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.…
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”.
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?
Following on to the 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL500 we featured yesterday to kick off convertible week, here’s that car’s grandfather: the 300SL Roadster. Painted in a similar hue of black, this example for sale in Los Angeles has lived there most of its life, originally being sold in Europe. This is an early build 300SL roadster on its fourth owner, having undergone a repaint in 1981 along with a few other items being refreshed.
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:
Walking along Park Avenue last weekend, I was thinking about the recently gutted Mercedes-Benz showroom designed by Frank Lloyd Wright at East 56th Street. It must have been a shock years ago for New Yorkers to pass by this shop and see a low slung roadster derived from racing technology sitting inside a space that foretold the forthcoming Guggenheim Museum that would open in 1959. The 300SL was a car in stark contrast to the fins and chrome of domestic vehicles of that era. We featured a 300SL Roadster last month during Convertible Week, and now another one of these graceful machines has come up for sale in Vancouver.
Model: 300SL Roadster
Engine: 3.0 liter inline six
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 113,464 mi
Price: $769,000 Buy It Now
1960 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster. Matching Numbers, US Specification, Two Tops, W198 II
Exterior: DB 439 G – Cream Paint (Body)
DB 442 G – Medium Brown Paint (Hard top)
Interior: 1079 – Red Leather
Delivered to: Toronto, Canada
Date Completed: September 3, 1959
Model: U.S. Version
Rear axle ratio 1: 3.89
This is a US model 1960 300SL Roadster with factory documented numbers-matching, big brakes, two tops (Hard top and Soft top) with a rare factory two-tone paint scheme. Additional features include a Talbot mirror, and an original set of period correct Marchal headlight lenses.
Originally, and still finished in DB 439 G (cream) with a DB 442 G (medium brown) hardtop, red (1079) leather and red carpets. The current paint shows very well. It was painted gold (tunis beige metallic) at some point in its life, and then returned to the original cream. The hardtop still shows a gold edge, but the medium brown paint is original and shows a nice patina.