Monterey

18-19 August 2017

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Lot 251

1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster

  • Chassis no. 198.042.10.002607
  • Engine no. 198.980.10.002663
  • Body no. 198.042.10.00118

Sold for $1,375,000


Please note that Internet bidding is not available for this lot. Interested parties that are unable to attend the sale may register to bid by telephone or place a commission bid online at rmsothebys.com.

  • One of the finest 300 SL roadsters available
  • Immaculate, documented restoration by West Coast 300 SL experts
  • Three-time concours Best in Class winner
  • Original matching-numbers drivetrain
  • Includes correct tool set, owner’s manual, and set of matching fitted luggage


At the 1957 Geneva Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz introduced a new version of the celebrated 300 SL wearing open coachwork, the 300 SL roadster. In an early suggestion of the increasing focus the manufacturer would place on luxury cars over the ensuing decades, the new roadster was above all a more refined car than its gull-winged predecessor.

There was no denying the 300 SL’s mechanical performance, which had decidedly improved in the roadster, with the updated six-cylinder engine receiving the competition camshaft used in the NSL racing Gullwings, good for a lift of 20 horsepower. Handling also benefited from a revised rear suspension with a lower axle pivot-point, minimizing the Gullwing’s tendency for oversteer. Despite the added weight of chassis reinforcement required by an open model, the roadster was every bit the performance car that the Gullwing had proven itself to be.

The roadster’s overwhelmingly luxurious character, however, generally obscured its performance capabilities. With a reclining soft top, the model was never subject to the stuffy cabin issues that beguiled the Gullwing, and the roadster’s redesigned tube frame afforded lower door sills, facilitating far easier access than the Gullwing’s challenging ingress and egress.

Interestingly, the Mercedes-Benz data card, which is on file, notes that this particular car was originally delivered on 18 July 1960, to the distributor in Panama! It was equipped to American specifications with English instruments, sealed-beam headlights, a removable hardtop, black soft top, and Becker Mexico radio with a Reims III adapter. Previous owners are noted in the Gull Wing Group’s Roadster Registry as Fred Di Girato, in 1974, and Ronald Kellogg of Whittier, California, in 1975. Later it was acquired by John Sorrell of Santa Barbara, then by the current owner nearly a decade ago.

In its current tenure the car was fully restored by Classic European of Vista, California, with extensive mechanical work by longtime Gull Wing Group member Steve Marx of Costa Mesa, who rebuilt the brakes, valvetrain, cooling system, transmission, rear axle, and clutch. Cosmetic work was performed by the noted Hjeltness Restoration in Escondido, including a refitted top, panel gap adjustments, and new show-quality chrome. The body is finished in Medium Blue (DB 350), with a matching factory-correct hardtop and blue soft top, and a correct beige interior. Inspection of the numbers notes that gearbox and engine both match the Mercedes-Benz data card. “Euro” headlights, widely considered more attractive than the U.S.-specification versions, were fitted.

Since completion of the restoration, the car has been very well maintained, with light driving about once a month to maintain it in good running order. A consummate showpiece, it has been exhibited three times, at the Palos Verdes Concours in 2013 and 2016, and the Los Angeles Concours d’Elegance in 2009, winning Best in Class at all three events. No expense was spared in making the car one of the best 300 SL roadsters in existence, and then to keep it that way. Further, the car is accompanied by thorough documentation of the restoration work, detailed down to receipts for many of the necessary parts. It is also complete with a correct tool set, owner’s manual, two catalogues, a tonneau cover, and a two-piece set of matching fitted luggage.

An exceptional 300 SL roadster, this car is deserving of the most distinguished collection.

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 911. Barney l... 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. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... 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

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

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. ... 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