Amelia Island

9 March 2013

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Lot 119

1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster

  • Chassis no. 198.042-8500286
  • Engine no. 198.980.8500288

Sold for $792,000

225 bhp (DIN), 240 bhp (SAE), 2,996 cc overhead-cam inline six-cylinder engine, Bosch mechanical fuel-injection, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with upper and lower A-arms and coil springs, independent rear suspension with coil springs and swing axles, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5 in.

  • Well-restored in desirable colors
  • Rudge wheels, fitted luggage, and factory hardtop
  • European headlights

The original Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing” Coupe made its exit in 1957, succeeded by an open Roadster model that debuted at that year’s Geneva Salon. Converting the famed racing-bred coupe to an open convertible meant dispensing with the famed upward-opening door and redesigning the chassis, which was strengthened significantly to compensate for the loss of the roof structure. Headlamps were changed, the grille was smaller, and a chrome molding was added below the doors. A new camshaft and higher compression boosted the famed, racing-derived, twin-cam six-cylinder engine’s output to 225 brake horsepower, and its revised rear suspension now boasted a compensating spring, which was added to reduce the over-steering tendencies of the Gullwing’s single-jointed swing-axle arrangement.

Enthusiasts who may have worried about the 300SL going “soft” had absolutely nothing to concern themselves about. The Roadster remained among the fastest automobiles on the road, capable of 133 to 155 mph, depending upon the final drive ratio specified. Production continued into early-1963, and with 1,858 built, the Roadster proved even more popular than its Gullwing predecessor, while still remaining exclusive enough to be rarely seen—and it was still incredibly powerful. Like the earlier coupe, it was, in its day, the car in which to see and be seen, and it was favored by celebrities, racing drivers, and just about anyone who appreciated fine machinery and had the bank account to acquire it. As with all great automobiles, it has retained that same persona to this day, and it remains among the world’s most desired cars.

The example offered here is documented by its original Mercedes-Benz data card, a copy of which accompanies it today. It is exactly what the knowledgeable buyer seeks in an early Roadster, a quality restoration in desirable colors, with all of the accessories that one could desire. Performed several years ago, the restoration saw the car finished in metallic silver-blue with tan leather upholstery, and with all interior components properly restored in the correct materials and finishes. A new dark blue soft top is fitted.

Importantly, this car is equipped with racing-style Rudge knock-off wheels. Something of an icon of 1950s Mercedes performance, these wheels were popular and desirable on the Gullwing, especially those examples that saw track use, but relatively few Roadsters were fitted with them—making the set on this car rare indeed. The car is also equipped with a full set of fitted luggage, ideal for touring in a Grand Tourer, especially one with, as on the 300SL Roadster, an unusually-shaped luggage compartment. The crowning touch is a removable hardtop in dark metallic blue, which contrasts nicely with the lighter body panels. The Roadster’s factory removable hardtop was designed “into” the car, so that unlike many removable tops, which appear awkward and out-of-place when installed, it appears right at home and produces a beautiful, snug closed coupe. In fact, it almost recalls the Gullwing.

As an original U.S.-delivery car with bumper guards, in addition to its “triple crown” of options, this car is equipped with a later upgrade to European-style single-lens headlamps. Many feel that this improves the overall appearance of a Roadster, and here, the lenses are fresh and beautiful. The original firewall data tag remains present on the car. The 300SL rides on sports racing tires with a period-correct appearance and shows 21,000 miles.

Today, the 300SL Roadster still carries with it an indelible aura of speed, power, and sophisticated style. Fast enough for the sports car lover, and comfortable enough for those who demand to luxuriate, it has remained one of the most desirable automobiles in the world for nearly 60 years. The car offered here presents with an unusual, desirable selection of options and accessories, which combined with a beautiful restoration in an outstanding choice of colors, makes it one of the most desirable examples still on the road.


Please be advised that the actual horsepower rating of this car is 215 bhp, not 225 bhp as stated in the print catalogue.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo

Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby's in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born ... read more

Annette Abaci

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With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney Ruprecht graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a degree in Hospitality Administration. In ... read more

Dan Warrener

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Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a car specialist in May 2015. He is a lifelong automobile enthusiast and g... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Sotheby's in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and re... read more

Ian Kelleher

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New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Sotheby's in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in ... read more

Jake Auerbach

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Ontario, Canada

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

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Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a restoration shop as a teenag... read more

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Indiana, United States

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Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby's, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Gra... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his ho... read more

Peter Wallman

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United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

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Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a car specialist. A... read more