1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster
To Be OFFERED AT AUCTION at RM Sothebys' Paris event, 6 February 2019.
€800.000 - €1.000.000
- Just three owners, including single ownership for 44 years
- Retains its original engine, gearbox and differential
- Restored in its original colours
- Offered with original service book, instruction manuals and spare parts book
Following the incredible success of the 300 SL Gullwing, Mercedes-Benz was eager to add a convertible version to its line-up. A prototype of this new model was spotted in the summer of 1956, whilst the production model would debut at the 1957 Geneva Motor Show. By the end of that year, the final 70 of the 1,400 coupés and the first 618 of the 300 SL Roadsters were assembled.
Along with a convertible top, the 300 SL brought a host of advancements to its predecessor. The central section of the Gullwing’s space-frame chassis was lowered, the sills were smaller, and the doors were enlarged to allow improved entrance and egress. Strength was maintained, with the addition of diagonal struts, which braced the lowered side sections to the rear tubular members. Revised suspension allowed for a more comfortable ride and improved handling. At the rear, the spare tyre was repositioned below the boot floor, necessitating a smaller fuel tank but also maintaining reasonable luggage space. Whilst these revisions added some 113 kg, with the majority of the weight being associated with the convertible top and its mechanisms, the car remained an excellent performer, with a claimed 137-mph top speed.
Just like the coupé, the Roadster proved to be the vehicle of choice for those with exceptional taste. Many featured in the garages of celebrities, racing drivers and other successful individuals. With a list price of $11,000, ownership of a 300 SL Roadster was a dream to most, but to those with the funds to spare, the car was worth every penny. For those looking to make a statement with the purchase of a new car, there was no better option available in 1957.
This magnificent 300 SL Roadster was delivered to its first owner in the U.S. during 1957 with a range of options, including the fire engine red exterior (534), light grey interior (955), drivers’ side mirror, fog lights, safety belts on both seats and a Becker Mexico radio. The first owner would retain the car until 1960. While the first few years of this car’s life are not well known, it is understood that the car resided in Hollywood and had covered just a few thousand kilometres by 1960, when it was acquired from a dealer by its second owner. Between 1960 and 1974, this second owner was unafraid to use his 300 SL as intended, adding around 100,000 km before it was consigned to a warm and dry garage – a place it would remain for the next 30 years.
In 2004, this 300 SL Roadster was acquired by the consignor (just its third owner) and was immediately serviced, with brakes, tyres and other consumables replaced as necessary, prior to its importation to Finland. The consignor exercised his 300 SL Roadster prior to its transportation to Germany, where it would be fully restored, retaining and repairing original components where possible and replacing where necessary. In total, around 3,800 hours of work was undertaken, over a period of one and a half years. The restoration included the addition of European-specification headlights. During November 2017, this 300 SL Roadster was sent for a full evaluation by Classic Data, with a detailed report on file, highlighting its exceptional condition and the originality of many of the components. In addition to this report, original service books and instruction manuals accompany the vehicle.
When it comes to 300 SL Roadsters, there are beautifully restored examples, and there are cars that are well sorted for fast driving. Offered here is the best of both worlds.To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/pa19.