Mercedes 300 SL W194 Hobel at Retromobile show in Paris

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Mercedes-Benz Classic will participate at the Retromobile Show in Paris, which will take place between January 31 and February 4, 2024, one of the largest classic car shows in Europe. The main attraction will be the one-off example of Mercedes 300 SL W194 Hobel.

The famous Mercedes 300 SL is the main theme of the Mercedes-Benz Classic at the Retromobile Show in Paris, which will run from January 31 to February 4. One of the highlights is a rare 300 SL racing prototype (W194/11) belonging to the Mercedes-Benz Classic collection.

In 1952, Mercedes returned to racing after World War II with the racing version of the Mercedes 300 SL (W194). Ten units were built, and 300 SL achieved a double victory in both the Le Mans 24-hour race and the Carrera Panamericana.

An 11th example of the W194 series was built in 1952 as a racing prototype for 1953. With a direct injection system, the engine developed 158 kW (215 PS), 29 kW (40 PS) more than the carbureted version. The transmission was installed in a transaxle configuration, a single-joint swing axle was used for the first time, the cooling air ducting was modified, the vehicle weight was reduced, and the suspension was revised. The modified font design with reduced frontal area earned the motor-racing car the nickname “Hobel”.

This unique example was completed in early 1953, but because Mercedes decided to return to Grand Prix racing in 1954, the Mercedes 300 SL W194 Hobel was not used in race at all.

However, some of the innovations implemented were later used. For example, the direct injection engine was an important forerunner of the one used in the production version of the Mercedes 300 SL Coupe (W198) from 1954.

Three Mercedes 300 SL Roadster (W198) for sale at Retromobile 

Three more Mercedes 300 SL Roadster models will be on display at the Retromobile show and available for purchase. These are three W198 examples produced in 1957, 1958, and 1962.

Mercedes 300 SL Roadster 1957

The Mercedes 300 SL Roadster, produced in November 1957, when the convertible version celebrated its premiere, is painted in graphite grey (DB 190). This color was chosen by 125 customers throughout the 1957-1963 lifecycle. The interior is upholstered in luxurious cream-coloured leather.

The car was purchased by Mercedes in 2006 and has been in numerous events until 2017, when it entered a 6-year restoration process until 2023.

Mercedes 300 SL Roadster 1958

The Mercedes 300 SL Roadster produced in 1958 was commissioned by a lady in New York and has a superb color combination: fire engine red paint finish (DB 543), ivory-colored leather upholstery, and a black fabric soft top. In 1997 it became the property of her niece. Subsequently, the car changed several owners from different continents, after which it arrived at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Centre in Fellbach, near Stuttgart, where it was restored from 2012 to 2020. The restoration work was 3500 hours.

Mercedes 300 SL Roadster 1962

The third model, a 1962 Mercedes 300 SL Roadster, was received by an American customer directly from the Sindelfingen plant, who sold it to a doctor in Oklahoma City in the early 1970s, who rebuilt the engine, painted it silver, and drove it regurarly until his death in 1987. It was subsequently refurbished by Mercedes-Benz Classic Centre Long Beach with original parts and is now offered for sale.