In 1931 the von Opel family sold the last 20% of Adam Opel AG to General Motors. A little over a year later company patriarch Wilhelm von Opel’s name appeared on the commission (order) documents for a Mercedes-Benz to be delivered to his only son, Fritz Adam Hermann von Opel, best known for his daring exploits at the controls of the rocket-powered RAKs, both on land and in the air. A generation later Fritz von Opel’s nephew, the late Gunter Sachs – no less daring and imaginative – acquired his uncle’s Mercedes-Benz 380 Roadster and commissioned a long term restoration, only just completed to the highest standards of fit, finish, function and materials.
It is the car now proudly presented by Kidston SA: 1933 Mercedes-Benz 380 Roadster, chassis number ‘95280’, offered directly from the ownership of Gunter Sachs.
The 380 was produced for just two years with between 154 and 157 examples built. Just seven were lightweight open two-seat sporting roadsters bodied by Mercedes-Benz’s Sindelfingen coachworks. The example offered here, ‘95280’, is probably the most exceptional, the only known 380 Roadster that combines cutaway doors and full wings with the raked two-piece vee windscreen.
Constructed to the incomparable standards of quality of Mercedes-Benz’s Sindelfingen’s works, in restoration Mercedes-Benz 380 Roadster ‘95280’ was nearly completely re-skinned over its reconstructed original framing and finished in Gunter Sachs’ preferred deep burgundy with rich tan leather upholstery and black cloth top. Subtle and appropriate black tires wrap chrome Rudge Whitworth wire wheels. A discreet door on the passenger’s side accesses luggage space under the rear deck, space shared with a secondary seating concealed under a removable cover. Massive Carl Zeiss headlights flank the Mercedes-Benz radiator grille set behind the front wheels and wings.
Gunter Sachs spied his uncle’s Mercedes-Benz 380 Roadster in an advert in Classic Cars magazine in 1987 with a mystery PO Box contact. He followed up and eventually secured the car. A long term restoration followed, completed recently by M-B supercharged eight specialists Wagner in Landshut, Bavaria. The car is supplied complete with a history file and current German registration and has covered only testing miles since completion of the restoration
A singular, sleek, elegant, imposing automobile, its unique history, von Opel/Sachs family provenance and configuration makes it an important accession to any collection and a significant complement to other great sports classics of the Thirties.