Lot 287 - 1935 Mercedes-Benz 290 ‘Lang’ Pullman Limousine
|Odometer reading||33,000 km|
|Estimate||£58,000 - £68,000|
Images courtesy of www.photograph-er.co.uk
The Mercedes-Benz W18 entered production in 1933 as a replacement for the type 350/370 Mannheim series. These cars, more commonly referred to as the Type 290, brought with them a number of advanced engineering features such as hydraulic brakes, a transverse leaf-spring/coil spring front suspension, a coil-sprung floating rear axle and a 60 horsepower side-valve, six-cylinder engine. Body styles included a four-door touring car, a four-door saloon and four types of two-door convertibles or cabriolets (A, B, C and D) with seating for three or four. In 1934, a long-wheelbase version of the 290 was introduced, with factory-bodied offerings that included a six-seat touring car, a four-door saloon, four cabriolets (A, B, D and the F Pullman), a Pullman limousine, a streamlined saloon, a roadster or, if preferred, the customer could order a bare chassis.
This stunning Mercedes-Benz W18 290 Pullman limousine, which has been completely restored over the past six years, has a complete history thanks to the current owner who has researched it both here in the UK and in Germany with the aid of members of the 290-320 Mercedes-Benz Veteranen Club in Germany. This car was ordered and purchased new from Mercedes-Benz, Germany by Herr Otto Tribian, the owner of an up and coming company specialising in the supply of Schmirgelwerk or cleaning paste, residing in Hann Münden, Lower Saxony. It remained in his ownership until the outbreak of the Second World War when the German authorities instructed everyone in possession of transport to display it in the Street for selection and use for the war effort. The 290 Lang was taken and assigned to a nearby munitions factory, stripped of its paintwork, repainted in camouflage colours and used by the management and visiting German Officers. After the war, Herr Tribian returned to his company and continued operating without the car. The Mercedes-Benz was by then in the hands of a group of Polish forced labourers from the munitions factory who had nothing to do as the management and German officers had disappeared in the night never to be seen again. One of Herr Tribian's company employees spotted the car stationary at the side of the road and approached it to find our Polish friends sitting in it with smiles on their faces; it soon become apparent that they were drunk. Conversation was engaged and a deal was struck - one Mercedes-Benz 290 Lang for a wrist watch; we can only imagine there was a somewhat hasty retreat with the car back to a very grateful Herr Tribian who replaced the watch. In the history file there is the Kraftfahrzeugbrief or replacement road taxation document giving the registration number BN 95-3616 and dated 1951; prior to this, the car had been back to the coachbuilders to remove the camouflage paint, repair the damaged wings and carry out all the necessary work to return it to a useable condition. The story thus far came from the son-in-law of Herr Tribian who became a director of the company and remembers the car and all the details involved.
In 1953 the Mercedes-Benz 290 was taken in part exchange for a new Mercedes-Benz W180 Ponton at a local dealership whereupon it was purchased by Wing Commander James Donald Wakefield Willis AFC from the UK forces of occupation in which to transport his wife, two sons and dog. After returning to England in 1956 and being posted to the Air Ministry in London, he imported the car and used it for many years. After a while, a new car was purchased and the Mercedes-Benz was put into the garage and left. His son John Willis, who by this time had an engineering company, decided to restore it and started by sending it to a company in Oldham, Manchester for the bodywork to be restored. Unfortunately however, this company went into liquidation and John Willis had some difficulty in getting the car back into his possession. Time lapsed once more; the enthusiasm for the restoration evaporated and the 290 was put up for sale. A Mr. Hughes of Northern Ireland then purchased it and started to carry out a restoration. The vendor purchased the 290 in 2005 and returned the car back to England where he undertook a six year process and having to undo many of the poorly crafted items from the previous attempts. This beautifully restored example is now finished in blue and black with blue cloth interior and supplied with a V5C registration document and a file containing the car's history and information regarding the restoration.
Previous lotLot 286 - 1966 Aston Martin DB6 Mk. I
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