Featured Auction - 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing
A six-cylinder engine with direct injection, finned Alfin brakes, independent suspension and streamlined body, the 300 SL was shaped by the race track
Estimate (€): 900,000 - 1,300,000.
Collection Mercedes-Benz France Original French car, exceptional provenance Fitted originally with Rudge wheels Original engine, gearbox, transmission and color combination 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. The top engineers at Mercedes-Benz had worked on its structure and, a marvellous discovery, the " butterfly " wings that gave the car its name were not just for show - they were the result of the chassis construction, which ran high up the sides to maximise its strength. What started as a constraint became one of the features that made this car an icon. This was well deserved and the fans weren't let down.
After it was unveiled in 1954 at the New York Motor Show, the names of buyers of the new Mercedes read like a true " Who's Who " of celebrities: Pablo Picasso, the Shah of Iran, Prince Ali Khan, Clark Gable, Tony Curtis, King Hussein of Jordan... without even mentioning motoring enthusiasts such as Luigi Chinetti and Briggs Cunningham. 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 to 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 Gullwing on offer left the factory on 18 December 1954 and was part of the very first examples (probably the sixth) destined for the French market and was delivered new to Mercedes-Benz Paris. It was liveried in silver grey (reference DB180) with blue leather upholstery (reference 333), and came with centre-lock Rudge wheels as it is still today.
While belonging to the Mercedes France collection, this 300 SL coupé has only been driven sparingly and was displayed at various events such as the Mondial de l'Automobile in 1998, and the Retromobile Show. It is a mechanically original example, in the original colours, with desirable specifications, and an mainly French history that includes 20 years in the ownership of Mercedes France.
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