Half million pound Outback Merc up for grabs

| 2 Apr 2014

A 1909 Mercedes 35hp that was discovered in the Australian Outback is finally due to go under the hammer at Bonhams' Bond Street sale on 30 November. The car was originally slated for the firm's Mercedes-Benz Museum Stuttgart sale in July, but failed to make the date due to problems with the paperwork – which have now been overcome. It is expected to fetch more than £500,000.

The 5.3-litre Mercedes was pressed into service from 1914 as the daily driver of a sheep station manager in Isis Downs, Queensland. Due to the rigours of a working life in hostile conditions, the manager demanded a quality, well-built and rugged vehicle; the 35hp served him well for almost 20 years.

1909 Mercedes 35hp engine

In the 1930s the car passed into the hands of a neighbour, who decided to restore the Mercedes to its previous condition. However, it would be a further 30 years before the work was finally carried out.

The shaft-drive version of the 35hp – of which Bonhams' car is an example – was only introduced in 1908; prior to that they had operated a chain-drive system. It is believed to be the oldest of its type.

1909 Mercedes 35hp interior

Bonhams' Group Motoring Director James Knight told C&SC: “We had been in discussion for a while with the Mercedes’ Australian owner and are delighted to have secured such an interesting early Mercedes for the sale. When we were in a position to announce the Mercedes-Benz auction to him, he did not hesitate and jumped at the opportunity to sell his car at the home of the marque. The sale is attracting motor cars from all over the world and this extremely important entry further endorses the stature of the event.”Some 40 cars are expected to go under the hammer at the Mercedes-Benz Museum sale, with visitors able to enjoy 1500 exhibits and 160 vehicles on permanent display.

1909 Mercedes 35hp period