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1914 Mercedes 22/50PS Town Car

1914 Mercedes 22/50PS Town Car

1914 Mercedes 22/50PS Town Car - Over 10,000 classic, collector and current cars and trucks at RemarkableCars.com

1914 Mercedes 22/50PS Town Car

1914 Mercedes 22/50PS Town Car
AUCTION RESULTS: Car was Not Sold at a high bid of $221,000

50hp, 5,720 cc T-head four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, two-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 135" . Brewster custom coachwork.

German-built, bodied in America by Brewster and named for the daughter of an Austrian-born French auto dealer, this Mercedes is as cosmopolitan as they come, even before its recent world travels.

It has been suggested that the customer for this car was John Jacob Astor IV, an interesting conjecture but one that seems improbable given his demise on the Titanic in 1912. While the car is missing its chassis plate, essential for complete dating, the engine number traces to early 1914. It is known, however, that Alec Ulmann, a Russian-born, MIT-educated aeronautical engineer, bought it in 1937. Ulmann, known for organizing the 12 Hours of Sebring races, was an active car collector and early member of the Veteran Motor Car Club of America. This Mercedes was a regular fixture on VMCCA tours.

The next owner was Charlie Stitch, a skilled mechanic who ran a garage on the fifth floor of a building on Manhattan's 64th Street. Stitch was, in the words of one of his friends, "revered as a Mercedes authority by enthusiasts of the marque," and regularly held court at his place of business. Having worked for Daimler-Benz in Germany, he had a deep knowledge and had accumulated a vast stock of parts. His clients included many prominent collectors, like Briggs Cunningham for whom Stitch once produced a new old stock engine for a 28/95 Mercedes roadster.

The car's precise history after Stitch is not known, but in 1991 it was purchased by a noted Japanese collector. It returned to the United States six years later, and then went abroad again, to Automuseum Deventer in the Netherlands. It participated in the 2000 Concours d'Elegance Paleis Het Loo at Apeldoorn before being purchased by Massachusetts collector Howard Fafard, who owned it until very recently.

It is remarkable in its preservation. The upholstery is original, as are the leather fenders, a Brewster hallmark. The body and paint show stress cracks, demonstrating restoration work done long ago, and everything on the car shows its age. The period Westinghouse air shock absorbers are an Americanism substantiating its frequent road use in the distant past. Ulmann's contemporaries remember the car in this color and general condition, so it likely has remained untouched for more than 50 years. It has recently been reawakened, and runs and drives well. It is very presentable and could easily be enjoyed as is. Please note, however, that it is currently titled incorrectly as a 1910 model, although it is believed to be from 1914.

Increasingly, collectors are recognizing some cars as "too good to restore," particularly when accompanied by an impeccable provenance. A new owner of this car will have a choice: the legend of Astor, the heritage of Ulmann and Stitch, or restoration of the car to a new personal standard.

RM Auctions
Automobiles of Amelia Island
March 14, 2009
Website: www.rmauctions.com
Not Sold at a high bid of $221,000
Lot #271

1914 Mercedes 22/50PS Town Car Additional Pictures

1914 Mercedes 22/50PS Town Car

1914 Mercedes 22/50PS Town Car

1914 Mercedes 22/50PS Town Car

1914 Mercedes 22/50PS Town Car

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1914 Mercedes 22/50PS Town Car - Over 10,000 classic, collector and current cars and trucks at RemarkableCars.com