History: The Mercedes-Benz 300SL was the first iteration of the SL-Class grand tourer convertibles and fastest production car of its day. Internally numbered W198, it was introduced in 1954 as a two-seat sports car with distinctive gull-wing doors and later offered as an open roadster.
Built by Daimler-Benz AG, the fuel-injected production model was based on the company’s highly successful yet somewhat less powerful carbureted 1952 race car, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL (W194).
The idea of a toned-down W194 tailored to affluent performance enthusiasts in the booming post-war American market was suggested by Max Hoffman. As such, it was introduced at the 1954 New York Auto Show rather than the Frankfurt or Geneva shows at which other Mercedes models made their debuts. The “300” in its name referred to its three litre engine displacement, and “SL” stood for “Sport Leicht” (Sport Light).
The 300SL was best known for its distinctive gull wing doors, first-ever consumer fuel-injection, and world’s fastest top speed. The gull wing version was available from March 1955 to 1957, the roadster from 1957 to 1963. It was followed in the Mercedes line by the 230SL. via: vintage-machines.com.
300SL (“Gullwing”): 1954–1957, 3.0L I6, 215 hp (160 kW)
300SL (Roadster): 1957–1963 3.0L I6, 225 hp (168 kW)
190SL: 1955–1963, 1.9L I4, 105 hp (78 kW)
Today, the 300SL with its unique doors, technological firsts, and low production numbers is considered one of the most collectible Mercedes-Benz models, with prices generally in the US $700,000-1,000,000 range. Sports Car International Magazine ranked the 300SL as the number 5 sports car of all time. A pair of 300SLs for sale in 2009 were offered at over $1.3M USD from the Foxwood Collection. In 2012, an ultra rare 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL with an all aluminum body (only 29 made) was sold for US $4.62 million at the Scottsdale Auctions in Arizona. Via: self.gutenberg.org.
For more history and specifications visit: mercedes-benz.com; gullwinggroup.org; en.wikipedia.org; vintage-machine.com; self.gutenburg.org. For an idea on past sale history visit: supercars.net. For the Gullwing 300 SL Car Club information visit: gullwinggroup.org.
Today’s Top Market Finds!
1. 1986 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL – Recreation by Ostermeier
An Impressively accurate 300SL recreation by Tony Ostermeier listed at $267,500. For sale at Fantasy Junction Brokers in Emeryville, California.
The 300SL Gullwing is one of the most iconic classic cars there is, it is no surprise that they are well into seven figures now. They have always been desirable, rare, and expensive, and for this reason, Tony Ostermeier opened a facility in Gardena, California called Gullwing Car Company. There, approximately 50 hand-crafted and impressively accurate Gullwing recreations were built in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They are in fact so accurate and well-made that some of his reproduction parts were used during the restorations of genuine 300SLs.
For more information about this vehicle visit fantasyjunction.com.
2. 1999 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL – Recreation by Ostermeier
Another famous recreation by Tony Ostermeier. Listing price is $289,500. This 1999 Mercedes-Benz 300SL recreation is available at Gullwing Motor Cars in Astoria, NY.
Silver with striking red interior and only 19k miles showing. Tony Ostermeier is known for providing the best Gullwing experience for a fraction of the cost of an original. This car is powered by a Mercedes-Benz 3.0 liter 6 Cylinder engine mated to an automatic transmission. It also comes with reproduction luggage and tool kit. It comes with air conditioning, power steering, chrome wheels, and removable side windows. It drives excellent and is extremely smooth and quiet. The chrome is superb and the car has excellent panel fit and gaps.
For more information visit www.gullwingmortorcars.com.
3. 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing – Restored Original
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing exquisitely restored in it’s original color combination. Price not listed. For sale at Fantasy Junction Brokers in Emeryville, California.
This particular car is a matching-numbers example that was first sold in California in 1955 and remains its original color combination of DB180 silver grey metallic with blue plaid interior. It is a factory Rudge wheel car, and it retains its belly pans. It was completed on 28 March 1955, and dispatched on 31 March 1955 initially to Max Hoffman’s Mercedes-Benz Distributors, Inc. in New York City. It appears to have remained in California its whole life with few owners, including long term owner Charles Powell of Riverside, California, who owned the car in 1981 and sold it to another Southern California owner in Newport Beach in 2006. The car was fantastically solid and undisturbed at this time, and required virtually no metalwork during the ensuing restoration, which occurred from 2006 to 2008 and cost over $200,000. The car has been used sparingly since and has a number of features unique to early Gullwings, including the body number stamped upside down on the inner left fender well instead on the firewall, and welted fender eyebrows instead of molded in. It is also worth noting that the car is equipped with the tall 3.25 rear end ratio, which makes using the car in modern traffic quite a bit more relaxed than a standard car.
For more detailed information visit fantasyjunction.com.
4. 1955 Mercedes Benz 300SL – Restored Original
For sale in Southampton, NY at Adventura Motors for a list price of $1,800,000.
A 1955 Gullwing in extraordinary condition. This is an original California car, copies of service records and California registrations going back 50 years. Car was recently restored by an award winning in house restoration shop of a very large collector. Restoration is to the highest level, car repainted in its original color Light Green Metallic ( #274) using correct Glasurit paint. Interior was re-done in correct red leather, stunning matching luggage. Car has original pristine floors and belly pans. Car comes with service records, old California registration copies, and original owners manual. For information about this car visit aventuramotors.com.
5. 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing – Un-Restored Original
1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing is for sale at Gullwing Motor Cars in Astoria, NY. List price is $1,350,000.
This 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing is a marvelous time capsule that spent over 50 years under single family ownership. It’s an un-restored example with a beautifully preserved original interior. The car also runs and drives very well. It comes with it’s original Books, Becker Mexico radio, belly pans, jack, and a very impressive history file. The contents of the file include an original 300SL sales leaflet, ownership documents, period photos, and shipping and importation records from 1957 when it was imported to the US from Germany. It was originally finished in Silver Grey Metallic with Blue Leather and Plaid Upholstery. This charming 300SL would be any collectors dream to own.
For more information about this car visit www.gullwingmotors.com.