HomeThe MarketRare Mercedes 300S convertible in ‘barn-find’ condition set for auction

Rare Mercedes 300S convertible in ‘barn-find’ condition set for auction

Bonhams also features ‘concours-standard restorations’ at Scottsdale collector car sale


A rare “barn-find” Mercedes-Benz, a 1953 300S convertible, will be offered by Bonhams during its Scottsdale Auction, set for January 27 at the Westin Kierland Resort. 

The “sleeping beauty,” as Bonhams refers to the curvaceous luxury car, is one of just 141 roadster versions of the German automaker’s flagship model.

auction, Rare Mercedes 300S convertible in ‘barn-find’ condition set for auction, ClassicCars.com Journal
The 300S is in fairly intact condition despite decades of neglect

“Testament to the quality of its hand-built production, this motorcar is largely original, from its engine to its coachwork and even retains its original burr walnut trim and factory-fitted Becker Nürburg radio,” Bonhams says in an auction news release. “This coveted motorcar has spent many decades of its later life off the road and is offered as an exciting restoration project with an estimate of $375,000 – $475,000.”

1961 Jaguar E-Type roadster

On the other end of the restoration scale is a 1961 Jaguar XK-E roadster, a first-year “outside bonnet latch” model that has been brought up to concours condition.  The left-hand-drive E-Type was originally delivered to the US, and is powered by its original 3.8-liter DOHC inline-6 engine.

The Jaguar’s 3.8-liter DOHC engine

“This early example is one of the most coveted – and rarely available – ‘flat floor’ Series 1 with distinctive external bonnet latches,” Bonhams said.  “In 2007, the car underwent a full bare-metal restoration, from headlights to tailpipes, by marque experts, during which a new tan leather interior was fitted, and the color changed from cream to classic British Racing Green.”

The Jaguar has an estimated pre-auction value of $380,000 to $480,000.

auction, Rare Mercedes 300S convertible in ‘barn-find’ condition set for auction, ClassicCars.com Journal
The 1958 AC Ace has an aluminum body

Another British sports car readied for the concours circuit is a 1958 AC Ace roadster, also a left hooker and the recipient of a number of trophies. 

“This left-hand-drive example was finished with special-order metallic bodywork over dark-blue leather trim,” according to the auction news release. “It was delivered through AC’s French distributor, Chardonnet, for its first owner, a USAF pilot, Captain Glickstein, who later brought the car back to the US. The Ace retains its original aluminum bodywork and matching numbers engine, both recently and impeccably restored.”

auction, Rare Mercedes 300S convertible in ‘barn-find’ condition set for auction, ClassicCars.com Journal
The interior of the AC sports car

While the AC Ace is most notable in the US as the basis for Shelby Cobras with Ford V8 engines inserted, this original version is powered by its factory 2.0-liter SOHC inline 6, an engine designed by AC co-founder and accomplished engineer John Weller, and which powered AC cars for 44 years through 1963. The estimated value for the Ace is $325,000 to $375,000.

Bonhams expects 90 collector cars to cross the auction block in Scottsdale, ranging in age from a 1902 Darracq single-cylinder tonneau once part of the famed Harrah Collection to a 2012 McLaren MP4-12C.

“This is a very special gathering of the most beautifully-presented collectors’ cars,” Jakob Greisen, Bonhams vice president – head of US Motoring, is quoted in the release. “It’s always satisfying to see rare and desirable collectors’ cars being brought back to life, and these cars truly represent the best of the best.

“We are also excited to present the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ 300S Roadster, which is offered to the open market for the first time ever and presents a once-in-a-lifetime project.”

For more information about Bonhams’ Scottsdale sale, visit the auction website.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
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.


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