1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Competition

When I think of cars that moved along the art of the automobile, a few come to mind. The original Mini. The Citroën DS. The Audi Ur Quattro. And this car, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing. A road going race car for the street, the 300SL was the brainchild of importer Max Hoffman, to bring the power of the W194 300SL to the street. Beautiful as it was, the car did have its compromises, most notably the high door sills, necessitated by the shape of the space frame underneath. Only 1,400 Gullwings were built over the course of four years. There was even a more special, alloy bodied version of the Gullwing, known as the Competition. Only 29 of these harder edged 300SLs were built and they don’t come up for sale. When they do, rest assured a princely sum of money will exchange hands. This 300SL for sale in California doesn’t have the alloy body, but documentation shows that it was originally built with the Competition engine, Competition suspension, wider Rudge knock-off wheels and Competition tires.

Year: 1956
Model: 300SL
Engine: 3.0 liter inline six
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 450 mi
Price: $1,495,000

1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Competition on Hemmings Motor News

One of a handful of “In-House/Factory-Prepared” competition 300SLs built. Assembled and tested repeatedly by the Mercedes Benz Factory in the December of 1955 and then shipped new by truck to Switzerland, February 13th, 1956. The only document released publicly by the Mercedes Factory on this 300SL is the finally assembly record or “data card.” It identifies in addition to many other specific details that this particular example was built with: -Competition “NSL” Engine -Competition Suspension -Competition Wider SLR type Rudge Racing Wheels -Competition Racing Tires. The engine uses dual-point ignition, revised ignition and cam timing and a different fuel-injection metering unit and internal governor which allows the engine to produce 250bhp rather than the standard 215bhp of the regular production 300SL. Lighter weight is acheived thoughout the car as with the use of an alloy starter motor rather than steel. Visually in addition to the obviosly wider SLR wheels is the use of an 8,000rpm tachometer and corresponding 270kph odometer.

What happened after being completed and leaving the Mercedes Benz Factory is one of the greatest mysteries we have ever encountered. The car was built for endurance racing as confirmed by the Mercedes Factory on multiple occasions going back to the early 1970s but without identifying individual drivers and specific races. Nothing is known at this time about where this 300SL raced and by whom until it surfaced four years later in an old race shop in Rome, Italy. It remained stored there as last raced until the mid-1960s when an up and coming Italian/American actor named Anthony Russel discovered her by chance and purchased her. He did not know anything other than it was an old race car and he felt it fit his image and would help his acting career to be seen in such a car. Russel had professional still photos taken circa 1964/65 by the famed Renaldo Tridici Studio in the beautiful Borghese Gardens of Rome, one of these photos still exists to this day accompanies the car upon its sale. Russel never raced the car but did have problems finding replacement tires as they were were wider competition versions whic were not easy to come by in Italy. The car also required high-octane, premium fuel which was still not easy to obtain in much of Italy at the time.

In the late 1960s Russel returend to the States and moved along with his 300SL to Beverly Hills, California where he took up acting again. He did not have the success he had hoped for and this Mercedes was sold to the aspiring collector, Ron Kellogg in 1969. Kellogg was the first to correspond with the Mercedes Factory about the car and was told it was an endurance racer but without specific reference to drivers or particular events. Kellogg believed it to be a Mille Miglia veteran but could never find supporting documentation. He sold the car to then 300SL International Group President, Mitch Leland in 1971. Leland not long after began a decade plus long restoration of the car with Scott Grundfor. It did not start out as a restoration according to Leland but a simple service and oil change at Scott’s. The car however remained there on and off again over the next eleven years undergoing what was at the point the most comprehensive restoration ever undertaken on such a vehicle. The engine, gearbox, suspension and brakes were all rebuild by legendary 300SL Racer, Don Ricardo and now known to be the last examples that he completed as a matched set.

