Lot 119

2015   |   Scottsdale Auctions 2015

1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing


$1,550,000 - $1,850,000



Car Highlights

An Original Rudge-Wheel Gullwing Presented in Factory-Delivered Colors
Recent Extensive Refurbishment by Paul Russell and Company
Noteworthy West Coast Provenance
Upgraded to NSL-Type Camshaft
An Outstanding Gullwing Throughout

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 Servo-Assisted Drum Brakes
Independent Double-Wishbone Front Suspension
Independent Swing-Axle Rear Suspension
Register to Bid

Howard Hawks, Beverly Hills, California (acquired new in 1956)Melvin Jensen, Los Angeles, California (acquired from the above circa 1965)Klaus Schulz, Issaquah, Washington (acquired from the above in 1984)Dennis Daugs, Seattle, Washington (acquired in 2010)Private Collection, California (acquired in 2013)Current Owner (acquired from the above)

Perhaps no other car of the 1950s defines the height of style and exclusivity as well as the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing. The Gullwing was, in many ways, in a class by itself in terms of performance and design, and was a favorite of such sportsmen as Briggs Cunningham and Umberto Maglioli, as well as the Hollywood elite. Records indicate that this Gullwing was sold new to famed Hollywood film director Howard Hawks. Mr. Hawks – famous for his work on such silver screen classics as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, His Girl Friday, and Bringing Up Baby, among over 40 other films – was recognized for the quality of his work and was among the most highly admired directors of the 20th century. One of Hawks’ family members recently relayed vivid memories of the talented director traveling with the car from Los Angeles to as far as Seattle. Melvin Jensen acquired the Gullwing from Mr. Hawks approximately a decade later. He likely also worked in the Southern California flm industry and retained the prized car for many years. In 1984, Klaus Schulz of Issaquah, Washington, became the Gullwing’s third owner after a lengthy negotiation with Mr. Jensen. Impressed with the Mercedes-Benz’s originality and condition, Mr. Schulz, an avid sports car enthusiast, kept the Gullwing for the next 26 years. During his ownership an NSL-type sport cam was installed in the engine, raising its power output.

During his decades of ownership, Mr. Schulz faithfully maintained the 300 SL, ensuring repairs were performed as necessary. With fondness, he recently recalled taking the Gullwing on selected outings, but only when he could ensure that the car was parked with a clear line of sight from the table at his lunch stop.

In spring 2010, 6500280 was purchased by Washington state collector and founding president of Napa California’s 300 SL Museum, Dennis Daugs. During his ownership, Mr. Daugs not only drove the Gullwing to San Francisco to take part in the 50th anniversary convention of the Gull Wing Group, but he also embarked on an epic cross-country trip sleeping in a tent along the way at KOA Campgrounds and inviting admirers to sit in the Mercedes-Benz for a rare photo opportunity. Once he arrived on the East Coast, Mr. Daugs entrusted the Gullwing to famed Mercedes- Benz experts Paul Russell and Company of Essex, Massachusetts, for an extensive refurbishment. Detailed invoices, which accompany the car, account for over $85,000 in mechanical work. Over an eight-month period, an in-depth refinement of the engine and transmission, as well as work on the brake, injection, suspension, cooling, exhaust, and electrical systems, were diligently performed.

The silver Gullwing was traded in early 2013 toward an original Rudge-wheel roadster, and soon thereafter joined a private California collection before being purchased by the current owner. Today, the Teutonic coupe looks resplendent in its factory-delivered color combination of Silver (DB 180) over Red (1079) leather. The interior has a wonderfully inviting appearance complete with a matching set of ftted luggage, proper Becker Mexico radio, and Nardi accessory steering wheel. The cockpit was expertly reupholstered by veteran 300 SL trimmer Chad Hunt of California some years ago.

This is a 300 SL Gullwing that can be shown with pride, driven with enthusiasm, and given a special place in any group of iconic sporting machines. Built within the last 10% of all Gullwings produced, this spectacular coupe is a true standout with its competition-inspired color combination and sitting on Rudge wheels, just as it had when it first emerged from the works at Sindelfingen.