This 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680 S Torpedo-Sport Saoutchik Avant-Garde Roadster was the display car for Mercedes-Benz at the 1929 New York Auto Show. In a world where growth seemed limitless and millions of Americans experienced newfound affluence after the country's wealth doubled in the prior decade, this car was regarded as the absolute pinnacle of luxury automobiles during the height of the "roaring twenties."
Clothed by Parisian coachbuilding company Carrosserie Jacques Saoutchik and designed by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Hans Nibel, and Fritz Nallinger, its 6.8 liter supercharged motor produced 180 horsepower and it was one of the fastest road cars in the world.
It was also to become part of the famous Mercedes-Benz S/SS/SSK lineage that defined the newly formed amalgamation of Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler's two companies. The Mercedes-Benz S/SS/SSK line was one of the nominees in the penultimate round of voting for the Car of the Century award in 1999 – quite some recognition.
Inside, it had all the hallmarks of the most ostentatious of the great French luxury car manufacturers, including another display of Saoutchik's penchant for exotic reptile skins in the seat coverings and interior lining.
In its later years, the car was famously awarded 100 points – a perfect score – at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance to claim the event's coveted Best of Show trophy.
Other accolades include "Restoration of the Year" at the 2012 International Historic Motoring Awards, First in Class at the 2013 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, and the Mercedes-Benz Star of Excellence at the 2014 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance.
The car is already one of the top 100 most valuable cars in the world, having sold for $8,250,000 during Monterey Car Week in 2013, and it had previously been in the top 100 a decade ago, having sold for $3,645,000 during Monterey Car Week in 2006.
Hence it will be a barometer of sorts for the collectible car marketplace that such an impeccably-credentialed automobile will change hands. Since it sold for $8.25 million, it has completed the Grand Slam of automotive excellence and it's almost inconceivable that it isn't worth more now than it was in 2013 ... but the marketplace can be fickle. We've seen numerous tales of cars selling for less a few years later, but my bet is that RM-Sothebys is hoping for another entry in the exclusive $10 million club.
The official estimate is €6.5 to €8.0 million (US$7.1 to 8.7 million), and the event is streamed live on the internet and the show makes for compelling viewing.