Emil Jannings, Los Angeles, California (acquired new in 1926)
Hugh Darby, Fresno, California (acquired by 1953)
Kings of the Road Museum, Rancho Cucamonga, California (acquired
from the above circa 1953)
Hal Anderson, Fresno, California (acquired from the above by 1964)
Harold Owen and Family, Fresno, California (acquired from the above in 1997)
Kings of the Road Museum, Rancho Cucamonga, California, circa 1953
In 1924, Mercedes introduced a luxurious six-cylinder version of its supercharged touring cars. In standard practice, the new model was dubbed the 24/100/140, with the first number representing the taxable horsepower for the German government, and the other numbers denoting true metric horsepower (the latter with the supercharger activated). The 24/100/140 continued production following Mercedes’ 1926 merger with Benz & Cie, though the model was soon reclassified as the Type 630.
This early Mercedes supercharged tourer benefits from factory documentation, dedicated care by a handful of long-term owners, and celebrity provenance. According to a factory build sheet dated September 1926, chassis no. 36010 was originally sold to Emil Jannings, a famed German actor of the silent-film era who went on to win the first Oscar for best actor, presented at the inaugural Academy Awards in 1929.
The 24/100/140’s chassis was assembled in Daimler’s Untertürkheim factory and dispatched for coachwork to Erdmann & Rossi in Berlin. The well-known karosserie produced a conservatively sporty phaeton body with vertically louvered hood and a dual pane windscreen. Upon completion, 36010 was exported to Mr. Jannings’ home in Beverly Hills; period photos included with the sale show the actor with his prized automobile.
Mr. Jannings returned to Germany in the early 1930s, where he appeared in government propaganda films. The Mercedes is believed to have remained in California, later passing to an automotive museum in Rancho Cucamonga circa 1953. The Mercedes was acquired in the mid-1960s by Hal Anderson of Fresno, who retained possession of the car for over 30 years while dutifully maintaining it. It is believed that at some point during the 1950s or 1960s, a cosmetic restoration was conducted, including the paint and upholstery.
In 1997, the rare phaeton was sold to Harold Owen of Fresno, and he compiled documentation, including copies of the factory build sheet, coachbuilder’s declaration, period photos, and an owner’s manual. Following Mr. Owen’s passing, the car emerged from an extended hibernation in early 2017. Now showing a gentle patina, chassis 36010 retains its original supercharged engine and Erdmann & Rossi body, as stated in factory records.
Due to its extended state of static storage, the Mercedes is not currently running, although the engine turns freely. The next caretaker will have the option of returning the car to a state of operation for touring, or conducting a more comprehensive restoration. Regardless, this rarefied phaeton offers all the cachet of an early supercharged Mercedes clothed in an attractive body by one of the foremost custom coachbuilders of the era.