oldest intact automobiles

Among the earliest examples of a twin-cylinder engine and kingpin steering, the Mylord Coupe is a running vehicle that has completed the London to Brighton Run while carrying Jutta Benz, great-granddaughter of Carl Benz, as a passenger.

The 1911 Benz 50hp Victoria is believed to be the sole surviving example of the open touring Benz.  Wearing its original Demarest coachwork, it is a Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance award winner. 

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1911 Benz 50hp Victoria with its top deployed

The Victoria was ordered new by Charles Hayes, the Grand Trunk Railroad magnate, for a cost 20 times that of a Ford Model T.  Hayes never took delivery of the car, however – he went down in the sinking of the Titanic.

Moving ahead 47 years, a 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster expertly restored by Mercedes-Benz Classic Center also will be auctioned by Bonhams from the Schnuerer collection. 

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The 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster was restored by the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center

The numbers-matching 300 SL has two special claims to fame: it was driven by Stirling Moss as lead driver of the 2015 Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance, and was featured in the Mercedes-Benz commercial “Timeless” with Roger Federer.

Another significant antique among the Schnuerer cars is a 1918 Opel 14/38 that is believed to be the sole surviving example.  The collection also has several German military vehicles from WWII, including an amphibious 1944 Volkswagen Schwimmwagen, a 1944 Volkswagen Kubelwagen, and the half-track motorcycle 1945 NSU Kettenkrad. 

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1918 Opel 14/38 is the only example remaining

The Schnuerer collection actually spans three centuries, with the newest car being a 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren coupe.

For more information about Bonhams’ Amelia Island sale, held during the week leading up to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, visit the auction website.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Loved the thumbnail descriptions and photos of these amazing vehicles.

    Why didn’t you also tell us a little about Gerhard Schnuerer?! Certainly he must have been an interesting individual with an eye for acquiring significant automobiles….

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