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Lot 131

2015   |   Pebble Beach Auctions 2015

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing

SOLD $1,595,000

Estimate

$1,450,000 - $1,700,000

Chassis

198.040.5500243

Engine

198.980.5500262

Car Highlights

One-of-a-Kind Factory Color Combination
One of Only Two Gullwings Originally Finished in Dunkelgrau
Restoration Completed in 2015 Includes Both Tartan and Leather Seat Cushions
Chassis, Engine, and Body Numbers Correspond to Factory Build Record
An Incredibly Striking and Beautifully Presented Gullwing

Technical Specs

2,996 CC SOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Bosch Mechanical Fuel Injection
220 BHP at 5,800 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
Independent Double-Wishbone Front Suspension
Rear Swing-Axle Suspension with Coil Springs
Register to Bid

Dr. Anthony Puleo, Cleveland, Ohio (acquired in March 1959)The Car People, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio (acquired from the above in November 1971)Frank Gallogly, Englewood, New Jersey (acquired from the above in May 1987)John Vaught, Ridgefield, Connecticut (acquired in April 1992)Peter Weinberg, Monkton, Maryland (acquired from the above in April 2001)Current Owner (acquired from the above)

With its timeless design and competition-derived engine and chassis, there’s little wonder that the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing has grown to be one of the most widely revered sports cars of all time. This sensational example’s desirability is heightened by a one-off factory-original color scheme and a quality restoration that has resulted in a breathtaking presentation.

Chassis no. 5500243 benefits from a life of few owners, featuring several periods of custody exceeding 10 years. First and foremost, this Gullwing claims a unique color combination: elegant Dark Gray (Dunkelgrau, DB164) paint over a beige interior with red plaid cloth seats. According to Eric Le Moine’s esteemed Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé/Gullwing 198.040 & 198.043 Register, this car is one of only two examples finished in Dunkelgrau, and the only Gullwing to leave the factory in this interior and exterior combination. Of the 1,400 Gullwings built, 5500243 is unique.

In 1959, the Mercedes-Benz was purchased by an Ohio-based doctor who kept it for 12 years before selling it in 1971 to The Car People, a Cleveland-based dealership. The Gullwing was used modestly over the next 16 years and benefitted from regular attention by the dealership’s service staff. When the company sold the car in 1987, it displayed 81,714 miles.

Noted Porsche and Mercedes-Benz collector Frank Gallogly of Englewood, New Jersey, purchased no. 5500243 from The Car People, and he commissioned Hans Rocke of Lakeville, Connecticut, to rebuild the 300 SL’s engine. The car received continued restorative attention before passing in 1992 to John Vaught of nearby Ridgefield, who further invested in its sympathetic renewal, as demonstrated by numerous invoices. In 2001, Mr. Vaught sold the Mercedes-Benz to Peter Weinberg of Monkton, Maryland, and it remained in his collection through 2013.

In 2014, the Gullwing was purchased by the consignor, who, recognizing this Gullwing’s importance, authorized extensive restoration and refinishing work. A binder filled with recent invoices indicates the depth of detail and effort that was undertaken to source correct parts from numerous vendors. David Grant, a 300 SL specialist based in Santa Clarita, California, was entrusted with overseeing the mechanical restoration; and he refurbished various systems with proper new and original parts, including many items sourced directly from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center.

The Mercedes-Benz experts at Van Nuys Sports Cars assembled the engine, clutch, and transmission, installed new axle boots, and handled much of the final assembly and fitting. HK-Engineering in Germany supplied several proper exterior components, including bumpers and license-plate lights. Quality Auto Upholstery re-trimmed the interior, utilizing headliner fabric sourced from marque specialist Rudi Konizcek, and proper plaid tartan seat cushions that were expertly trimmed by Hjeltness Restoration in Escondido, California. Hjeltness Restoration also completed an accessory set of matching leather seat cushions that accompanies the car. A correct, color-matched luggage set was sourced, all brightwork was re-chromed, and the refinished wheels were mounted with Michelin XVS tires. The well-known Tony Castellano of Tony’s Auto Detailing Installation in Palmdale, California, put the finishing touches on the Gullwing’s restoration and returned its exterior finish to its original factory color of Dunkelgrau.

Accompanied by an original owner’s manual, a copy of its factory build sheet, and a thick binder of invoices, prior titles, and correspondence between former owners, this immaculately restored Gullwing is now an ideal candidate for concours fields and vintage events, such as the California Mille or the Colorado Grand. The extremely rare color scheme will certainly distinguish this fine example from other Gullwings, particularly among marque experts and judges who can fully appreciate its significance. A 300 SL of such distinction does not often come to market, making its availability a rare opportunity that should strike a chord with Stuttgart purists and collectors of all backgrounds.