1927 MERCEDES-BENZ 630K SPORTS CABRIOLET
COACHWORK BY HIBBARD & DARRIN
Chassis No. 38182
Engine No. 60776
Two-tone blue exterior with blue leather upholstery
Engine: six-cylinder with supercharger, 6.25 liter, 110/160hp at 3,000rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Suspension: semi-elliptical leaf spring all round; Brakes: four wheel mechanical drums. Left hand drive.
In 1926, Benz und Cie. and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft merged to become Daimler-Benz AG, and the first product of their combined efforts was the Model K. More of an evolutionary design than a new automobile, it was based upon the Type 630 Mercedes introduced in 1924. The Model K was principally the work of Daimler's chief engineer, Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, who improved upon the earlier supercharged overhead camshaft six-cylinder engine design by increasing compression ratio and adding a second spark plug per cylinder. The new K models achieved unparalleled performance and were guaranteed by the factory to obtain 90mph -- which in 1926 made them the fastest production cars in the world. Dr. Porsche also improved upon the suspension geometry and shortened the wheelbase from 147 1/2 inches to 133 7/8 inches, thus the designation K in this one instance stands for Kurz (short), rather than kompressor, as on other supercharged Mercedes-Benz models. The Model K is regarded as a transitional design between the Mercedes and Benz consolidation, and the stepping stone to their completely new models; the S, SS, SSK, and SSKL derivatives of the late 1920's and early '30's.
The Model K chassis' were bodied by Europe's leading coachbuilders, including Hibbard & Darrin, who produced several different body designs ranging from a regal Imperial limousine to this dashing two-passenger Sport Cabriolet. Tom Hibbard and Howard "Dutch" Darrin were two Americans who established their own coachbuilding firm in Paris and a new car dealership, principally selling Minervas, that they designed and produced bodies for. Hibbard and Darrin were two of the founding partners in LeBaron, and had come to France to set up a European branch in the early 1920's, but went into business for themselves instead, producing some of the most celebrated body designs of the classic era. Specific Hibbard & Darrin styling cues for the Mercedes-Benz K chassis included the V-form windshield, large chromed landau irons, grilled battery and storage boxes on the running boards, tapered moldings along the length of the body, and large chromed piano-style door hinges. Hibbard & Darrin produced two or three Sport Cabriolets on the Model K chassis, but the V-form windshield appears to have only been fitted on the example presented here.
The car was originally shipped from Paris to New York and sold for $12,000. In 1931, it was purchased by a military officer attached to the NYC Veteran's Hospital, who kept it for 21 years. In failing mechanical condition, it was placed in storage where it remained for over two decades. Sometime in the 1970's, it came into the possession of Bruce Miller of Concord, California, who sold the 630K to Mr. Gallup. Although in complete disrepair, all of the parts were with the car and Mr. Gallup commissioned a three-year, 7,000 man-hour restoration by specialist Robin Onsoien.
Consulting on the car's restoration in 1980, Tom Hibbard fondly remembered this 630K because of its unique, yet attractive V-windshield. When the restoration was complete, the 630K became a spectacular feature of many Concours events on the West Coast and has an impressive array of awards including placing second at Pebble Beach in 1981. The first place trophy went to the Best of Show winning Mercedes 540K Special Roadster. The following year, the 630K was awarded a First of Class at Pebble Beach and won Best of Show at the 1982 LeCircle Concours d'Elegance. It is also a Classic Car Club of America Senior Award Winner
This restoration is a magnificient achievement as can be expected from a Pebble Beach winning vehicle. Since its show days the Mercedes-Benz has had very limited use and last year Mr. Gallup spent $10,000 to ensure the vehicles presentation is still to show standard. Detail touches to this handsome sport cabriolet include stainless wire wheels, grilled battery and storage boxes on the wooden running boards, and a superb engine turned finish throughout the engine bay. The Mercedes-Benz star is very prominent on the vehicle appearing on the radiator, motormeter, knock off hub caps, steering wheel boss, instruments, pedals and gas tank valence.
This very original rare Mercedes-Benz was without doubt the highlight of the Gary Gallup Collection. It is eligible for all Classic Car Club events and with its stunning and elegant proportions would enhance any garage or great collection.