Upon completion of the work, a very well know poster was made of this 300SL and it was sold for many years commercially through Mercedes Benz’s Franchised dealers. In the mid-1980s to commemorate the centenary celebration of Mercedes Benz, Pop Artist Andy Warhol was commissioned to do a series on the 300SL Gullwing. His work was based on Leland’s original poster which Mercedes provided to Warhol rather than having to provide him with an actual vehicle to have to work with. Print copies of several different versions of Warhol’s work can be obtained easily today with copies almost always available on Ebay. Not long after the restoration was completed, Scott approached Leland with an offer he could not refuse and the car was shipped to Tokyo, Japan were it joined the very private and secretive HATA Collection. After more than twenty years in storage and nearly forgotten to the world, we acquired this incredible machine. Have no doubt, this is without exception one of the most important non-alloy bodied, full-competion 300SL Gullwings in existence.

Last year, an alloy bodied Gullwing sold at Gooding & Company for a record price of $4.62 million, including auction fees. If this was an alloy bodied SL, you would be looking at a $2 to $3 million car here, at least. Your garden variety Gullwings are pulling anywhere between $700,000 to $1,000,000 these days, so I would say the asking price here is just about realistic, given the history and that you are getting some exclusive features to set this car apart from the rest of the Gullwings out there.

-Paul

1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL

One of the most revolutionary cars of the 20th century, and still to this day, was the Mercedes-Benz 300SL, also known as the Gullwing due to it’s top hinging doors. This was a car that might not have been had it not been for Max Hoffman, automobile importer, who suggested to Mercedes-Benz brass that a road version of their competition W194 300SL be made. In 1954, the revised W198 300SL went on sale. This 300SL for sale in San Francisco is a very early production model with the distinctive gear lever and Rudge wheels with the knock-off center lugs.

1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL on eBay

This extraordinary Gullwing, two owner car, is beyond doubt one the finest example in the world. Owned by a renowned collector [Pebble Beach Concourse d’ Elegance best of show winner] and restored to 100 point condition by the expert Rudi von Koniczek, of Victoria B.C.Everything is operationally and cosmetically perfect, with all body, chassis and engine matching original numbers. The car has new custom matching luggage to the original design, original handbook, parts book, tools, original metal box containing spare fuses and light bulbs, and most importantly, the rare polished Rudge-Whitworth “knock-off” racing type wheels with the accompanying larger brake drums. The car, #38, is fitted with the original “goose neck” gear shift and not the later central mounted shift, an awkward arrangement, made to accommodate 1950s vacuum tube radios fitted after car #50—now utterly useless. This car is ready to win at any show, or to be a delightful driver’s car in rally events anywhere in the world.

It’s no secret that the Mercedes-Benz 300SL is one of the priciest classics out there. For years these cars have commanded great respect (and prices) in the marketplace. Non-alumnium bodied 300SLs can glance seven figures; on average a good example will bring somewhere between $650,000 and $900,000 depending on provenance and equipment. Given the very early production number, it’s not surprising that the seller expects this car will bring more, especially given the unique features and desirable color combination. However, for a non-aluminum Gullwing, the asking price seems out of step with what recent auction results have shown.

-Paul

Theme Week: 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

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.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing on hemmings.com

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.

-Brian

Watkins Glen Vintage Grand Prix GCFS 2012 Audi & Elva

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.

This one has relatively low mileage for the year, 86,000 miles, and a ask price of $1,200. It clearly shows some wear and tear issues. Fading logos, a few rust bubbles, worn interior, etc. I know we usually try to find finer automobiles than this, but this car looked lonely parked on the side of the road under the overcast sky, watching as millions of dollars worth of vintage street and race cars drove past. It has a manual and if it runs well it is certainly worth saving and I bet the seller can knock a couple hundred off the price. You can give your kid a pretty unique fun first car to work on with this on the cheap. A few hours of elbow grease and this car could be a lot prouder. You can see from the photos its not a bad 10 footer at all. I don’t want to post the seller’s phone number, but post a comment if you are interested and I’ll get it to you.

 

The other car for sale that I thought would be fun to list, it being a Grand Prix event and all, is this 1965 Elva Mk.VIIs racer.

