2023 |Amelia Island Auctions
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL GullwingRegister to Bid
$1,500,000 - $2,000,000
Finished in Its Originally Delivered Classic Colors
Factory-Built Rudge Knock-Off Wheel Example
Offered with Beautiful Set of Original Karl Baisch Fitted Luggage
Matching-Numbers Engine Expertly Rebuilt and Dyno-Tested by Ed Pink Racing Engines
Veteran of Numerous Long-Distance Rallies
2,996 CC SOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Bosch Mechanical Fuel Injection
220 BHP at 5,800 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Front Independent Double-Wishbone Suspension with Coil Springs
Rear Independent Swing-Axle Suspension with Coil Springs
John Dick, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (acquired new in 1955)
John W. Cooper, Boulder, Colorado
Russell V. Moran, Wheatridge, Colorado
Clinton Wong, Millbrae, California (acquired in 2001)
Jurgen Klockemann, San Jose, California (acquired from the above circa 2001)
Chuck Stauss, Los Gatos, California (acquired from the above circa 2002)
Terry Price, Gazelle, California (acquired circa 2005)
Current Owner (acquired from the above in 2006)
Copperstate 1000, Arizona, 2010
The Nethercutt Museum, California, circa 2010
Colorado Grand, 2013 and 2018
California Mille, 2018
300 SL Classic Rally, US, 2021 and 2022
Universally recognized as a design and engineering masterpiece, the Mercedes- Benz 300 SL Gullwing Coupe firmly ranks among the finest postwar European sports cars. Based upon the W194 competition coupes which convincingly returned Mercedes-Benz to racing and utterly dominated the 1952 international racing season, the model was refined for production at the insistence of New York-based importer Max Hoffman.
The 1954 New York debut of the 300 SL made history as the first Mercedes- Benz model launch outside of Germany. The “SL” designation translated to English as “Sports Lightweight,” with the vehicle’s race-derived engineering features including an extremely light and strong tubular frame, all-independent suspension, and 3.0-liter straight-six engine with competition-type dry sump lubrication. Its mechanical fuel injection was a world production-car first. Power, rated at 220 bhp at 5,800 rpm was delivered through a four-speed manual gearbox, rendering the sleekly styled 300 SL the fastest production car of its time depending upon final-drive ratio, with a 3.64:1 ring and pinion standard. Production of the glamorous, hand-finished 300 SL continued into 1957, with just 1,400 built in total.
In addition to provenance documented in the authoritative Gullwing Registry published by the Gull Wing Group, this 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL is also accompanied by a copy of its factory-issued wagenkarte production record. This example was finished at the factory in the image of Mercedes-Benz competition cars with Silver Gray Metallic (DB 180) paint and Blue Vinyl/Blue Plaid gabardine fabric (Code L1) upholstery, the same colors it features today. This Gullwing was originally built with special equipment, including English gauges calibrated in miles, a 3.25:1 rear-axle ratio, bumper guards, and Rudge knock-off wheels.
Following shipment in January 1955 to North America via Mercedes-Benz Distributors Inc. in New York City, this highly optioned 300 SL was sold new to John Dick of Toronto. Subsequent owners include John W. Cooper of Boulder, Colorado, the late Russell V. Moran of Wheatridge, Colorado, and Clinton Wong of Millbrae, California, who acquired the Gullwing in 2001. Following ownership by noted 300 SL authority Jurgen Klockemann of San Jose, California, the Gullwing was enthusiastically owned by Chuck Stauss of Los Gatos, California, though it is believed he only rode as a passenger, electing to have close friends, including Mr. Klockemann, drive the car in his stead.
The current owner, a lifelong car enthusiast and resident of Southern California, joined this special Gullwing’s roster of keepers in 2006, and has enjoyed it with his sons on several long-distance touring events throughout his tenure, including the Copperstate 1000, Colorado Grand, and 300 SL Classic Rallies. Comprehensive and highly detailed sorting was completed through much of 2006 by David Grant of Santa Clarita, California. Intent on further ensuring the Gullwing’s touring readiness, Ed Pink Racing Engines was selected to rebuild the legendary 3.0-liter fuel-injected engine, with the work completed in 2009 and 2010, followed by dynamometer testing.
Following participation in the 2010 running of the Copperstate 1000, the 300 SL was restored by The Nethercutt Collection, when a full restoration facility was housed there. The work included a repaint, chrome and brightwork restoration, and interior work, including replacement of the seat upholstery, blue leather, and headliner using materials sourced from Germany. Upon completion, the 300 SL served as a featured attraction at The Nethercutt Museum located in Sylmar, California. Subsequently, the Gullwing participated in the 2018 California Mille, before completing two editions of the 300 SL Classic Rally in 2021 and 2022.
Accompanying items include service records spanning 2006–2022, the aforementioned wagenkarte copy, historical articles, bumper over-riders, stock steering wheel, and, importantly, an extremely rare and beautifully preserved set of original Karl Baisch fitted luggage. Boasting an ideal combination of factory options, including date-coded Rudge wheels and proper luggage, this 300 SL is simply one of the most desirable examples in existence. In addition to its outstanding provenance, the care it has received under its current and highly knowledgeable owner only enhances its considerable cachet.