Festival goers are being blown away at the Cartier Style et Luxe concours this weekend – by the sheer magnificence of German pre-war might, all of which have a K in their name. K? For Kompressor.
The four car collection is headlined ‘Blown Away, the peerless prewar supercharged Mercedes’ which sums up perfectly an utterly stunning of power and opulence. Here’s GRR’s brief guide…
1935 500K Cabriolet A
With its 5.0-litre straight eight this was the ultimate Mercedes-Benz passenger car of the time, and particularly popular with female drivers owing to how comfortable it was to drive. Claim to fame: the first car in the world with coil springs and dampers.
1933 380K Roadster Erdmann & Rossi
This special bodied 380K was very popular at the time, especially with aristocrats who wanted something fast and very technically sophisticated but with a different look from the Merc-bodiesd cars. A neat trick was a driver-controlled supercharger – the engine made 120hp with it engaged, 90 without it. The man in the picture is Emmanuel Bacquet who is general manager of the SK Oldtimer collection of Saulius Karosas near Mannheim where this car comes from.
1935 500K Cabriolet B Erdmann & Rossi
The second Erdmann & Rossi bodied car brought over from the SK Collection differs from the earlier car with its longer wheelbase so the uber wealthy couldn’t just travel at up to 100mph in comfort but also stretch out in this ultimate people’s limo. Or, in this car’s case, the ultimate KGB general’s limo – it was confiscated by the Russians as a war trophy after the war and lived in Moscow.
1928 36/220 S
With a top speed of 110mph this car was fast as a Porsche in its day – perhaps no surprise since it was designed Dr Ferdinand Porsche. One of only 147 Tourer versions, the 6.8-litre eight-cylinder model used to be owned by Sir Peter Ustinov and now lives in the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.
Photography: Richard Pardon