At the auction organized by the famous Sotheby’s auction house on January 27, 2022, in Arizona, three Mercedes 300 SL models are offered: a Mercedes 300 SL Roadster and two Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing. One of them is more special and costs between 7 and 9 million USD.
A restored Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing normally costs between $ 1.3 million and $ 1.5 million today. There are also copies that are sold at slightly higher prices if they belonged to a star because among the owners of 300 SL Gullwing were also movie stars such as Tony Curtis, Romy Schneider, Clark Gable, Gina Lollobrigida, famous racing drivers like Juan Manuel Fangio or kings and princes. For example, Clark Gable’s car was auctioned off in 2013 in Arizona for $ 1.85 million.
But Sotheby’s estimates the value of this Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing, which will be auctioned on January 27, 2022, in Arizona between $ 7 million and $ 9 million. Why so much?
Of the 1,400 coupe models produced between 1954 and 1957, only 29 had an aluminum body. and this auctioned one is one of the 29 models with an aluminum body.
Clients could order the car with an aluminum body. Thus, Mercedes sent the tubular frame to the racing department that changed the steel body with an aluminum one, and thus the car’s kerb weight was reduced from 1310 to 1203 kg.
This Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing is special not only for its body but also for its engine. The first owner also ordered a slightly more powerful NSL engine with modified camshafts and a higher compression ratio which led to an increase in power from 215 to 240 HP. Only about 280 units received this more powerful engine, of which only a few have this combination – aluminum body and more powerful engine.
Therefore, this Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing is super exclusive and thus justifies the asking price.
The coupe versions have a chassis series starting with 198040. The ones with the aluminum body are distinguished by the body series starting with 198043.
The model with aluminum body offered at the auction on January 27 has the body series 198043.5500332.
The Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing offered at the auction on January 27, 2022 is the 13th of 24 with an aluminum body produced in 1955 and was ordered by the racing driver and Mercedes representative in Casablanca, Morocco, Joseph F. Weckerlé. The model came out from the production line in Unterturkheim on May 27, 1955, and was delivered two weeks later. Sotheby’s estimates that it was the only 300 SL delivered in Africa.
It has an aluminum body and is finished in Silver Gray Metallic (DB 180) over a blue vinyl / blue gabardine fabric interior (L1). Additional factory specifications include a full complement of desirable features such as the high-speed 3.42 rear axle with uprated metric 270-kph speedometer and Becker radio.
The car was bought in 1962 by Mercer D. Helms of Montgomery, Alabama, and was brought to the United States. In 1975 it was resold to Jack Jr. of Dallas, Texas, who sent it for restoration to the world’s largest 300 SL restaurateur, Paul Rusell and Company of Essex, Massachusetts. The restoration operation cost $ 45,000 ($ 172,000 today).
After the restoration, the car was bought in 1982 by Hyatt Cheek, who was director-at-large on the Mercedes-Benz Club of America’s (MBCA) National Board. Hyatt drove the car to various events organized by the MBCA. In 2014, the car was resold for the fourth time.