1965 BMW powered Elva Mk.7s

The Elva 7s racers were tiny cars, barely coming up to the knee, and were powered by a range of under 2.0 liter engines. While Elva is a British car company, this race car is powered by a very German BMW engine and comes complete with a BMW badge out front. Some Elva cars, think Can-Am, were fitted with very much over 2.0 liter 500 horsepower V8s by McLaren, which must’ve been immensely scary to drive.

The car has eye catching looks, the covered headlights up front present a really nice smooth face. The looks maybe confused for a D type Jag or Porsche Spyder if you squint, but the Elva isn’t like either of those, though Porsche power was found in other Mk.7 Elvas.

This particular car is super fresh, it has a recent restoration in which everything has been gone over. Basically everything is new or rebuilt from the body to the chassis to the engine. Transmission is a Hewland unit which is loaded with new internals. The new parts on the car are too many to list. The owner also states that the car can handle a 6′ + driver thanks to some modifications.

The car is available through Lee Chapman Racing, http://www.leechapmanracing.com

Obviously this is going to run you a bit more than the Audi listed above, but I suspect it isn’t obscene. No price is given, but I’d bet we’re looking at something in the $150,000 range with it in its race ready condition. I’m not really sure, I haven’t seen to many Elva’s cross the block in my time.

 

As always I highly recommend a pilgrimage to Watkins Glen, the birth place of modern road racing in the U.S., to any gearhead and the annual vintage festival is a perfect time to make the trip.

~Evan

1959 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster

Possibly one of the most well recognized Mercedes-Benzes of all time, the 300SL came about in similar fashion to the Porsche Speedster that we featured here recently on GCFSB. Max Hoffman, well known imported for foreign iron before many companies set up North American operations, made the suggestion to Mercedes to sell a street version of the W194 300SL, as he thought the car would gain good acclaim amongst American consumers. They took Hoffman’s advice and this car, with its distinctive gullwing doors and fuel injected, dry sump inline six was the first Mercedes to sell more outside its home market than within.

The hardtop Gullwing was sold from 1955 through 1957 and in 1958, the roadster took its place. Noted as being a bit softer edged than the Gullwing, the roadster had a revised rear suspension and, from 1961 on, disc brakes on all four corners. This 300SL roadster for sale in New York is an earlier model with an older restoration.

1959 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster on eBay

This is a 1959 Mercedes 300SL Roadster with factory hard top. This car is an older restoration but still shows very well. Car recently received all new brakes and a full tune up. This is not a show car but a very impressive and solid driver.

At $650,000, this SL is well within the ballpark of what these cars are bringing these days. Those with racing pedigree or the rarer, all aluminum bodied SLs will fetch higher prices, in some cases over one million dollars. Besides 1963, when a scant 23 300SLs were produced, 1959 models are the second rarest of the roadster production run, with only 211 built that year. Red isn’t my favorite color on these, but I like the fact this car is an older restoration, which takes away a bit of the apprehension when it comes to driving it as intended.

-Paul

1986 Mercedes-Benz 300SL 5-speed

We featured an R107 SL a few weeks ago, but here is one with a 5-speed manual transmission, making this roadster a nice proposition for those looking for an SL that is a bit lighter on its toes and provides a bit more involvement in terms of the driving experience.

1988 Mercedes-Benz 300SL on eBay

What I have here is a nice, ultra-rare 1988* Mercedes 300SL roadster with a manual 5-spd transmission, and matching hardtop. She runs like a champ and has but 108,500 miles; ‘just broken in’ for this era Mercedes. She has a current PA state inspection and I believe could probably be driven anywhere. Her actual VIN # is WDB1070411A044396.

Despite obvious similarities to other ‘R107’ body-styled roadsters produced over the model’s 19-year run, she may well be one of the, if not THE, rarest of them all. If you like to drive stick-shifts, have a warm spot in your heart for this classic roadster, and like to be driving something special or (nearly) unique, this car may be the perfect ticket. You may already know that Mercedes never imported this body style into the US with a stick-shift. Mercedes US operations believed (probably rightly so) that Americans wanted only the V8 powered automatics and so never offered the models with the stick. Whenever you do see one it most certainly was brought over as a grey-market car by its owner or a specialty import firm.

