There aren’t many cars going around these days that carry the prestige of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing. A Beautiful mix or racing performance and design beauty, the Gullwing tends to sit at the top of many serious car collector’s lists. And, fortunately for you, there’s one for private sale on RM Sotheby’s right now.
The first inception of the 300 SL was in the form of the WI94 sports racer in 1952. This was a competition car, which was determined to put Mercedes-Benz on the map as a competitive racing company. Mercedez-Benz did just that when, in 1952, their car won both Le Mans and Carrera Panamericana. With these victories, the 300 SL WI94 gained unequal renowned for its driving ability across the world. It’s next frontier? The world of private road sales.
This frontier was headed by the American importer, Max Hoffman, who understood there was a strong potential market for the 300 SL. Although the car was tight and compact, it required a little more accessibility. Enter the roof-hinged doors and the title of ‘Gullwing’. This was an appealing look to American and European customers alike, who were keen to see what they could do behind the wheel of the 300 SL Gullwing. The car was introduced at the International Motor Sports show in New York in 1954, beginning a new era in road-worthy sports cars and securing Mercedes-Benz domination of that market.
This beautiful example was a result of Hoffman’s push to bring the 300 SL Gullwing to the roads. Adding to its prior driving excellence, Mercedes-Benz included mechanical fuel injection, increasing the power capabilities of the vehicle by 44 hp. The Gullwing can reach a top speed of 150 miles per hour (241 km/h), a very capable speed for the time and more than enough for today. This specific model was delivered to Max Hoffman’s dealership in New York in 1955 and has since accumulated a mere 82,395 km on the odometer. The current owner has been in possession of the 300 SL Gullwing for 20 years, adding a range of restorations including the reversal to this neat grey-silver colouring.
Inside potential buyers will find the blue-white criss-cross plaid of the seats, along with superb leather lining. And if that isn’t enough to get you over the line, this Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing will come with its own original two-piece luggage arrangement. The vehicle is currently offered on RM Sotheby’s website, listed as a private sale for $1,200,000 USD (roughly $1,698,136 AUD). Such a unique historical embodiment of the Mercedes-Benz brand will certainly be difficult to come by again.
For last week’s ‘Up For Auction’, see the 1995 Bentley Azure Mark I.