1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL

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.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL on Hemmings

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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

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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. There is no end in sight for the values of W198s and this car will probably be one of the best ones we’ll see in awhile.

– Andrew

1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL in original condition

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We all dream about finding that holy grail in the barn, but it usually takes a lot of luck, years of tracking a rumor or lobbying a sometimes reluctant owner to sell off a vehicle that has been in the family for ages. Sometimes, though, you stumble across one, like I did with this 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing in original condition. This one is on sale from a German dealer but the car is currently located in the US. It’s not every day you’d shell out $1.4 million for a fixer upper, but they’re only original once. Will this car make a trek back to the homeland or will someone here on these shores snap it up before it shoves off to the port?

Click for details: 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL on Mobile.de

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1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL v. “1956” HMDE 300SL Replica

There are a lot of famous cars that I dream about owning but just aren’t realistic. I’d love a Lancia Stratos, for example. And a Porsche 917K. But since my bank account doesn’t currently contain quite enough commas in the balance statement to make that occur, they’re going to remain dreams. Of course, for reasonable amounts you can buy quite convincing replicas of these cars; Hawk makes a very good Stratos copy, and RCR makes one killer-looking 917K knockoff. While purists decry these fakes as degradation of the brand, when well executed I find these replicas really intriguing. They offer an opportunity for not only mere mortals to own them, but more importantly they offer people who would never get to see them driven a chance to experience the shape in the wild. Another such car that gets traded for the same amount as the GDP of some small African nations is the Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing”. Considered by many to be the first “supercar”, the 300SL’s performance and design was otherworldly in the 1950s and though it’s not the most expensive Mercedes-Benz model they remain firmly out of the grasp of any but the most well-heeled enthusiasts. Like many Ferrari models, Mercedes-Benz has carefully sought out and squashed any attempts at building replicas, and few that remain floating around look close to the original. But today I have both a stunning original example and a reasonably accurate replica that you could actually buy and drive. Is the replica worth spending money on, though?

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

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1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL – REVISIT

$_57

The stunning 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL I wrote up in March remains available for just under 2 million dollars. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a deal you’re not likely to find one soon as these Gullwings aren’t likely to depreciate anytime soon. So, as with last time, just enjoy the pictures!

The below post originally appeared on our site March 23, 2014:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL on eBay

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Dream-wing: 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

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:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL on eBay

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Sbarro Gullwing Mercedes 450SEL 6.9 powered

Here is an interesting situation. I posted this car on this blog almost exactly three years ago and now the car is back up for sale and the seller has copied the text of that post to use as description in the ad. Here is the original post.

Sbarro Gullwing Mercedes 450SEL 6.9 powered on eBay

1979 Sbarro 6.9016Year: 1979
Model: Sbarro Gullwing
Engine: 6.9 liter V8
Transmission: 3 speed automatic
Mileage: 9,100 miles T.M.U.
Price: Auction with a $21,995 Buy It Now

These are pretty unique cars and like many custom cars could be had in multiple flavors. What is surprising though is that Sbarro built the same car on different Benz chassis depending on the engine option that was chosen. This car having the awesome M100 6.9 liter V8 comes on the W116 chassis from the 450SEL.

While later twin turbo 5.0 liter Sbarro Gullwings could be had with a 5 speed manual, this car has the Mercedes 450SEL 6.9’s 3 speed auto built to handle the gobs of low end torque the powerplant generates.

We didn’t get mileage figures from that listing three years ago, but with the odometer showing just over 9,100 right now the car hasn’t traveled far. Pictures show the odometer listing 8,894 so the car has traveled a bit with this seller. The seller is calling that figure true mileage unknown, which is refreshing to see a seller actually come right out and say that. Chances are that mileage is accurate.

Three years ago this car had an ask price of an unreasonable, despite the rarity, $90,000. Now the seller has a much more sane $21,995. It appears the current owner is the same owner who had the car three years ago, but now the car appears to be at a dealer being sold on consignment. The seller gives the history of the car as being ordered by a member of the Seattle Supersonics before being sold to a Washington state businessman. The current owner purchased the car in 2002 and spent five years restoring it with a claimed $85,000 invested.

The underlying mechanical being from the 450SEL 6.9 don’t make finding parts quite on the level of unobtainium as you might expect with a custom coach built car. However it is worth noting that upon looking under the hood you can see the hydraulic reservoir that would indicate this car has maintained the 6.9s somewhat costly to fix hydro-pneumatic suspension rather than the far less complex, but ultimately not as cool or smooth, standard spring setup on the run of the mill W116 cars.

I had mentioned in the comments of my earlier post that I have documentation on previous sales of these cars. One of those sold in 2002 and I had thought it was a different car than this one, but with the seller of this one saying it changed hands in 2002 I could be wrong, how many Sbarro 6.9s changed hands in 2002. The photos don’t quite look the same. If the car is in as good an operating shape as it looks the price seems fair, look at what some W126 AMG coupes we have listed have sold for, twice this price. I have one of these changing hands at $40,575 so perhaps not an invest back then, but at this price making a little $ down the road seems much more likely. The car is just a bit too much of an odd duck with polarizing styling to bring the kind of money that similar era AMG cars have brought.

As I said in my previous post I’d probably axe those wheels and replace them with something more in line with the 80sriffic look, not because the wheels are on it are bad, but a car with such crazy 80s look styling needs wheels that also come from that time. I hope this car finds a good home, it is special and true Benz historians will recognize what it is. With bidding currently sitting at just over $7,000, I’m tempted to throw a bid in on this; as a 450SEL 6.9 owner, I appreciate the engine and I’m not holding out for the other famous tuner Mercedes Gullwing, the Isdera.

~Evan

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

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