Clark Gable’s 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster

Last week I checked out a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 190SL in Hellgrün which is a lovely, as well as much cheaper, alternative to the big brother 300SL. Well, today we have the big brother and believe it or not, it also is a 1957 in Hellgrün. Just to top it all off, it was owned by “The King of Hollywood” Clark Gable and has just 1,368 miles. But, as you might have guessed, this 300SL comes with a much higher price tag than the 190SL. Much, much higher.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Clark Gable’s 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster at Classic Driver

1986 Mercedes-Benz 300SL

The R107 arrived in 1971 and remained in production for an extraordinary 18 years, enough time to establish itself as a well-loved symbol of motoring decadence. Today, these roadsters remain usable and admired classics. The 300SL, available in Europe between 1985 and 1989, was never sold in the US. American buyers were therefore deprived of the six cylinder R107 experience, having to choose from a range of V8s instead. A shame, really. In many respects, the bulletproof 3.0 liter engine was a nice match for the chassis. The R107 was always more of a boulevard cruiser rather than a sports car anyway, so the 190 hp offered up by the creamy six cylinder unit is sufficient. With a little less weight up front, these tend to feel a little more agile than the V8-powered models. And aside from some well documented weaknesses (head gaskets, valve guides and stem seals) the M103 is a notoriously reliable motor.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 300SL on eBay

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

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.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing at RM Sotheby’s

Year: 1955
Model: 300SL Gullwing
Engine: 3.0 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 57,368
Price: Auction

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing

Chassis no. 198.040.4500116
Engine no. 198.980.4500136

Without Reserve

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.…

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster

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Not much needs to be said when we feature a 300SL, whether it be Gullwing or Roadster. Both extremely stunning in their own right, these are cars that don’t require any explaining or justifying now that examples are regularly selling for over $1,000,000. But today’s car actually comes in just slightly under the seven-figure mark. This W198 isn’t a barn find or a basket case either. So let’s check out this beautiful 1957 roadster for sale in California and find out why it’s so “cheap”.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster on Hemmings

1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL 5-speed

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The R129 has always been my favorite iteration of the SL roadster. Softer and more modern than the classic R107 that it replaced, but still sufficiently angular that it doesn’t succumb to the awful jelly bean aesthetic of the late 80s and early 90s, the quintessentially Mercedes design remains attractive today; sporty and taut yet elegant and handsome. While most US buyers opted for the V8 500SL or the range topping and magnificent V12 in the 600SL, the car could also be had with an entry level 3.0 liter straight six, as found in this 300SL version. Already a relatively uncommon spec, this car features the especially rare manual gearbox, available only on six cylinder R129s.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL for sale on eBay

1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL-24

Some cars come and go, but the Mercedes-Benz SL has had staying power. Ever since the mid 1950s, this name has been going strong in the lineup, transforming from the original Gullwing coupe to a smaller hardtop two-seater, to the boulevard cruiser of the 1970s and 1980s and into the present day as a refined but capable luxury roadster. One of my favorite SLs was the R129 from the 1990s. It was no easy task taking over from the iconic R107 SL which had an impressive 18 year production run. This car was literally the face of Mercedes throughout the oil crises, recessions and the boom times of the 1980s, yet stayed fashionable all along. However, the new for 1990 300SL brought back an option to US buyers, albeit for a short time, that was lacking throughout the R107 production run: the manual gearbox.

Yes, you could order your 300SL from a US showroom with a 5-speed manual, making the most of a 3.0 liter inline-6 engine that was tasked with moving around 4,000 lbs. of car around. If you’re used to a V8 in your SL, performance is a bit underwhelming in this model, but given that only a few hundred R129s were sold in the US with a manual gearbox, the novelty factor is certainly there. This 300SL-24 for sale in Arizona is one of the nicest 5-speed manual R129s I’ve come across in my time at GCFSB, tempting for someone who absolutely must row their own.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL-24 on Craigslist Phoenix

1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster

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We often see vintage collector vehicles so perfectly restored that they seem unapproachable, not just in cost, but in terms of putting them to use. One little scratch and you might not score perfect in that next concours. I never really cared much for such bastions of perfection, though. Which is why a car like this 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL has caught my attention. This 300SL is in largely original condition, having passed through two owners with an interesting, global story to boot. What price patina, then?

Click for details: 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster on eBay

1986 Mercedes-Benz 300SL 3.2 AMG

Even after all these years which I’ve been involved with GCFSB, a car will come across sometimes which I had no idea existed. Such is the case with this 1986 300SL with an AMG tuned 3.2 liter inline-6. First off, the 300SL is rare on US shores, as we only got the 560SL in our market from 1986 through 1989. Secondly, someone went to the trouble of optioning an R107 with an AMG engine and not much more to denote its bump in horsepower. The ultimate sleeper, then? You decide…

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 300SL 3.2 AMG at The SL Shop

1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL

For me, the R129 Mercedes-Benz 300SL came one year too late. The US market was never privy to its predecessor, the R107 300SL, which was available with both automatic and manual gearboxes. This was always a favorite R107 variant of mine, its smooth 3.0 liter inline six seemingly more suited to this car’s size than a big V8. And of course, the available 5-speed manual was a huge attraction for me. Mercedes decided to take a little bit different direction for the 1990s and made available the six cylinder SL to North American customers, even with a manual gearbox option for a few years. This 300SL for sale in Illinois is a Canadian market SL with the 5-speed automatic gearbox in one of my favorite SL colors, Cabernet Red.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL on eBay

1986 Mercedes-Benz 300SL 5-speed manual

You could say that the Mercedes-Benz R107 has finally attained classic status. This was the Mercedes to aspire to for two decades and spanned a period of great change in automotive performance, safety and technology. Through it all, the R107 kept going on and on and on. Towards the end, we in the US market had but one model to choose from, the 560SL. Only Japan and Australia would see this model sold new. The rest of the world could chose from two V8 models, the 500SL and 420SL and the car we see here, the six-cylinder 300SL. For a car with such a storied number on its boot lid, few here in the US know about it. For the more spirited driver, you could even spec one with a 5-speed manual. This car is so equipped, showing less than 40,000 miles on the clock.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 300SL on AutoScout 24