Nevertheless a small number of these cars with sticks did make it over here, especially the earlier 280SL twin-cam variant that was in production from 1974 through 1985. Also available with a 5-spd stick, it is a spirited car that needs to be revved a bit higher than the 300SL but is also a very satisfying car to own and drive. Both of these sixes have marginally better fuel economy than the V8’s they were introduced to offset. According to my internet research, the only shortcoming of the 280 engine is that it needs periodic rebuilding (every 100-150k or so) and being a twin-cam makes it a difficult and costly affair to do right. In fact, on at least one Mercedes forum it is mentioned that even Master Mercedes mechanics would prefer never seeing another one of those cars again!

In contrast, the 3 liter inline six in this car is often praised (somewhat exaggeratedly I’m sure) as a ‘million-mile’ engine; an ‘unkillable drivetrain’ say others. The engine was very popular for many years and was a mainstay in the sedans (which oddly enough were offered with the same 5-spd stick in the US!!) offered in the mid-eighties and indeed has a well-earned reputation for reliability and long life, much more so than the 280. It’s a very torquey engine that also likes to rev but produces more ‘off-line’ power and so may be even more drivable than the 280.

HERE’S THE THING, the 300SL roadster from this vintage was only produced from 1985 through 1989 and in relatively low numbers compared to the overall production for this body style over its 19 years (13,742 out of about 238,000). So then only about 5.5% of all of these cars were the 300SL and no one seems to know how many of these were the 5-spd manuals. I’ve seen hints that it could be as low as a couple of thousand, worldwide. So being a 300SL makes it uncommon enough to begin with, but being a 5-spd 300SL makes it truly rare. This specific model then is not only among the rarest but the most reliable, most durable, most economical, least costly to repair, and among the most fun to drive, along with the 280sl, and 500sl if you like stick-shifting of course. They are highly prized in Europe where they are valued nearly as highly as some of the V8 stick-shift roadsters that were sold only in Germany or Australia.

Lastly, you’ll notice if you compare it any of the ‘regular’ cars sold here that this little beauty has the much nicer, much smaller bumpers front and rear. It makes the cars with regular US bumpers look positively grotesque by comparison (IMHO).

ABOUT THIS PARTICULAR CAR…there’s a longer story about how I bought this car for my wife as a graduation present (for getting her Master’s degree), but the reality of the actual car, as she experienced it from behind its “giant” steering wheel, by a person who had never actually sat in one, let alone driven one, fell far short of the image she had been nurturing in her mind for the two decades during which she considered it one of the most beautiful cars in the world. I’ve hung onto it for these last 4 years simply because it was a rarity. I do enjoy driving it top down on nice sunny days, and drive it regularly to keep all of its systems exercised, but I only put about 1,000 miles per year on it in a ‘busy’ year. It wouldn’t have been a car I would have chosen for myself and so it’s time now to get back my garage space back and move the car onto its next loving owner.

CONDITION

And while it runs perfectly well, as you can see from the pictures, it’s not a perfect car. Unless I mention it in the following details, you can assume that everything else on the car works as expected.

I believe the car to be original, which includes its paint, top and seats. Now then, the top will keep you dry if you get caught out in the rain, but it has some tears which are the result of age and, the previous owner slicing his way into the locked car with the keys in the ignition! Since the top only goes up in colder weather, I’ve not ever cared to fix it. The car is equipped with another rarity for the time period which is the dual-zone (‘his and her’s’) air conditioning system also not imported to the US in the ‘official’ models. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work, even though all the bits are there. That too fell into the category of things I wasn’t worried about fixing since I never used it. The heater works great though, and does regulate the two sides of the car independently. Had my wife embraced the car as hoped, I’d have fixed everything for her, but of course, then the car wouldn’t now be up for sale! Of course, none of these deficiencies detract from the car’s drivability or safety.

