Greenwich gold for a shortened hot rod from prewar Germany

For 25 years, the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance in southern Connecticut has presented some of motoring’s most glorious works of innovation and preservation on a show field near the place where the Long Island Sound first touches New England. At it closed out its first quarter century of recognizing glory, the judges at Greenwich picked an intriguing, highly unusual piece of history from Germany to receive the event’s Best in Show award. That distinction went to the car in this Hagerty/Matt Tierney photo, the 1927 Mercedes-Benz Model K, a short-wheelbase speedster with Fleetwood custom coachwork, presented by Michael and Joannie Rich.

The “K” is essentially German shorthand for “short,” referring to the fact that it rode on a 130-inch wheelbase yet in true muscle car fashion, was stuffed with a large-supercharger straight-six normally installed in the larger Mercedes-Benz S models, giving this Model K a top end around 90 MPH, which was a substantial number in the late 1920s. The Model K, as built, was one of the fastest production cars of that era. The car was originally built for William Sloan of Rochester, New York, who specified Fleetwood coachwork – Fleetwood was purchased by Fisher Body in 1925, and would become an operating unit of General Motors in 1931 – after ogling the Fleetwood-bodied roadster that Isotta Fraschini of Milan built for the silent screen sheik Rudolph Valentino in 1926, which was displayed at that year’s New York Auto Salon. The Greenwich concours returned to live action following a two-year pandemic hiatus with a first for any such event, a judged class for vintage SUVs, won by the 1942 Dodge WC53 of Brian Cook.

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