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.

Addendum

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.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
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

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. He is a life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
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

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

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

jonathan@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
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

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more