1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL

300 SL Gullwing

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1955
  • Car type 
    Other
  • Chassis number 
    198.040.5500278
  • Lot number 
    152
  • Drive 
    LHD
  • Condition 
    Used
  • Interior colour 
    Other
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Other
  • Fuel type 
    Other

Description

German title

- Original matching numbers engine
- Sold new with Rudge wheels
- Paul Russell restoration
- Superb original upholstery
- Legendary model

Tubular chassis, six-cylinder engine with direct injection, dry sump, finned Alfin brakes, independent suspension and streamlined body, the Mercedes 300 SL was shaped by the race track. The top engineers at Mercedes had worked on its structure and, a marvellous discovery, the " butterfly " wings that gave the car its name were not just for show - they were the result of the chassis construction, which ran high up the sides to maximise its strength. What started as a constraint became one of the features that made this car an icon. This was well deserved and the fans weren't let down. After it was unveiled in 1954 at the New York Motor Show, the names of buyers of the new Mercedes read like a veritable " Who's Who " of celebrities of the day: Pablo Picasso, the Shah of Iran, Prince Ali Khan, Clark Gable, Tony Curtis, King Hussein of Jordan... without even mentioning motoring enthusiasts such as Luigi Chinetti and Briggs Cunnigham. In 1956, a 300 SL would set you back 5.4 million francs, against 1.6 million francs for a Porsche 356 1600 Super. As for performance, the 300 SL totally dominated the road. It was rare, at that time, to find a car that could exceed 230 km/h safely and could cover 0 to 100km/h in under 9 seconds. The magazine 'Autosport' wrote : " The appearance of the 300 SL is fabulous and its performance is almost incredible. " This was one example amongst many rave reviews that accompanied the arrival of the 300 SL on the roads of Europe and America.
The Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing in the sale left the factory on 30 April 1955, originally red (DB534) with black leather interior. It spent the first part of its life in the United States, passing from the ownership of John Harkness to Donald Koleman, both from Massachusetts, before returning to Europe and into the Mannheimer Collection in Zurich. During the 1990s it joined the collection of a Mr Ebel, in Germany, and following his death, it was sold to the current owner some twelve years ago. During its stay in the US, it benefitted from a thorough restoration towards the end of the 1970s in Paul Russell's workshop. It must be remembered that these people are amongst the best in their field, and Russell is a knowledgeable and talented enthusiast, who goes to great lengths to ensure that cars leaving his workshop not only look stunning and conform to the original but are also in perfect driving condition. Furthermore, the quality of this restoration is evident from how well it has resisted the passing of time. Today, the car is still superb and the metallic grey tint suits the car perfectly. It retains its original black leather upholstery (code 953) that is particularly well preserved, with a patina that prevents it from looking too new, which some restorations can suffer from. Mechanically, the car is original, with the original engine (matching numbers) as well as the desirable Rudge centre-lock wheels that came with the car when new.
Visibly well preserved and meticulously maintained, complete with its original engine, this 300 SL is certainly one of the most attractive examples on the market today.