You see the photos. No introduction needed here. This 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL painted in Ivory hails from the Boston area where it has been in the same family since it has been purchased new in late 1955. It has been driven, used as a college car, modified, raced, modified some more and thoroughly enjoyed it’s entire life. As it goes, this once toy has now turned into a winning lottery ticket for the lucky family that has held on to this W198 all these years but like almost all the 300SLs out there, there is a story for every one.
I can’t say enough about the 300SL. I feel like like each individual W198 has its own look, its own aura. Coming up for auction soon, this particular 1955 Gullwing is no different. Sporting Dunkelblau paint with the matching Rudge-Whitworth center-lock wheels, it is a stunner. The interior is spotless, it has the matching luggage, the paint shines like new; in short, it’s almost a perfect 300SL.
Model: 300SL Gullwing
Engine: 3.0 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed manual
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing
Chassis no. 198.040.4500116
Engine no. 198.980.4500136
I must admit I’m no W198 expert. These cars are so far out of my league that I can’t even afford to be near one. It’s a different world when you are taking about cars that even the worst condition sell for a million dollars and that’s just not a world I’m apart of. But that doesn’t stop me from admiring from afar and appreciating how unbelievable these cars really are.
From what I understand here, this one is a steel body (rather than the rare and expensive alloy) car which makes it one of 829 for 1955. It does have the luggage set but I can’t say if it’s original and it doesn’t look like it has a radio. Another thing of note is that the steering wheel is a Nardi and not the original W198 wheel that is highly desirable.
The auctioneer should just start this car at a million then go from there because I think this 300SL will be pulling some serious coin. This last W198 that came up for auction earlier this month sold for $1,457,500 and wasn’t even close to the same level as this one. It wouldn’t surprise me if it closed in on the $2,000,000 mark given its condition.…
We used to run a feature called “Heap of the Week”, and while it’s something we decided we weren’t generally known for, it was a fun feature. It allowed us to look at vehicles that had potential or were potential struggles; rare cars or just cars that are rarely seen. It’s another expression of automotive enthusiasm – anyone can walk down to a Porsche dealership with enough money and buy what will certainly be a classic someday if you keep the miles low enough and condition good. However, to take something neglected and return it to pristine shape? That’s the domain of a different type of enthusiast, one who sees the potential through the years of neglect and anticipate a result that could be considered near impossible. There’s also a different sect of enthusiasts who appreciate patina; the worn perfection of years of neglect, but also the specter of countless stories. Throw a particularly rare model into the mix, and you have what could potentially be a show stopper:
The very rare and very head-turning 1955 Porsche 356 Pre-A 1500 Continental Cabriolet that we featured back in October has come back up for sale again as a reserve auction. This car was featured in a recent issue of Excellence Magazine so perhaps the seller hopes to capitalize upon that exposure in the search for a new owner of this lovely machine. This is, without question, the most striking 356 we’ve ever come across as well as a unique piece of Porsche history.
The below post originally appeared on our site October 31, 2014:
We’ve shown quite a few 911 Speedsters over the past few months, either in the guise of the 3.2 Carrera or the 964 Carrera 2, but I cannot recall the last time we featured the original, the car those 911s were intended to recreate in spirit: the 356 Speedster. Here we have one of those rare examples: an Aquamarine Metallic 1955 Porsche 356 Pre-A Speedster. Released in 1954 the first Speedsters were quite a success, though the overall run would be short-lived as interest waned and the Speedster was replaced in 1958 with the Convertible D, followed by the 356 Roadster. With a spartan interior, minimalist top, and removable windscreen the Speedster was intended to appeal to weekend racers and those who wanted a no-frills, lower-cost, Porsche and during those initial years that’s exactly what it did, especially in the sunny environs of California. The short life the model lived has made the 356 Speedster a highly sought after collectible with the earliest examples being particularly noteworthy. Because we come across them so rarely they are almost always worth our attention.
I can’t even imagine the heads that would turn back in 1955 when this car rolled down the street. Now, I wasn’t alive in 1955 so perhaps I’m mistaken, but a bright orange convertible must have been a very rare sight. I know I haven’t seen many, if any, come across auctions of any marque, let alone a Porsche 356. Porsche has never shied away from producing cars in bright colors so that fact shouldn’t surprise me, yet here I am pretty surprised by this car. And before we wonder, this is the original color: a paint-to-sample Orange that Porsche specially had formulated to suit the original buyer’s desire. What better car to showcase on Halloween! This 1955 Porsche 356 Pre-A 1500 Continental Cabriolet is one of the most highly sought after models in the Porsche portfolio. While the 356 Cabriolet was produced for many years, those branded as the Continental Cabriolet were only produced for the 1955MY in the American market before Ford claimed naming rights to the Continental. While that may be a somewhat esoteric distinction, it is nonetheless a marker that separates these cars from other Cabriolets produced during this period. As a vintage piece of Porsche history this has it all!
