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.
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.
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 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?
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?
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:
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:
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.
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.…
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.
Engine: 3.0 liter inline six
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 450 mi
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.
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.