1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL
Year of manufacture1958
Car typeConvertible / Roadster
Chassis # 1980427500641
Engine No. 198.980.7500665
- High quality restoration, very well preserved
- A reliable car thoroughly developed
- A very desirable roadster
- Original engine
With a tubular chassis, a six-cylinder direct injection engine, dry sump, finned Alfin brakes, independent suspension, and a very streamlined body, the Mercedes 300 SL was derived from racing. The best of Mercedes-Benz engineers from the period were involved in the development and the amazing and innovative "gullwing" doors that gave the car its name, were not purely aesthetic, but a necessity that arose from the strong space frame with tubes running along the flanks, to give the greatest rigidity. What was a constraint was turned into one of the features that would contribute to making this car a legend. After its dramatic unveiling in 1954 at the New York Auto Show, the list of buyers for Mercedes' latest was a veritable "who's who" of the celebrities of the period: Pablo Picasso, the Shah of Iran, Prince Aly Khan, Clark Gable, Tony Curtis, King Hussein of Jordan... not to mention car enthusiasts such as Luigi Chinetti and Briggs Cunningham. In 1956, the cost for a 300SL is 5.4 million French francs, against 1.6 million for a Porsche 356 Super 1600. Regarding the performance of the 300 SL, Auto Sport magazine highlighted: "The line of the 300 SL looks fabulous and it has an almost unbelievable performance" was one of many complementary articles that accompanied the arrival of the 300 SL on to the roads of Europe and the United States. However the Mercedes 300 SL "Gullwing" had some drawbacks: the passengers had to suffer unbearable heat and getting in into the car was not the easy for an elegant lady wearing a long dress. Under pressure from US importer Max Hoffman, Mercedes-Benz decided to launch at the Geneva Salon in 1957 a roadster that was more pleasant to use, an ideal compromise between the sporty pedigree of the "Gullwing" and a high level of comfort.
The car we are offering has enjoyed a high quality restoration 25 years ago and remains in an exceptional condition. We understand from our sources that the car is of Italian provenance and originally was in a DB40G shade of black. It was the same colour when it was purchased in 1989 in California at an auction by the current owner. The car then went into a complete restoration process, using the finest of craftsmen, supervised by the mechanic of the owner. The original engine was entrusted to Bernard Pigelet, of Racing Diffusion, at Levallois, as was the gearbox and the rear axle. The tubular frame was stripped, galvanized and treated with epoxy paint. The body had the same treatment at the Kérambellec garage, in Buc, with complete sandblasting and beautiful grey color paint. The wiring harness was completely controlled and all electrical accessories refurbished. The upholstery was completely restored in beautiful dark green leather and the carpets were redone in wool with leather trim. The reassembly was done to an extremely high standard and the adjustments are impeccable. The dark green hood is unmarked. Although a modern car radio has been fitted, the car is sold with its period radio and a tool kit, in a pouch of the same leather as the interior, equipped with period Mercedes tools.
Since this very meticulous restoration, the car has covered just over 6000 miles. The car received regular maintenance to be always ready to be driven; only the brake booster was changed last year. In the registration document, there is a small mistake that can be easily rectified: the 7 (198042 7 500665) has been forgotten (198042 500665) in the chassis number.
A very memorable test drive allowed us to enjoy the splendid sound of the engine, thanks to its stainless steel exhaust system. The engine is well tuned, the suspension is firm but not too hard, the steering system (rebuilt during the restoration) allows for very precise driving and the gearbox is very smooth. This Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster is a brilliant car for the true enthusiast and the way the car has been restored and prepared will allow the new owner to enjoy this exceptional machine's driving qualities to the full. To see all the pictures: http://www.artcurial.com/fr/asp/fullcatalogue.asp?salelot=2870+++++157+&refno=10542696#sthash.40sCKn0T.dpbs