It’s been nearly a year since Paul wrote up a beautiful 300SL Roadster, but that isn’t because these rare Mercedes-Benz supercars aren’t of interest to us. The reality is they remain dreams to all but the most well-heeled of well-heeled individuals, and in recent years that’s become even more true for the most desirable of the lot, the Gullwing Coupe. When I was young, it was rare to see these cars but they turned up at vintage events, raced in hill-climbs and occasionally even on track. But that was back in the days when a good SL would set you back around $150,000 – $200,000. A lot of money for sure, but compared to these days it wasn’t even the amount of a restoration on one. Over the past year, prices on these iconic cars have more than doubled with no end in sight; now, a top condition one car will set you back approximately 1.8 million dollars – exactly the asking amount of this particular example:
Cars like the one featured here, a 1955 Porsche 356 Pre-A Coupe, will not appeal to everyone, but interesting restored examples such as this always have a place here at GCFSB. At nearly 60 years old, this car has had a long life and thanks to some careful ownership still presents very well and provides us a glimpse into the inception of a great marque. The 356 began production in 1948 and the example here comes from the first iteration of the model, prior to the release of the 356A in the second half of 1955. From the factory these cars had a 1.3 liter flat-4 producing 50 hp mated to a 4-speed manual transmission. This car has had its engine rebuilt with a big bore kit upping displacement to 1.7 liters, which should provide a small bump in torque and horsepower to help propel the car along. Overall, this is a beautiful example of a very highly regarded vintage Porsche that would surely grab the attention of any Porsche enthusiast.
Model: 356 Pre-A Coupe
Engine: 1.3 liter flat-4 (rebuilt to 1720 cc with big bore kit)
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 132,000 mi
Price: Auction (reserve met)
1955 Porsche 356 1300 Normal Reutter Coupe
VIN / Chassis Number: 53950
A great-driving 356
Big Bore Kit
Absolutely rust-free, extra clean and never smoked in since restoration
Turkish Red (Porsche Code 5402 / Reutter Code 538) with Yellow Leatherette (B) interior
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Production year: 1955
History of this 356
· Four known owners
· Originally delivered to U.S.
Considered one of the most significant cars of the 20th century, the Mercedes-Benz Gullwing is a must have for top shelf car collection. Packed with technological firsts such as direct fuel injection, and a slippery body, the 300SL Gullwing was able to capture top five finishes in some of the most prestigious motorsport events such as Le Mans and the Mille Miglia, beating the more powerful, and established entries from the likes of Ferrari.
This single family owned example for sale in Essex, MA is a great opportunity to own a piece of automotive history.
One family owned since the late 1950s. All matching numbers. 66,000 original miles, complete engine rebuild less than 10,000 miles ago. Compression 155-165 across the board. Absolutely no rust or accident damage. Good paint, chrome, interior. Belly pans, some tools, manuals. Originally DB50 White with Red Leather. Now DB190 Graphite Gray with Red Leather. Chassis: 5500668. Engine: 5500707.
Because any member of the 1% can pick up a SLS AMG Gullwing, this is a car for the true Mercedes-Benz connoisseur. With only 1400 cars sold stateside, these are certainly rare, but not impossibly rare like the alloy bodied versions.
At $825K, this car is priced roughly where it should be. It’s by no means a top tier car, as it’s not the original color and needs a bit of love. This would make a great usable car, you can easily fit your golf clubs, yachting gear and the spoils from a serious shopping spree. On top of that you’ll be the 1% out of the 1%, and you really can’t beat that for exclusivity.
Back from this outstanding event where many a German car are out being put through their paces on the track with my annual post of the German cars for sale that caught my eye. The car that most caught my eye this year, was unfortunatley not for sale. It was a stunning 1955 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing that won the Concours d’Elegance for the weekend. What made it extra special though was this car was driven to the event from Massachusetts, we’re talking a journey of several hundred miles and hours. The owner, upon winning the top prize, took the microphone and remarked how concours cars should be used as they were intended and not trailered to events. This is a good reminder to those attending car shows that if you see a nice car and it has a few rock chips on the front, instead of being a dick and pointing them out, compliment the owner on actually having the balls to get the car on the road rather than using white gloved staff to drive the car the 10 yards off the enclosed trailer and onto the car show lawn. At the end of the weekend the Gullwing’s owner was hopping back into his multiple $100k car and driving back to MA, a journey I’m sure the car and driver both enjoyed. Click the images to see large photos of just how clean this car was despite the highway journey.
Ok on to my two picks for listings. This year the two I’ll post are at vastly different ends of the spectrum.
The first is a facelifted, late 1980s, Audi GT Coupe that needs some love.
Audi Coupe GT
These coupes have unique lines and are pretty hard to come by these days, despite their observed scarcity, other than the Quattro model, they remain quite affordable.…