Auctions and Brokerage
Hugo E. Eagle (acquired in 1958)Allen Mondal (acquired from the above in 1970)Andrew W. Smith, Portland, Oregon (acquired from the above in 1973)Neil DeAtley, Portland, Oregon (acquired from the above by 1997)Current Owner (acquired from the estate of the above)
With DNA rooted in the 300 SL racing cars of 1952, which successfully returned Mercedes-Benz to top-level international racing and scored a commanding 1–2 finish at Le Mans that year, the breathtaking 300 SL Coupe debuted at the 1954 New York Auto Show to widespread acclaim. Demand for a Roadster variant spurred development shortly after Gullwing production began, with German magazine Auto Motor und Sport reporting the first sighting of a modified open 300 SL at Stuttgart in 1956. When 300 SL Gullwing production wound down in mid-1957, with 1,400 built in all, production of the comprehensively refined 300 SL Roadster commenced. Just 1,858 300 SL Roadsters were ultimately constructed through 1963, with the model largely hand built.
The process of creating an open 300 SL was quite complex, with the Roadsters being extensively re-engineered compared with their closed predecessor. Handling was improved with rear-suspension upgrades and standard Michelin X radial tires. Compensating for the 300 SL Roadster’s additional weight, its three-liter engine received a competition camshaft and raised compression, which contributed to a healthy increase in power.
Predictably, the Roadsters were quite popular among the celebrities and sportsmen of the era, further raising the 300 SL’s image. Despite costing more than $11,000 when new, the limited-production 300 SL Roadster was never among the most profitable models for Mercedes-Benz. But the influence that the cars had when new is stronger than ever today – no serious collection of the world’s great sports cars is considered truly complete without at least one high-quality example in residence.
According to a copy of the Mercedes-Benz data card, this US-specification 300 SL Roadster was originally finished in the rare and striking color scheme of Hellblau (Light Blue, DB 334) with cream leather upholstery and a beige soft top. Factory records also confirm that this car was specified with a 3.89:1 rear-axle ratio, Becker Mexico radio, and Michelin tires. According to the Gull Wing Group, the first known owner of this SL Roadster was Hugo E. Eagle, who retained it from 1958 through 1970. From there, the car was sold to Allen Mondal and then, in 1973, to Andrew Smith, a resident of Portland, Oregon. By the mid-1990s, the 300 SL was sold to Neil DeAtley, whose racing team DeAtley Motorsports successfully campaigned cars in the Trans Am series throughout the early 1980s, winning the 1983 championship with noted drivers David Hobbs and Willy T. Ribbs. In addition to his motor sport activities, Mr. DeAtley was an avid classic car collector, with a particular affinity for Mercedes-Benz automobiles. At its height, his personal collection included several significant examples of the marque, including a 300 SL Gullwing and a 300 Sc Coupe, among other more modern SLs.
Early in his ownership, Mr. DeAtley entrusted the Hellblau 300 SL to Classic MB Restorations in Cave Creek, Arizona, for general service work, with receipts on file dating from the late 1990s. The Roadster remained a fixture in his collection until his death in 2017, whereupon his estate sold the car to the current owner.
Presented in its stunning original color combination, this sophisticated 300 SL is equipped with the most desirable period accessories – a factory hardtop, a Becker Mexico radio, and Englebert tires. Significantly, a copy of the Mercedes-Benz data card confirms that the car’s chassis, engine, and body numbers match the factory production record. At the time of cataloguing, the odometer displayed 62,026 miles – a figure the consignor believes to be accurate.
This 300 SL Roadster is an ideal candidate for leading automotive events – from Gull Wing Group and Mercedes-Benz Club of America concours events to exclusive rallies such as the Colorado Grand and California Mille. For the collector in search of a visually distinctive and beautifully presented Mercedes-Benz sports car, a closer look is strongly encouraged.