A 1955 model that's been in a private collection for nearly 40 years is currently being auctioned off by Dorotheum. In its time, the SL was the fastest production vehicle in the world, which makes sense given that the 300 series was initially created to compete in Formula One.
Mercedes-Benz adopted gullwing doors on the racing version of the 300 SL three years earlier to save weight and maximize the potential of its 170-horsepower engine. It went on to win titles at the Nurburgring, Carrera Panamericana and Le Mans throughout 1952.
The racing prototypes gave birth to just 1,400 mass-produced SLs equipped with fuel-injection technology that bumped power up to 215 hp. Other slight changes were made to make it driver-friendly.
Dorotheum has further details:
The SL was given bumpers, and to save money, the light alloy was dispensed with apart from for the bonnet and doors. The gear-box was returned to the front of the car, by the engine. However, the engine was the same injection-based racing unit from the prototypes. It was rocket science when compared to everything else trundling down the roads.
It was cloaked in this most traditional of colors, as were almost 40% of its fellow 300 SLs. Even the interior was standard, inasmuch as you can say that about a vehicle like this: L1, blue-checkered fabric and L, grey upholstery on the doors. Add-ons came in the form of instruments in English, sealed-beam headlights, bumper guards and an SWF windscreen washing system.
This silver gray example, No. 200 of the 855 vehicles produced in 1955, has been updated with black leather seats.
If you're thinking about bidding, prepare to spend up at least $1.3 million.