Amelia Island

10 March 2012

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Lot 147

1960 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster

  • Chassis no. 198.042.10.002580
  • Engine no. 10.0002632

Sold for $990,000


240 hp, 2,996 cc overhead cam six-cylinder engine, fuel injection, four-speed gearbox, four-wheel independent suspension and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5"

• Recent complete restoration by Rudi & Company

• Stunning color combination
• Concours or event ready
• Optional hardtop, tool roll and desirable Rudge wheels

The 300SL ‘Gullwing’ coupe was extraordinary in Mercedes-Benz history for a number of reasons, many related to the foresight and influence of the legendary Max Hoffman, Mercedes-Benz’s US importer in the ’50s. It was Hoffman who pushed the company to bring a street version of its sports racing coupe to market and, by guaranteeing to sell 1,000 of them, had it launched in New York City, the first time a Mercedes-Benz had ever been introduced outside Germany. Stateside sales proved Hoffman was right, and the car became a success on both the street and the track.

Hoffman saw even greater sales possibilities for an even more refined version of the coupe and saw to it that Mercedes created the 300SL roadster to replace the coupe in 1957. The 300SL roadster brought the best attributes of the Gullwing—its speed, handling prowess and solid build-quality—and carried them forward in a more practical package for everyday use. With the space frame chassis modified to provide deeper door openings for ease of entry and exit combined with the natural appeal to Americans of the open sports car, it was at once the car for both the sporting enthusiast and the boulevardier to embrace.

Slight styling changes distinguished the roadster from the coupe, including larger fenders, new headlights, a smaller grille opening and a chrome trim strip which now adorned the side sill. That they were closely related however remained obvious. Despite a weight penalty due to the chassis strengthening needed to compensate for the loss of the roof and the larger door openings, the roadster’s performance was maintained with an improvement in horsepower and increased compression ratio. While the roadster also cut a more turbulent path through the air than the Gullwing, it nevertheless was capable of nearly 155 mph depending on the final gear ratios chosen, making it one of the world’s fastest road cars.

Regardless of the performance capability, the 300SL roadster presented here is all the more desirable for its impressive appearance. Delivered new to one J.A. Redmond of Bon Air, Virginia, it is now offered from a prominent private collection. The engine number 10.0002632 matches that of the original engine listing, as found in the Roadster Register of the Gull Wing Group International. Stunning in gleaming Mercedes-Benz paint code DB40 Black complemented by the rich green leather interior, color code 1078, this SL exudes elegance, drama and beauty. Famed Mercedes-Benz specialists Rudi & Company of Victoria, British Columbia have given this car a complete restoration to world-class standards. The highest level of detail preparation of the bare metal prior to expert painting and careful finishing would be expected. But when combined with a commitment to detail such as all-new rubber, new lenses, all-new glass, show-quality chrome plating of the original trim, overhauling the door, trunk and glove box locks and correctly refinishing each of the tools in the new matching leather tool roll, it becomes clear that this is no quick and easy refurbishment.

Taking a look inside reveals the seats, cushions and door panels, all rebuilt prior to receiving the correct German Roser leather covering. A new steering wheel and horn button were fitted, and the specified carpet weave was used on the floor inside and in the trunk, while the headliner in the rebuilt hardtop is as factory-supplied.

Not all the quality and quantity of the work done are apparent at first glance. Based on information provided by Rudi & Company, the mechanical side of the restoration was as thorough as that of the cosmetic. Highlights include the balancing of all internal moving parts in the engine, with new pistons, valves, guides, timing chain, timing gears as needed, complete gearbox overhaul, rebuilding and balancing of the driveshaft, overhauled fuel injectors and injection pump, re-cored radiator and oil cooler, new motor mounts, new brakes, shock absorbers, steering damper, transmission mount, sway bar rubbers and links and bushings and seals in the front axle.

Every part used is factory-correct, supplied from Mercedes-Benz Classic, and the completed car was tested for 300 miles and given an initial service with the head re-torqued, valves adjusted, all fluids changed and any sorting done as required. Following the road test and service, this 300SL was then given a final wet sand, full polish and detail.

Both black soft and hard tops come with the SL, and it has also been fitted with a set of the attractive and desirable Rudge knock off wheels. The standard steel wheels will also be supplied with the car should the new owner desire to go back to original specification. Mileage indicated currently stands at approximately 85,350 miles, which are believed to be original to the car. A recent road test by an RM Specialist confirmed that the car ran and drove fantastically. It started easily, accelerated nicely and shifted through the gears very well, all of which confirmed the high caliber of restoration work.

The Mercedes-Benz 300SL is acknowledged as one of the true ‘blue-chip’ collectibles in the automotive world. Its potent blend of historical importance, advanced design, engineering integrity and dramatic looks has guaranteed its desirability from the day it was introduced. That these cars are amazing to drive is also not a small part of their appeal. The toughest decision the next owner of this 300SL roadster will make is whether to spend hours looking at its beauty while parked or hours on the road behind the wheel, letting the rest of us enjoy it as well.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more