Why This Classic Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster Could Sell For Millions
A near-perfect example of the legendary 300 SL Gullwing’s successor can be yours for an eye-watering price.
The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL coupe, with its eye-catching gullwing doors, gets lots of well-deserved love. But its topless roadster successor is also a holy-grail rarity that commands similarly eye-watering prices.
That’s especially true when one is presented in exceptional condition, such as this fully restored 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster that’s on sale at RM Sotheby’s.
After the luxury German automaker concluded a run of 1,400 Mercedes-Benz 300SL hard-tops based on the W198 I-gen platform in 1957, 1,858 W198 II-gen soft-tops with better chassis and an oversteer-reducing trailing-arm suspension were produced through 1963.
Each was equipped with a four-speed manual transmission and 2.9-liter straight-six, which was canted at a 45 degree angle to allow for more aerodynamic styling. The vehicle could hit 60 mph in seven seconds flat—a full four-tenths of a second quicker than originally expected—while top speed was estimated to be 140 mph.
Those figures shouldn’t be a problem for this particular example, which was recently restored by a world-class 300 SL specialist who brought everything from the engine to the original silver-over-red leather colorway back to the life. RM Sotheby’s has more on the job:
Entrusting the 300 SL Roadster to Rudi Koniczek of Rudi & Company in Victoria, BC—a world renowned 300 SL specialist—the car was stripped to bare metal and found to be in excellent condition.
It received all-new rubber, European-specification headlights, new taillight lenses, and all-new glass, while the original trim was rechromed to show standard. During the restoration, it was confirmed that the Roadster retained its original chassis, engine, body, transmission, front axles, and rear differential.
The original engine and gearbox were fully rebuilt, utilizing only factory-correct components supplied by Mercedes-Benz Classic. Refinished in its original colors, the car was test-driven for 300 miles and before being subject to an additional service to ensure it ran and drove as new.
Finally, the car is accompanied by a Becker Mexico radio, tool roll, tire iron and jack, a set of soft-top head guards, and a set of fitted luggage trimmed in 1079 red leather by Taris Charysyn & Co.
While this 300 SL Roadster may not have starry provenance of this 300 SL Gullwing that inspired an Andy Warhol artwork, its history is nonetheless interesting.
Though built to U.S. specifications, this car is believed to have been originally delivered to one Lieutenant Browder in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Economic growth was slow after WWII in the southwestern German city, which had been bombed heavily by Allied forces. In 1952, a U.S. garrison was established to help revive Kaiserslautern. Records indicate Lieutenant Browder was stationed there when he ordered the vehicle.
More details on this 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster are available through RM Sotheby’s, which is currently offering the car under private sale for $1.9 million—provided nobody bids higher, of course.