1962 MERCEDES-BENZ 300SL ROADSTER
Serial No. 198042-10-002997
Engine No. 198980-10-003047
Body No. 198042-10-00259
Black with natural tan leather interior and black canvas soft top
Engine: six cylinder, in-line, Bosch mechanical fuel injection, 2,996cc, 240bhp at 5,800rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Suspension: independent front and rear; Brakes: hydraulic discs all round. Left hand drive.
The origins of the 300SL Roadster came from the stunning racing car, the Gullwing 300SL, introduced by Mercedes-Benz in the early 1950sca. The first of these space-framed race cars attracted a great deal of attention with their victorious performances in the Carrera Panamericana road races in Mexico and in major long distance European road races. After these race cars were officially retired, the pressure was on for a production model that has since become one of the most famous and recognizable sports cars of all time. The Gullwing production ended in 1957 making way for its 300SL roadster successor.
In contrast to the coupe, the roadster had the low-pivot rear suspension that improved handling and made for a far more comfortable and enjoyable drive. It featured conventional, front-hinged doors with wind-up windows and a folding soft top thereby making it more a convertible than a pure open top driver. It was debuted at the Geneva Show in the Spring of 1957. The new model roadster featured a higher compression ratio than the Gullwing and a mild competition camshaft. The multi-tube frame was redesigned to retain rigidity and also to allow lower cut doors to open in the familiar manner. Slightly heavy, the car was more powerful than the coupe and for the US market the rear axle ratio was changed to 3.89:1 allowing for a maximum 137mph. Other new changes included a revised instrument panel with the auxiliary instruments relocated between the speedometer and tachometer, as well as a new headlight design incorporating the main beams, fog lights and turn lights all in one unit. The 300SL roadster was greeted with much acclaim by road testers and the public and, despite a huge retail price (which in America was $10,970 list in 1957), the new Mercedes sold well from the outset. From 1957 to 1963, the full-model production of the 300SL roadster, 1,858 cars were produced.
In the six years of production, the roadster was continually updated, generally in minor detail such as improved ventilation of the seat upholstery, the fitting of a plastic liner in the fuel tank and modification to warm the radiator more quickly. To many, these changes were superfluous compared to the necessity for improved braking, and in 1961 Mercedes-Benz answered the public's demand by finally fitting Dunlop disc brakes on all wheels, as on the car offered for sale.
This 1962 Roadster, was ordered from new with factory-issued 'sport wheels' in chrome, a Becker Mexico radio and Nardi steering wheel engraved with the chassis number, as well as being fitted with the longer-legged rear-axle ratio of 1:3.42 and corresponding speedometer that reads up to 180mph instead of the standard 160mph, importantly the car retains all of these features today. Completing its desirable specification, the 300SL also comes with the rare option of matched fitted luggage.
It is understood that the roadster was originally supplied to a Four-Star General in Japan where it was a part of an extensive collection, and remained there until imported to America in the early 1980s by builder and real estate developer Norman Wolgin. The third and present owner purchased the car from Mr. Wolgin. The car is reported as having only traveling 36,000 miles since new, and it is clear that this roadster has fortunately been cared for and maintained by its limited number of owners, who have been keen to preserve the original state of the car, remarkably it still has its original paint and interior.
A handsome and original example of the coveted late disc-brake roadster.