1961 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL
Year of manufacture1961
Number of seats2
Chassis nÂ° 198042-10-002734
Engine nÂ° 198980-10-002806
- Exceptionally original condition, carefully maintained
- Just three owners
- Original engine and colour
- Original service book, toolkit
- French from new
The condition of this car is as extraordinary as its history. The original service book tells us that it was sold new by the garage ElysÃ©es Ch.-F. Delecroix to his first owner from Neuilly and changed hands six months later. The second owner, a Parisian industrialist, used the car to drive from Paris to his chÃ¢teau in Bretagne, and continued to drive it regularly until the start of the 1970s. In 1979, when the odometer showed just 60 000 km, the car was acquired by the current owner and so has been in the same hands for 37 years !
One of the first members of Club Mercedes France and designer and maker of aeronautical models, the current owner has taken the utmost care over the maintenance and preservation of this automobile. In 1980 he attended a week's course at Mercedes Stuttgart exclusively about the 300 SL to learn how to carry out the routine maintenance tasks. This enabled him to check and change the oil (engine, gearbox and axle), check the injection pump, adjust the ignition and valve clearances, change the oil/fuel/air filters and replace the cooling and brake fluids.
For more ambitious tasks the car was sent to a specialist. In 1980 it was given a thin layer of paint (in the original graphite colour DB190), to revive the slightly faded appearance. In 1981 it went to Kienle Automobiltechnik, the top model specialist in Germany. As a precaution, the engine was fitted with new pistons, new valve train and rocker arms, as on the last 300 SL models. The workshop also installed Dunlop front disc brakes (as Mercedes subsequently made standard). The original drum brakes have been kept and it would be possible to reverse this. The original " steel-wool " air-filter was replaced by a more efficient paper cartridge, and an easier to replace screw-type oil filter was fitted.
In 2011 the car went back to Kienle for a more extensive inspection and certain improvements recommended by the specialist. The work carried out for a cost of 50 000 â¬ included replacing the clutch and the windscreen, work to the rear brakes, replacing axle bearings and gaskets, fitting electronic ignition (the original system with dual breaker is difficult to adjust, and the modification is not visible). Additionally, the oil and water radiators were replaced with original parts, the injection checked, and new Dunlop SP Sport tyres and carpets were fitted. Since this work was carried out, the car has covered about 5 000 km, and the current mileage is 160 000 km. This means that the current owner has covered some 100 000 trouble-free kilometres.
The level of care taken to maintain the car regularly, and the high standard of major work carried out has ensured that this 300 SL is presented today in rare condition. The bodywork has been very well preserved, all openings aligning beautifully. Inside, the upholstery displays a discreet patina in line with the mileage, and the door sills and armrests show the wear and tear expected of a car that has been used regularly. A Becker radio is fitted and all equipment is original and un-restored. Just the hood and carpets have been replaced. The car handles like a modern car, as we were able to observe on a test drive on the back roads, with a smooth, versatile driving style that allows passengers to enjoy the special qualities of the Roadster.
It comes with its " Daten Karte ", confirming that the engine and colour of the bodywork and upholstery are original. Please note that there is an administrative typing mistake, a zero is missing on the chassis number on the registration document. Also included is the owner's manual, service book recording regular services up to 1970 and original toolkit. An original suitcase provides the finishing touch.
With just three owners from new, this car has the advantage of having been driven regularly and carefully throughout its life. It has not required restoration and is thus presented in wonderfully rare condition. In addition to this attractive appearance, the car is ready to go wherever the new owner desires, to the powerful roar of one of the most modern six-cylinder engines of its time.