Being original the seats, which remain fully sprung and supportive (not at all collapsed), show that the leather surfaces are a bit ‘tired’, having been serving their purpose now for 26 years. They’re perfectly useable as is, but I would have had them resurfaced for the wife. BTW, I think the pictures make them look a tad or two better than they do in real life. The car also has the optional child rear seat which might be ok for occupants under the age of 5, but no one else unless you hate them. They too could use to be resurfaced.

The paint is very presentable and passes the ’10- foot’ test with ease. But move up closer and you’ll see that at a couple of times in its life the two-man crew trying to put the hardtop onto the car slipped and the lock pin won its argument with the deck paint. I wash and wax her several times a year and think that a professional buff job would take the finish to yet another level. They really painted cars well back then.

The tires have good tread, but if you wanted to take the car on a long-distance journey I’d suggest getting a new set. ‘Old’ tires worry me no matter how much tread they have left. The newest pair here are the rears which are about 5 years old and the fronts are older yet. The original dash, suffering from the usual cracks that afflict these cars, is hiding underneath one of those plastic covers made for the car. They fit well and it doesn’t rattle while driving. I replaced the visors because those too had gotten pretty worn. The replacements (which were darned expensive!) don’t have the little built-in mirrors for powdering your nose that the original car had.

BEST OF THE BREED

It’s worth closing out the description by mentioning that the very best of this series Mercedes roadster were produced from 1986-1989. These later car benefitted from an accumulation of improvements and tweaks over the years to correct things like overheating in the 70’s and rust, as well as suspension, engine and fuel injection drivability issues. This car has anti-lock brakes which were only introduced in 1985 (but it does not have any airbags!). In fact, Mercedes seriously improved their galvanizing process in 1985 which mostly explains why this car is rust free, along with a small repair I had professionally done when I first got it. It also has the modern rims with the tiny alignment holes built in. And of course, it has excellent 4-wheel disc brakes.

The real point here is that this car was built during the period when the ‘best’ of these variations R107’ body series, were built. All of these roadsters (and their coupe brothers) were the last of the ‘hand-built’ Mercedes. They were literally nicknamed ‘Der Panzerwaggen’ (‘tanks’) by the engineers who designed the cars owing to how over-engineered they were. Combined with the handcrafting assembly process, they represent the high-water mark for Mercedes vintage engineering and production. Truly, the last cars of an era.

You can find a wealth of information on the whole R107 series out on the web, including articles that go into a lot more detail about why the later year cars are the absolute best of this breed. You WILL NOT however find much information on the 300SL 5-spd. It simply wasn’t produced in the kinds of numbers that ever got it onto ‘the radar’, if you know what I mean. The 280sl 5-spd was produced in twice the numbers from 1974 through 1985 and examples of those cars actually aren’t that hard to find. In fact, a guy two towns over from me has one and I’ve seen it up on eBay a couple of times already. You’ll occasionally see some mention of the 300Sl 5-spd on a Mercedes forum or blog, (possibly even a comment from me!) from one of the handful of owners of these cars in the US. My own best guess is that there probably are fewer than 10 of this specific car in the US right now; maybe only 6.

Given that rarity one might think them difficult to maintain. The good news here is that the car is actually an amalgam of the 300 drivetrain found in many Mercedes sedans from the 80’s and the ‘normal’ R107 chassis, so there’s no problem getting service or parts for the car. It is the best of all worlds if you’re seeking an R107 roadster, and want to drive a stick!

*…oh yeah, about this asterisk. I eventually got Mercedes’ own classic website to send me a photocopy of the actual build sheet for this car. It rolled out of the shop February 2nd of 1986 according to that sheet, so it’s not actually a 1988 model. My guess is that some clerk in a registration office accidentally mis-read the European title papers at the time of ‘naturalizing’ the car over here and though the ‘6’ an ‘8’, and so the car has forever been titled as a 1988. But the build sheet says 1986, and I thought the next owner should certainly know that.

