Perhaps the last place one would expect to find an early Mercedes vehicle advertised as “the car of kings” is at an isolated sheep station in Queensland, Australia. However that is where this 5.3-litre shaft-drive motor car lived for many of the early years of its life, serving as the Station Manager’s car from 1914 and remaining on the property until the early 1930s. At over a century old, the Mercedes Simplex Roi-Des-Belges Tourer is offered at an estimate £380,000-540,000.
When constantly exposed to the harsh conditions of the Australian outback, early cars suffered from numerous mechanical difficulties. The rough terrain would soon emphasise any weakness in a vehicle, therefore those brands whose cars were built with the quality to withstand the rigours of rural life, like Mercedes and Rolls-Royce, subsequently became favoured by wealthy landowners.
This 35hp Mercedes proved a wise choice and a hardy asset to those running Isis Downs, the owners keeping it in their possession for nearly twenty years. It was purchased by a neighbouring farmer in the 1930s and remained there until the 1960s, when it was rescued and restored. Despite being more than a century old, the car has had only five owners since new.
“This Mercedes has a tremendous history, having started its life driving across Australia's wildest outback over 100 years ago. Still in working order it retains its original features, and has the honour of being quite possibly the world’s oldest shaft-driven 35 hp Mercedes. A wonderful entrant for Bonhams Bond Street Sale."
Bonhams Bond Street Sale takes place at Bonhams London headquarters today, the 30th November 2014.
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