1928 Mercedes-Benz 36-220s


Early Motor Cars Vintage 1919-1934

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The SSK was the last car designed for Mercedes-Benz by Ferdinand Porsche before he left to start his own company. Introducing a 6.8-litre fast tourer in 1927 it featured a ‘kick-down’ supercharger engaged only when the throttle pedal was fully depressed. This raised power output from something ‘sufficient’ to a much more muscular level described as being ‘most effective’ and accompanied by what the British magazine ‘The Motor’ described as “a threatening high-pitched whine”. Fitted with a supercharged single overhead camshaft 7-litre straight-6 engine producing 200 – 300 metric horsepower (150 – 220 kW) and over 500 lb-ft (680 N-m) of torque (depending on the state of tune), the SSK had a top speed of 120 miles per hour (190 km/h), making it the fastest car of its day. From 1927 well into the 1930s, competition versions of the Mercedes-Benz S-Type excelled in endurance racing and hill climbs, while for public road use these imposing touring cars proved to be ‘The ‘Mighty Mercedes’, the factory and its international concessionaires counting many celebrities and sporting-minded gentlemen amongst their clientele. It was driven to victory in numerous races: in 1929 the 500 Miles of Argentina, in 1929 and 1930 Cordoba Grands Prix, in 1931 Argentine Grand Prix, and, in the hands of legendary Grand Prix racing driver Rudolf Caracciola, the 1929 British Tourist Trophy race, the 1930 Irish Grand Prix, the 1931 German Grand Prix, and the 1931 Mille Miglia. A 1929 model was auctioned in Chichester in September 2004 for £4.17 million (US$7.4 million).

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