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1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

Exquisitely Restored Matching Numbers Original Rudge Wheel Example in Its Original Color Combination

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sold

VIN 198042.55.00184
Exterior Color Silver Gray Metallic
Interior Color Blue Plaid
Mileage 87760 Miles
Engine 3.0 Litre 6-Cylinder no. 198.980.5500205
Transmission 4-Speed Manual
Status Sold
Stock FJ1727

Comments

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing
s/n 198.0405500184, engine no. 198.9805500205
Silver Gray Metallic with Blue Plaid Interior

The 300SL was one of the most exotic cars available when it was new. Directly descended from racing cars, and chock full of innovative features, they were fast, beautiful, and expensive. Arguably the first 'supercar' ever (others claim that honor should be bestowed upon the Lamborghini Miura), the 300SL has also been described as the McLaren F1 of its day. Thanks to Mercedes' development work during World War II in aircraft engines, the300SL became the first production car with fuel injection, and the light but strong spaceframe necessitated the now legendary and often copied upwards opening doors. The result was a stunningly beautiful but also functional car that was, depending on gearing, the fastest production car in the world. Surrounded by separate frame carbureted contemporaries, the SL was truly a glimpse of the future and remains today a very special car indeed. Its appeal is timeless and consequently, 300SLs have remained blue-chip collector cars that are always in demand and perhaps even culturally embedded as one of the most iconic and greatest cars of all time.

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.

The car makes a superb cosmetic impression. The body is extremely straight and displays excellent gaps. The paintwork was done to high standards and is virtually unmarked, just a few small chips on the front of the car from road use. The wheels were beautifully restored and wear Pirelli Cinturato tires, a neat vintage touch. The car also wears its black California license plate, which shows a bit of wear and was issued to this car in the mid 1960s. The chrome and brightwork are excellent, with only the lightest of wear, and the glass and lights are also in freshly restored condition.

The interior was also restored to high standards with correct square weave carpets and plaid upholstery. The rubber mats on the floors are also correct, as is the grey fabric headliner. Virtually all components are in excellent, as-restored condition with essentially no wear. The dashboard, including the leather trim and the chrome, is excellent. The instruments are in very good condition, with some slight discoloration to the markings. The steering wheels has a few very small hairline cracks.

The engine compartment’s presentation is consistent with that of a car that was comprehensively restored and used minimally since. The presentation is generally correct, with glass windscreen fluid reservoir, correct decals, and correct cast metal intake manifold. The valve cover paint is slightly glossier than it would have originally been. The firewall is well-detailed. The trunk was restored and is purposeful in appearance, with no upholstery. The date code matching Rudge spare wheel is present, as is the original jack. The undercarriage is excellent, retaining the belly pans in excellent order, which often are discarded on Gullwings because they impair swift access to mechanical components. A new stainless steel exhaust was fabricated for the car during its restoration.

The car is a pleasure to drive and serves to remind the driver why the 300SL is such a legendary car. The performance and ease of use are on par with a much newer car, and indeed, the 300SL was among the fastest standard production cars one could buy in 1955. This car, with its tall 3.25 to 1 differential ratio and belly pans, would be among the fastest 300SL specifications available, reportedly good for more than 160mph. The engine of this starts easily and runs well from cold, and is particularly smooth and well-behaved at temperature. It pulls cleanly and sounds great. Some edge in acceleration has been exchanged for a wonderfully relaxed cruising experience, and the car effortlessly hums at 80mph where a standard Gullwing feels a bit manic. The gearbox is a pleasure to use, with a precise yet robust feel and linkage. The suspension and steering are capable and confidence-inspiring, in addition to being very communicative. The brakes have good initial bite and stop the car authoritatively. Overall, the car has a has a superb coherent and satisfying feel that inspires the driver to go on a 1000 mile drive across the European countryside.

This is an exceptional opportunity to acquire a very high quality Gullwing. Finished in its lovely original color combination and retaining its original engine, desirable Rudge wheels, and belly pans, the car is complete, correct, and desirably equipped, making it a truly top drawer example for the connoisseur seeking a no-excuses Gullwing that is aesthetically stunning and in turnkey mechanical condition. Its rear end ratio makes it an ideal touring car, and indeed, it is eligible for a wide variety of prestigious events around the world. The car comes with matching Rudge spare wheel, tool roll with tools, jack, a thick file of invoices from the restoration, a handful of earlier documents (including a 1981 appraisal for $40,000), reproduction instruction manual and bag for the side windows.


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

 


Contact Information
Fantasy Junction +1 510 653 7555 Emeryville, California 94608 USA

The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.

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