Mercedes 300 SL W198 1956 – Francja

Mercedes 300 SL W198, czyli slynny Gullwing, nie przypominał żadnego innego Mercedesa w historii, całkowicie odmienny jest również jego rodowód. Powstał na zamówienie amerykańskiego dealera, Maxa Hoffmana, który stwierdził, że rynek doskonale może przyjąć wóz zbudowany w oparciu o wyścigową konstrukcję. Był to strzał w dziesiątkę – ponad 1000 sztuk, co stanowiło 2/3 całej produkcji, sprzedało się w USA, stąd też pochodzi wóz licytowany 7 lutego na Retromobile. Odrestaurowany w latach 80-tych do dziś zachowuje świetną kondycję, co doskonale widać na klimatycznych zdjęciach Dana Savinelliego. Przewidywana cena: 875 tys.-1,1 mln euro.


Photo: Dan Savinelli

US title
Customs clearance required

Chassis n° 198.040.6500192
Engine n° 198.980.6500202
Carrosserie n° 198.040.6500188

– Legendary automobile
– Continuous history, original engine („matching numbers”)
– Superb presentation, original manuals, suitcases

The famous ” Gullwing ” doors that gave it its name, made this car a legend. The doors were not just for show, however, but the result of the structure of the chassis, which ran high on the sides to maximise its strength. With tubular chassis, six-cylinder engine with direct injection, dry sump, finned Alfin brakes, independent suspension and streamlined body, the Mercedes 300 SL was shaped by the race track.

It was demand from the US, however, that led to the introduction and success of this exceptional automobile. Even before the model appeared, Max Hoffman, the dynamic importer of numerous European marques to the US, put in a firm order for several hundred examples. It was not by chance, therefore, that the 300 SL was unveiled in 1954 at the New York Motor Show. The names of people who bought the new Mercedes form a veritable ‚Who’s Who’ of celebrities of the day : Pablo Picasso, the Shah of Iran, prince Ali Khan, Clark Gable, Tony Curtis, King Hussein of Jordan… without mentioning motoring enthusiasts such as Luigi Chinetti or Briggs Cunnigham. In 1956, a 300 SL would set you back 5.4 million francs, against 1.6 million francs for a Porsche 356 1600 Super. As for performance, the 300 SL totally dominated the road. It was rare, at that time, to find a car that could exceed 230 km/h safely and could cover 0 th 100km/h in under 9 seconds. The magazine ‚Autosport’ wrote : ” The appearance of the 300 SL is fabulous and its performance is almost incredible. ” This was one example amongst many rave reviews that accompanied the arrival of the 300 SL on the roads of Europe and America.

The Mercedes 300 SL on offer was delivered new to the US importer Max Hoffman on 28 July 1956, in black with red interior. The first owner was Mr Peter Regan from Las Vegas, Nevada, and there were two subsequent owners in the same region. During the 1980s, the car headed to California, where the upholstery was treated to a top-level restoration at Jack’s Auto Top in San Mateo. At the same time, the car was repainted metallic grey. The next owner, based in Arizona, used the car regularly in historic rallies. It is from him that the current owner acquired the car.

Today, this 300 SL is presented in an impressive condition. According to factory archives, the engine and body are original, in other words it has matching numbers. The body panels fit perfectly and there are no signs of corrosion. The engine compartment is incredibly clean and the six-cylinder fuel injected engine runs well, as does the transmission. Inside, the red leather interior is superb and the silver dashboard adds to the sportiness of the intimate cockpit. The car comes with its original manuals, two toolkits and custom made suitcases.

The 300 SL Gullwing is a legend in the history of the automobile. Over the last ten years, its value has risen steadily and this may only be the start of a considerable ascent. The „Gullwing” is recognised and admired by every generation. In terms of enjoyment, design, originality and price, it may be one of the best investments that can currently be made, making this a perfect opportunity to buy an example that comes with its original engine – not that common, original manuals and suitcases, and an excellent colour combination.

Estimation 875 000 – 1 100 000 €