While cheaper than the previous 300SL we featured, $15,000 is still a bit pricey for this example, given flaws like the tattered convertible top and upholstery flaws inside. I wouldn’t be so concerned about the engine, as these 3.0 straight sixes are fairly hearty motors. The color combination on this example is just right, though. I’ve always been a fan of metallic blue on Mercedes-Benzes of this era, especially if it’s an SL with a navy top. One of these days, I’d love to try a 300SL on for size. I’ve always been a fan of the R107, but feel that the inline six would be a much better match for the chassis.

-Paul

1986 Mercedes-Benz 300SL

I’ve driven a few R107 Mercedes-Benz SLs in my day, but never one with a six cylinder engine. I hear good things regarding the handling as compared to the heavier V8 models. As our reader Kevin commented on our recently featured 450SLC 5.0, R107s can be akin to a boat on the water, dynamically speaking. I have noticed V8 R107s tend to have a lot of front end lift on acceleration and dive in corners, but in true Mercedes-Benz fashion, you never feel completely out of control. I like what the R107 roadster has to offer, but if I was to buy one, I’d go for my favorite of the bunch, the 1986-89 300SL. This SL had the ubiquitous M103 3.0 liter six cylinder engine producing 188 horsepower outside of US markets. A dependable motor that returned decent gas mileage (in comparison to its V8 stablemates), this engine always seemed to be a better fit for such a small vehicle than the large, 5.6 liter V8 of the 560SL.

1986 Mercedes-Benz 300SL on eBay

Very rare 1986 Mercedes 300SL with both tops, only a few of these made it to the US. Six cylinder M103 engine getting 24 MPG HWY. This is the last series of the R107 with all the improvements to the suspension, front spoiler and basically same interior as 560SL. Of course you get the the highly desirable small bumpers and full Euro lighting exactly as the factory designed. Astral Silver with Black leather, VIN WDB1070411A047921.

I have driven and owned all the 107 models and feel this is the best with its perfect weight distribution because of the six cylinder engine. The engine is 180hp as compared to a 380SL with only 155hp so there is plenty of power. Most V8 107s are too heavy in front so they seem to plow through corners. Complete history of the vehicle is known. Imported new in 1986, we acquired from original owner in 1990 at 28,000 miles. We sold to the second owner who used it as her fair weather weekend car. Complete service records in our shop since 1990, we purchased car back in 2009 after her careful 30,000 more miles.

Car is totally original, no rust ever. Convertible top new this year. There is one small ding in the passenger door. Leather and carpets all original, driver seat has rub mark where you slide in and out. Beautiful burl walnut interior has only one crack in the finish on the console piece near the shifter. All glass, head lights and tail lights perfect. Car was ordered new with a power antenna but no radio(common in Germany to fit your own radio), outdated Blaupunkt replaced with Sony ES AM FM CD and 2 extra Boston Acoustics speakers in lower deck. Drives absolutely superb, needs nothing. New battery and new Michelins within the last 1,000 miles. For my German customers this has code 620 KAT. We will assist with any transportation needs.

With the R107, very early and very late models tend to be the ones that bring the highest values, with the middle years staying a bit flat. The asking price of $19,000 is a bit steep, as 560SLs with similar mileage tend to command right about the same money, if not less in some cases. Since the 300SL was never officially imported, what price rarity, then? Silver on black is a desirable color combination for these roadsters, and with 60,000 miles and a good history, this car would easily last well into the six figure mileage range with proper care. I would say for around $15,000 or even a little bit under, it would be a good buy and potentially creep up in value as time passes.

-Paul

1986 Mercedes-Benz 300SL

The United States isn’t the best place to live if you are a foreign car enthusiast. The Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Transportation and Customs and Border Protection see to it through draconian regulations that interesting collector vehicles newer than 25 years of age can not turn a wheel on this soil. So then, Freedom of Car Choice is not something you will be seeing on the Bill of Rights anytime soon.

