SOLD 05/24

1960 Mercedes-Benz
300SL Roadster

Matching numbers 300SL Roadster with hard top, original interior, and just 31,000 documented miles supported by records back to 1963.

  • VIN198 042 10 002 538
  • Exterior ColorDB534 Fire Brigade Red
  • Interior ColorDB953 Black Leather
  • Mileage31449 Miles
  • Engine3.0L 6-Cylinder
  • Engine no.198 980 10 002 591
  • Transmission4-Speed Manual
  • StatusSold
  • StockFJ2858


1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
Chassis no. 198.042-10-002538
Engine no. 198.980-10 002591
Red with Black Leather Interior

History of the Iconic 300 SL Roadster

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster was among the most exotic offerings when it was first released. Rare and desirable, these traits have allowed it to remain at the top of premier collector and expert lists as one of the most important and iconic vehicles ever constructed. The 300 SL Gullwing and Roadster were each unique milestones of engineering and design excellence when first released in 1954 with the roadster following just three years later. Delivered with production fuel-injection (first of its kind), and achieving the world's fastest top speed, the 300 SL (S-Sport, L-Light) confirmed Max Hoffman’s challenge to Mercedes-Benz engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut – to build a Gran-Prix car tailored for road use.

Despite the impressive cost when new, demand for the gullwing was high, yet when it came to the growing US market, the roadster became a critical part of the legendary presence these cars would establish. Far more than a topless gullwing, the roadster was an entirely unique offering, sharing very few components with the gullwing while vastly improving on the shortcomings of the earlier design. The roadster was fortified with additional structural frame members and the side structure improved with traditionally hinged doors and larger openings. Further structural improvements resulted in greater torsional rigidity and better handling via single-pivot swing-axle rear suspension, improving the former gullwing bump oversteer. Other improvements included roll-up windows, increased horsepower, softer coil springs, and vastly improved larger drum brakes. These improvements made for a much more enjoyable road car without compromising the sporting nature of the race-bred original.

History of this 300 SL Roadster

Although any 300 SL is a rare car today, it has become increasingly difficult to find documented original low mile examples. Although a total of 1,858 roadsters were built from 1957-1963, a mere 249 roadsters were constructed 1960. This 1960 300 SL roadster is one of just a few surviving examples that has been carefully preserved while sensitively preparing a very handsome balance of originality and artful refinishing. The car has been documented with a Mercedes-Benz Classic Certificate confirming the factory stampings and number plates on the car today. Originally delivered in Fire Brigade Red with black leather interior, the car was optioned from the factory with the following features, also confirmed by the Certificate.

Folding black fabric top
Hardtop finished in black
Cover plate
US Version
Rear axle ratio 3,89
Becker radio set, Mexico
White wall tires

After delivery to North America on April 1, 1960, the car gradually accumulated consecutive miles with written documentation beginning at 10,950 miles, January 22, 1963, as recorded in a pocket-sized booklet containing numerous handwritten mileage and date notations. By the mid 1970s, this 300 SL roadster had accumulated 25,716 miles as noted in the last entry of the booklet. By the 1990s, the car had arrived at 300 SL restoration and preservation experts Hatch and Sons, Wayland, MA. Well respected in the 300 SL community, Hatch and Sons’ expertise has focused on originality and preservation. Much of these preservation efforts were carefully applied to this car in the late 1990s when the car retained both the original paint and original interior. The original interior was carefully removed, and the original leather selectively redyed with two coats of black dye while the original carpets were replaced with a correct new set for the cabin. The original trunk compartment carpet was retained along with the headliner lining the original removable hardtop. During the careful preservation-based restoration, with the original interior removed, the exterior of the body was stripped to bare metal, a minor area in the front of the car repaired, the surfaces prepped and primed, and painted in the correct shade of red. All chrome was redone, the fuel tank restored, the engine was freshened, and new fuel hoses, new filters, and new shock absorbers were installed. In April 2002, Hatch and Sons sold the car to the next owner. A former Massachusetts state title issued in 2002 indicates actual miles at 27,244.

In 2006, RPM, Vermont, performed a comprehensive 100+ hour mechanical service including removing the engine, removing the crankshaft, and inspecting it for wear. The crank was measured and inspected and found to be in good order, and reinstalled. The transmission and engine were resealed, the fuel injection rebuilt including the injector pump, along with a new diaphragm and a new plunger, and all injectors were rebuilt. The clutch, pressure plate, and release bearing were replaced, the radiator was re-cored, and the starter, generator, and water pump were mechanically and cosmetically overhauled. After completion, the engine was tested, valves adjusted, and the engine compartment was comprehensively detailed with cosmetic freshening including new decals and attention to wiring, hose clamps, and other ancillary items. Numerous service and restoration records on file span 1999-2010 under prior ownership. The current owner purchased the car in 2015 from Fantasy Junction and has since enjoyed it as part of a private collection of vintage sports cars with service needs managed primarily by an in-house mechanic. The odometer indicates 31,456 miles and is believed to be original to the car.

