Amelia Island

10-11 March 2017

A Gentleman's Collection: The Pride & Passion of Orin Smith

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Lot 111

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing

  • Chassis no. 198.040.7500077
  • Engine no. 198.980.7500072
  • Body no. 198.040.7500074

Sold for $1,144,000

215 bhp (DIN), 240 bhp (SAE), 2,992 cc SOHC inline six-cylinder engine with Bosch mechanical fuel injection, four-speed manual transmission, coil-spring independent front suspension, coil-spring and swing-axle rear suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5 in.

  • The third from last 300 SL Gullwing built; one of only 73 produced in 1957
  • Known history from new with only five long-term caretakers
  • Wonderful originality and authenticity throughout; original engine
  • Long-term maintenance for previous owners by the noted Paul Russell & Company
  • Complete with manuals and original tools
  • An extremely satisfying Gullwing for the enthusiast driver


To those who know Mercedes-Benz serial numbers, 198.040.7500077 is instantly identifiable as something truly special. It is a 300 SL Gullwing, of course, but more unusually, it is a 1957 Gullwing, one of just 73 built, very early in that year, before production moved to the new 300 SL roadster. No. 7500074 was only three chassis before the final Gullwing built, and delivery was made on 7 May 1957, making it one of the final 300 SL coupes delivered to a customer. Outside of the famous “alloys,” the 1957s are the last of the legendary breed, the rarest of all Gullwings, and among the most difficult to acquire today.

The original Daimler-Benz data card for this car, a copy of which is on file, notes that it was built with engine number 198.980.7500072, that which is still installed today; both the chassis and engine number stampings are present in their expected locations and appear original and authentic. The car was finished in Fire Engine Red with Black leather interior, and it was optioned for the United States with sealed-beam headlights and turn signals, English instruments, Becker Mexico radio with automatic antenna, and a rear-view mirror.

The car was shipped stateside from Hamburg to original owner George Mennen of Montclair, New Jersey, a prominent Garden State philanthropist and aviator, and the last family chairman of the Mennen Company (manufacturers of men’s toiletries). Joseph M. Stoytak of Springfield, Massachusetts, acquired the car from Mr. Mennen in 1978 and retained it for 30 years, then passed it to David Zagaroli of Hickory, North Carolina, via the well-known specialists Paul Russell & Company, which had cared for the car since Mr. Stoyak’s acquisition. Following brief ownership in New York, the car was acquired by Orin Smith in 2010 and has remained well looked-after in his studious ownership ever since. The Gullwing received major services by Tamburr Motorcars of Melbourne, Florida, later that year, including rebuilding the brakes and rear axle.

Overall the car retains a wonderfully solid and, to use a clichéd but appropriate term, honest appearance, with no suggestion of undue molestation or hasty repairs to be found anywhere; underneath is clean and solid. Repainted correctly some years ago, it has a good patina, with the correct, more recent leather interior being carefully worn-in and as comfortable and well-fitted as an old baseball glove. The steering wheel exhibits minor cracking but is very presentable and in character with the remainder of the interior. The finishes underhood appear original and well-maintained, and Sekurit glass is still present in all the windows, although the original belly pans are no longer present, as is commonplace. Accompanying the Gullwing are an original owner’s manual, a reprint of the factory instruction manual in English, a proper jack and wheel tool, the pair of original and complete tool rolls, and a correct spare.

Many 300 SL Gullwings were driven hard, as their manufacturer intended, necessitating today’s world of fully restored examples of widely varying quality. This car is different; a lovely and sympathetically maintained, carefully curated original, which has been improved only as needed, and retains all the charm and originality of its past. For the enthusiast seeking a 300 SL to drive, there is simply no better or more authentic choice.

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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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