1954 MERCEDES-BENZ 300SL GULLWING
Chassis No. 198.040.45000 72
Engine No. 198.980 45000 74
Body No. 198.040 4500 72
Mercedes Red with black leather interior
Engine: in-line six cylinder, single overhead camshaft, 2,996cc., 240bhp at 5,800rpm; Gearbox: four speed synchromesh manual; Suspension: double wishbone front with coil springs and anti-sway bar, rear, swing axle with radius rods and coil springs; Brakes: vacuum-assisted four wheel finned drums. Left hand drive.
When Mercedes-Benz returned to motor racing in 1952, they dominated the major long distance sports car events with their futuristically styled 300SL race cars. Considerable pressure and a guaranteed 1,000 orders from the Mercedes New York agent convinced Stuttgart to produce a street version of the 300SL, duly launched at the New York Motor Show to ecstatic acclaim. It closely resembled the race car except that, with all-steel bodywork, appropriate road equipment and larger doors, it was even more stunning. To resolve the carburetor location problems, it was the first production car to have Bosch direct fuel injection, with a resultant increase in power to 240bhp.
These cars were not only sensational in appearance, but had a performance that only race drivers normally experienced. It was not surprising that such drivers were eager to buy them, and in order to extract the maximum performance, which ranged from 150-165mph depending on axle ratios, one needed their expert skills. The swing axle rear suspension and drum brakes did require considerable respect when driving on the limit. Even so, these highly specialized and very expensive cars sold amazingly well and 1,400 were hand-built in three years.
According to the Gullwing register, this particular example was originally delivered in light blue metallic with blue vinyl/blue plaid interior. However the color has since been changed to the attractive red with black leather combination. The car's previous owner reports to have owned the car for over 20 years. The vendor reports that the car is in good driving condition, having been regularly maintained by an independent Mercedes-Benz specialist. The odometer reads less than 38,000 miles. Notably the Gullwing is also equipped with factory optional folding wood Nardi steering wheel and Becker-Mexico radio. The 'detachable eye-brows' are evidence of the fact that this is a desirable early series car.
Overall, this Mercedes-Benz 300SL is reported by the owner to be in highly presentable condition. These spirited road cars with speed capabilities up to 150mph are timeless and cherished classics with among the most distinctive designs ever put to metal.