1939 Maybach SW38 Spezial Cabriolet by Petera & Söhne
Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 9, 2017
Photo – Bonhams
Maybachs are serious cars. Imagine if a company had their choice to produce any of the pre-war Mercedes-Benz lineup and decided only to build the 500/540/770K cars – the absolute best of the best. That’s sort of how I’d describe Maybach. They didn’t half-ass anything.
The SW38 was introduced in 1936 and it was smaller than the Zeppelin line of cars that came before it – and it’s only smaller in that the Zeppelins were huge and that it has half the cylinders. The SW38 is powered by a 3.8-liter straight-six making 140 horsepower. The body is by Petera & Söhne, a coachbuilder that isn’t too well known. The body is original to this car, but it has been restored.
Only 520 SW chassis were built (which comprised three different models, of which the SW38 is in the middle, displacement-wise). Only 152 are known to exist today and this car is surely one-of-a-kind. It should sell for between $790,000-$1,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Update: Sold $719,304.
1938 Maybach SW38 Roadster by Spohn
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 19-20, 2016
Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
Want to know how you can tell that Maybachs are great cars? They never come up for sale – that’s how you know. If you’re lucky enough to snag one, you keep it. In the five years or so since this site has been live, I can only recall three of them coming up for auction, this car included. We featured one of them and the car you see here had been on sale at Fantasy Junction in California for at least a few years with a price tag of $3,300,000.
Wilhelm Maybach’s company and its success up to the outbreak of WWII are a direct result of flawless engineering. These were some of the best-built cars money could buy in the 1930s. The competitors for the SW38 included the Mercedes-Benz 540K and the Horch 853A. The SW38 was the short-wheelbase Maybach and it made more power than the other two cars (you know, until you matted the accelerator in the 540K and the supercharger kicked in). This is powered by a 140 horsepower, 3.8-liter straight-six.
With an unparalleled body by Spohn, this car was sold new in Germany and came stateside in 1961. It’s had a number of interesting American owners since and has been restored. The current owner acquired the car in 1999. Only 520 SW38s were built and 152 still exist – only a few are this sporty (in fact, this is one of two SW38 Disappearing Top Roadsters by Spohn). It’s a big money car, and deservedly so. Click here for more info and here for more from RM Sotheby’s.
Update: Sold $1,072,500.