Condition and Features

Today this rare and beautiful matching numbers 300 SL roadster presents as a very handsome sensitively preserved example featuring the original interior, numerous original details, and responsive mechanical continuity. Importantly, this car is an excellent example of true restorative arts. The term “restored” applies here to identify original features that were retained and freshened not replaced. Rather than replace original components and lose the critical history of a low mile vehicle, this car retains all the original features, mechanical details, and matching engine and transmission, all of which have been preserved and restored, not replaced. The preservation efforts were performed with a great deal of care focused on maintaining original finishes consistent with factory quality and fitment. The gleaming red finish remains glossy and smooth with attractive presentation throughout. The doors, hood, and trunk gaps are factory correct with a distinct original sound opening and shutting with notable German precision. The hood and trunk open and shut easily with excellent part lines. The exterior emblems and lenses are in excellent condition including the H4 headlights. The chrome is in excellent condition with the front bumper showing light surface haze and some aging on the top corner surfaces. The painted wheels and wheel covers are beautifully finished with matching red wheel covers contrasting the sporty black-wall tires. The low fender line, sculpted speed blisters, and race-inspired side vents deliver a powerful presence to the low-profile design.

The interior has a very handsome and settled presence which speaks well of the longevity of the original finishes and quality of the selectively restored areas during the restoration. The beautifully contoured leather seats retain the original and distinctive Mercedes-Benz perforated seat insert material. The seats have a softly aged and settled presence to them, still firm in support, but welcomingly contoured through gentle use. The leather surfaces offer a pleasing contrast to the often-overdone replacement-focused restorations seen in many cars today. The black canvas top smoothly disappears into the hinged rear deck and latches into the windshield header with tight closure including a clear, taut rear window. The dashboard is beautifully presented with vivid instruments, excellent numeric indication, clear lenses, and finely maintained details including the original and unique center gauge cluster. The various detailed interior switches, levers, and knobs are in harmony with the light ivory steering wheel which matches the gear shift knob and horn center emblem. Further captivating details include the original Becker Mexico radio, rear speakers, and the delicate (often lost or incorrectly replaced) original ivory turn signal paddle. Even the original black leather dash pad has been thoughtfully preserved. Inside the trunk, the condition is consistent with the themes of originality with original carpets, correct details, and original trunk finishes. Overall, this car presents as a lovingly and professionally preserved example sensitively refined under dedicated ownership.

Under the hood, the correctly finished fuel-injected 300 SL engine delivers a presentation worthy of the iconic artistic and mechanical excellence. The engine compartment is clean and well-presented reflective of the quality of the restoration performed some years ago. Finishes are correct but not overly prepared, rather just right for the blend of originality and preservation. During the restoration, the fuel injection was rebuilt, and all ancillary engine features were restored. Correct finishes, proper fittings, and attention to detail is evident throughout the engine compartment, with numbers matching the Mercedes-Benz Classic Certificate. The correct air cleaner housing and fittings are in place along with correct engine decals, some of which have lightly aged through use.

The car starts on command and gently idles under proper warm up procedure. The engine is well tuned, and the gearbox engages easily in all gears offering smooth shifts and a properly sprung clutch. Suspension is quite pleasant on the highway with light steering, enjoyable passing power, and symmetrical braking with an even pedal when coming down from highway speeds. The chassis and underbody components are in very good condition with no significant issues and no visible signs of structural compromise. The integrity of the underside is consistent with the original features of this car in which time and modest miles have gently aged the original finishes over the past 64 years. The car is accompanied by a set of tools in a tool roll, owner’s manual set with tan plastic case, two sets of keys, the Mercedes-Benz Classic Certificate of Authenticity, and the original handwritten booklet documenting the early years of mileage.

One of the most exotic cars available when new, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster was a performance leader in all respects, brimming with innovative features, many of which would become hallmarks of modern engineering. Today these fast, beautiful, and exclusive cars continue to appeal to collectors and enthusiasts for their inherent beauty, exceptional build quality, and ease of use especially when it comes to vintage road events. But perhaps the most compelling feature of this 300 SL Roadster is the combined preservation, low miles, and very few owners. Cars of this provenance are not only rare, they are impossible to recreate. And, as many collectors are realizing this, the market has become more competitive especially with younger generations seeking the very best examples.

This authentic, sensitively preserved, and thoughtfully freshened, numbers matching 300 SL Roadster is ready for enjoyable driving, premier vintage road tours, or weekend travel, combining all the promises of superb luxury sport motoring with vintage elegance.

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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Fantasy Junction  •  510-653-7555  •  1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608