But, there is a small consolation. Vehicles from 1986 are now legal in this country, since they are over the 25 year old mark for legal importation. About two weeks ago, I featured a rather rare Mercedes-Benz 280SL with a 5 speed manual, but I lamented the fact that it didn’t include the later M103 inline six that saw duty in the revised 300SL that debuted in 1985.

Well, for anyone feeling bold, here’s a chance to have your very own 300SL via a seller in Augsburg, Germany.

1986 Mercedes-Benz 300SL on eBay Germany

77 pictures can be found in the photo gallery: http://s1233.photobucket.com/albums/ff399/300sl1986/

You are bidding on a R107 300SL in excellent condition. The vehicle was imported from the USA to Germany. The engine and transmission work is done very well and the vehicle is cleared and has German TÜV (inspection). The hood is in mint condition. The Mercedes has 103,221 miles (166118 km) on the odometer. The vehicle has a hardtop, the seats are very nice. All the carpets are clean and the air conditioning works. Electric windows, heated seats and electric antenna. Non smoking vehicle.

The car must be picked up within 7 days of auction end. 10% of the final price must be auctioned within 3 days after collection before auction end will be transferred to my account. No guarantee. The SL can be inspected before bidding.

I find it interesting that this SL was imported back to Germany from America, but it’s not too surprising, since a lot of gray market Mercedes-Benzes found their way stateside in the 1980s. This car is very attractive to me, because it eliminates a lot of the running costs associated with the larger V8 560SL, but retains all the classic looks of the R107. These vehicles weren’t all about speed to begin with and even with the 3.0 straight six, you won’t be lacking for power. Also, any vehicle that can pass Germany’s stringent Technische Überwachungsverein (Technical Inspection Association) tests is sure to be in decent enough running order. In sum, this is one classy looking roadster with a legendary model number on its trunk that is capable of offering many more miles of fun.

-Paul

1991 Mercedes 300SL *sigh*

We try to avoid posting utter monstrosities and crimes against nature but sometimes one sneaks in. Perhaps it is my soft spot for Mercedes that slipped this one through.

The seller boldly proclaims “THIS VEHICLE HAS BEEN UPGRADED” and they also claim, “WE HANDPICK ONLY THE FINEST VEHICLES” so I guess its all relative.

I’m not really sure what one would do with a car like this. It isn’t valuable enough to try and return to it’s former glory and the custom work has really limited the potential buyer pool.

The oddly placed aftermarket driving lights and the rainbow fleck paint aren’t what you normally would associate with a Benz, don’t forget the hood scoop(?!) either. The racing stripes shout class in case the gaudy steering wheel cover or Fast and Furious wing didn’t catch your eye.

I see this car parked in a high school parking lot in the near future.

With 123,000 miles the car has a no reserve ask price of $3,600.  Not a bad price, you could part the car out and make that much, but still I’m not sure this is going to see any bidders. The AMG rims are worth at least a quarter of that if they are genuine as the seller states.

Do any of you have a better suggestion as to where car like this will end up next?
Please don’t do this to your Mercedes.

~Evan

1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL, rare 5-speed manual

The passing of the R107 chassis Mercedes-Benz 560SL proved a turning point for the classic SL roadster. Gone was the heavy, boulavardier cruiser and in came a more technologically advanced, if heavier, model. Not only was the SL available with the new 5.0 liter, four cam V8, but Mercedes saw fit to equip the new model with the first ever inline six engine for the US market since the 1972 280SL, resurrecting the storied 300SL badge once again. Here we have a 300SL with the rare 5 speed manual option over at Quattroworld.com.

1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL 5-speed

The seller states:

75,523 miles. The turbo kit was used on this car and removed recently for smog.

Here is a video of a similarly equipped 300E with a Mosselman turbo installed:

R129 SLs have just about reached bottom when it comes to resale value, especially the earlier models. Going forward, clean ones are sure to appreciate, as we have seen with previous generations SLs as they age. While it would take the right kind of person to buy a 5 speed SL, there are very few out there and of those, I’m sure they have their following.

-Paul