It’s a rare no-alarm Saturday in January. You arise with a yawn and stretch, pull back the curtains to reveal glorious sunshine hastily thawing the icy grounds around you. This is one of those mornings where the home coffee machine just won’t cut it, and a brief blast into the local town via some glorious roads is the only course of action. Heading down to the garage, followed closely by your four-legged companion, who is more than up for an adventure no matter the scale, you flick the light switch, illuminating the carefully curated collection of classics currently in your fleet.
The roads are still a little too unpredictable for the turbo lag of the F40, and you brush by the spaceship-like EB110, because there’s only one car that could, and should be driven on a glorious winter morning such as this. The drop-top styling, the gentle whir of its engine, the comforting clunk of the door as it surrounds you in plush leather and chrome; it could only be a Mercedes-Benz. But this isn’t just a Mercedes-Benz, it’s a 300 SL Roadster.
A shake of the head and you’re back to reality, but that dream-like scenario could be the Saturday morning ritual of a lucky few. However, thanks to Axel Schuette, it could be now yours too. Owning a car such as this is something of a privilege, it is a car that invites you to enjoy every moment behind the wheel and gives passers-by something truly jaw-dropping to look at. To Filip Baert, the car's current custodian, this super original 1959 300 SL Roadster is the jewel of his collection, and he perfectly expresses the feelings associated with owning such an iconic automobile: “The car is so special that you must see, feel, and smell it to understand how unique and rare it is. The problem is, I have been sitting by the car every day for a few hours over a few months and have fallen in love with it!”
This particular example was delivered new to its first owner in Madrid during the winter of 1959. It was ordered from the factory in this very colour combination of Ivory (DB608) with its lavish red leather interior. That colour combination has remained unchanged for its entire 64 year lifetime, and this SL still sports almost all its presumably original paintwork, as well as original seats and carpeting. Filip tells us more about just how special it is to find a 300 SL in this condition, “You can see from so many details that this car is original. Just the interior is so spectacular. The patina of the leather, the rubber mats, the cushions are still numbered, door seals are untouched and so on. I could talk about it for hours!”
Turning our focus to the exterior, the 300 SL Roadster’s sharp, shark-like side grilles give a beautiful contrast to the smooth lines that flow around the rear quarter. It’s a car that, despite being the successor to the famous and equally beautiful 300 SL Gullwing, somehow looks arguably even better without the roof. However, designing the Roadster wasn't as easy as simply sawing off the top, and much of the bodywork had to be reworked. The framework featured a flatter rear-end and a redesigned fuel reservoir, allowing the spare wheel to be stowed underfloor, giving the Roadster a proper boot and making it far more practical than other sports cars of the era. Its low-slung stance accentuates its road presence further, making it seem exceptionally long. In fact, its 4250mm length is identical to that of a Lamborghini Huracan, and we certainly know which one we’d choose out of those two.
The Ivory paintwork is a shade we rarely see on modern cars, despite it slowly making a comeback, thanks to Porsche’s PTS shade of Ivory. It’s a colour that works perfectly on the Roadster, harking back to 1950s, where pastel colours could be found just about anywhere; in fashion, furniture and of course, cars. Step inside this 300 SL Roadster and you’re greeted by one of the automotive world’s most stylish cabins. Its oversized, ivory steering wheel sits in front of only the essential driving instruments; a rev counter, speedometer and various gauges, the rest is neatly tucked away just below the line of sight, allowing the driver to focus on the road ahead.
With just 28,810 miles reading on the odometer, this SL is among the rarest of them all: a fully original, well-maintained, matching numbers machine that carries with it a lifetime of stories, ready to be enjoyed to the fullest once more. The 300 SL Roadster is a masterpiece of design, power, and presence from an era when Mercedes-Benz were the very best in the industry. Perhaps the best way to describe this car is to quote their own marketing slogan for the Roadster during its launch. “Only flying is better.”
This incredible example will make its appearance at the upcoming Retromobile Show in Paris on the 1st to the 5th February 2023 with dealer Axel Schuette, and will no doubt be one of the highlights of the show.
Photos by Sian Loyson © 2023