1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Race Car
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | New York, New York | December 10, 2015
The Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing” is one of the “must-have” collector cars for serious collectors. And serious collectors need only apply, because in recent years, prices for 300SLs have skyrocketed from around the $500,000 mark to an easy million. Total production of 300SL coupes was about 1,400 examples. Alloy (or aluminium-bodied) cars are highly sought after and very rare. But this is a different animal.
You’re looking at one of only four factory-prepped steel-bodied 300SL Gullwing race cars. Many Gullwings saw competition, usually in the hands of privateer weekend racers, but this is the real deal. Mercedes-Benz sent this car to their sporting department (or “Sportabteilung”) to beef it up to see what the stresses of racing did to their road car.
The engine is a 3.0-liter straight-six making an estimated 240 horsepower – more than a standard road cars. Other upgrades included a lower ride height, competition exhaust, better brakes, and more. Its factory race history is unknown, but it is believed that the car was used as a trainer by Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss, John Fitch, and others.
Mercedes sold the car to a guy in Paris who entered it in the 1956 Tour de France, in which the car finished second at the hands of Stirling Moss. The father of the current owner acquired the car in 1966. It sat for 40 years and was only recently “refurbished” to road-worthy condition. It has never been fully restored. It is the first of the four Sportabteilung Gullwings and one of only two known to still exist. It will likely become the most expensive 300SL to ever publicly trade hands. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Update: Not sold.