Mercedes Benz 500K (W29) Origin
The Mercedes-Benz 500K was built between 1934 and 1936. It was first introduced at the Berlin Motor Show in 1934 and it carried the factory’s W29 design. What differentiates this grand tourer from the 500 sedan model is the “K” in the name which stands for Kompressor meaning supercharge in German.
It is the successor of the Mercedes-Benz 380 which was exhibited the year before. However, in comparison to the 380SSK, its engine is larger and more powerful. And in response to the demands of customers for luxury, the engine is also more lavish.
Stay with me as I reveal some extraordinary facts about this great car
Mercedes Benz 500K (W29) Overview
The Benz 500K had the same independent suspension that was featured for the first time in the 380SSK. The rear had a double-joint swing axle, a separate location for wheels, and a double wishbone axle, and it is the first vehicle in the world to have coil springs and damping.
All these features made the 500K a more comfortable car with better handling than its predecessor and it appealed more to buyers, particularly females who liked wearing high-heeled shoes. Using the foot to press down the throttle fired up the Roots supercharger which then engages the engine to generate almost 160 horsepower (120 kW) which powered the car to run at a speed of 100 miles per hour (160 km/h).
It is available in eight bodies and three different chassis. There’s the “B” and “C” chassis which were longer, had four seats, and rode on a 3,290 mm (129.5 in) wheelbase. The third is the “A” cabriolet version which was a two-seater car, rode on a wheelbase of 2,980 mm (117.3 in), and was available in two models: the 1936 Special Roadster which had the highest performance, and the Motorway Courier.
All the models were characterized by advanced equipment such as hydraulic brakes, door locks, safety glass, a 12-volt electrical system that was enough to hold the electric windscreen wipers, and indicators.
Mercedes Benz 500K (W29) Engine
500K uses a straight-eight engine, also known as an inline-eight engine, abbreviated as L8 or I8. This is an internal combustion engine with eight cylinders that are all mounted on the crankcase in a straight line. There are various configurations of the engine which include the overhead cam, side-valve overhead-valve, sleeve-valve, and IOE.
The straight-eight can be timed for inherent primary and secondary balance. It has a harmonic damper at the accessory end of the crankshaft which prevents fatigue cracking that can lead to engine failure.
Mercedes Benz 500K (W29) Production
The number of 500K models built by Mercedes in the two-year period wherein the model was produced was 342. Included in this figure are 29 versions of the company’s “Special Roadsters.” The Special Roadsters were some of the fastest cars in those times.
Mercedes Benz 500K (W29) Price
Owing to the legacy and scarcity of the Mercedes-Benz 500K, the price is quite high. In the two years that the 500K sports car models were produced, each one was sold at $10,000 which is about $190,000 in today’s market.
In October 2007, the car collection of the former chief executive of the Formula One Group, Bernie Ecclestone, which was auctioned included his 500K and five other Mercedes cars which were produced before WWI. The Mercedes-Benz 500K was auctioned at £700,000 (US$1.45 million).
The highest amount that a 500K has ever fetched is $5,921,097 which was paid for a 1935 500K roadster during an auction in Chantilly, a city in Picardy, France. If a 500K special roadster was to be presented at an auction today, the bid that wins will have to be over $10,000.