1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1955
  • Car type 
    Coupé
  • Lot number 
    46
  • Drive 
    LHD
  • Condition 
    Original condition
  • Number of seats 
    2
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Grey
  • Drivetrain 
    2wd
  • Fuel type 
    Petrol

Description

French title
Chassis n° WMX1973771A003961
Engine n° 15998060004055

Collection Mercedes-Benz France
Original French car, exceptional provenance
Fitted originally with Rudge wheels
Original engine, gearbox, transmission and color combination

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-Benz 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 true "" Who's Who "" of celebrities: 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 Cunningham. 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 on offer left the factory on 18 December 1954 and was part of the very first examples (probably the sixth) destined for the French market and was delivered new to Mercedes-Benz Paris. It was liveried in silver grey (reference DB180) with blue leather upholstery (reference 333), and came with centre-lock Rudge wheels as it is still today.
The history of this car is well known. It was lately registered for the first time in the name of Garage Richard in the 18th arrondissement of Paris on 13 August 1959. It was then acquired by Louis-Ronald Tengri d'Udaya and stayed in Paris until the latter moved to Mexico City and sold the car. After several other owners (list available in the file), the car was purchased by Roger Cucchi, a sports car enthusiast, in 1964. In July 1967 he moved to Fort de France in Martinique and took the car with him. The car was registered 242 PX 972. The 300S SL was only driven a few years before it was shipped back to France. The car was then purchased by Mr. Carré, a collector from Saint-Tropez, before it entered a Swiss collection. When bought by Mercedes-Benz France on 15 April 1994, the car was based in Mulhouse, at one of the brands' distributors named Feibelmann with a registration dated 21 January 1987.
In 2010, it benefitted from a major mechanical service. The clutch was replaced, the brakes overhauled and four new shock absorbers fitted. Upholstery to the seats and dashboard was also refurbished that year. The complete work adds up to €35,000. In 2015 the ignition system was checked. It appears that at an unknown date the car suffered an impact on the left, requiring the replacement of the interior of the left front wing as well as the tubular section where the chassis number and the manufacturer's plate once were. Mercedes-Benz France has thus proceeded in stamping the chassis number on the replaced section.
Today, the car is a fantastic restauration project with the advantage of being mechanically original (engine, gearbox and transmission). The original engine reads the letters NSL, a reference relative to the engine's preparation, yet this cannot be confirmed since there is no mention of this on the car's Datenkarte. It has the patina of an older restoration, with some defects and areas of important corrosion on the body. The chrome is in average condition and the engine bay is clean and well kept. Inside, repairs to the upholstery and rooflining seems to be conform to the original. We note the presence of two blue leather straps to attach luggage to the rear seat. The VDO instruments and clock on the dashboard are in good condition. The car is fitted with an alarm, a key-operated battery cut-out in the passenger compartment and has engraved windows. The Michelin XUS tyres show only slight signs of wear. The car comes with its jack and will be delivered with an inspection report from 2015 and a ""Spare parts list Edition C"".
While belonging to the Mercedes France collection, this 300 SL coupé has only been driven sparingly and was displayed at various events such as the Mondial de l'Automobile in 1998, and the Retromobile Show. It is a mechanically original example, in the original colours, with desirable specifications, and an mainly French history that includes 20 years in the ownership of Mercedes France.