FORMERLY OWNED BY GERMAN ACTOR AND DIRECTOR
ERIK CHARELL, MERCEDES-BENZ 770 CABRIOLET D
STARS AT BONHAMS STUTTGART SALE
One of only 18 produced, a Mercedes-Benz 770 Cabriolet D is offered at Bonhams Mercedes-Benz Sale, estimated at €2,300,000-2,800,000.
The 770 “Grand Mercedes” Cabriolet D was originally the property of German actor, producer and director, Erik Charell (1894-1974), whose accomplishments include award winning work in both film and theatre, most notably the 1930 resurrection of the play The White Horse Inn (Im weißen Rössl), transforming the production into an international hit musical.
Charell curated some of the more glamorous and risqué stage performances of the 1920s and 1930s, credited with challenging the conservatism that dominated German theatre by, amongst other things, introducing artistic nudity to his stage productions. His later reviews featured famous names such as Marlene Dietrich, Claire Waldoff, and in 1939, Louis Armstrong, who starred as ‘Bottom’ in a jazz version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Produced by Charell, the play caused controversy as it was cast with predominantly black actors. It showed just 13 times.
The 770 Cabriolet D was delivered to Charell in Berlin on 18th August 1931. Born Erich Karl Löwenberg, Charell fled to the USA after the Nazis came to power, working for the Fox Film Corporation in Hollywood. It seems likely that he took the Mercedes with him when he left for the United States. He returned to Germany after the war and in 1950 enjoyed an enormous success with the musical comedy Feuerwerk, from which came the worldwide hit song O mein Papa. In 1969 he received the German movie prize, the Filmband in Gold, for his outstanding contribution to the German film industry.
Philip Kantor, Bonhams Head of European Motorcars, said, “Introduced in 1930 at the Paris Motor Show, the 770 “Grand Mercedes” Cabriolet D was the most luxurious model of the Mercedes-Benz range, noted for its elegance, beauty, size and clear extravagance.
"It was reputed to cost 47,500 RM (Reichsmark) when new, roughly the price of a family home. It’s unsurprising that a director such as Charell would have been the owner of such a fantastic car; these were clear symbols of both success, status and style.”
Held in the Mercedes-Benz Museum on 28 March, Bonhams auction will feature a variety of some 40 classic motor cars from across the German marque’s century long history.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum charts the entire history of the world’s oldest car manufacturer. A total of 1,500 exhibits are featured in the museum, including 160 vehicles.