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*Please note that this vehicle is titled by the last seven digits of its chassis number. Online bidding is not available for this vehicle.
Burklein Motors, Los Angeles, California (acquired by 1963)Cyril Mischler, Scottsdale, Arizona (acquired from the above in 2009)Current Owner (acquired from the above in 2013)
In 1957, Mercedes-Benz dramatically updated the amazing 300 SL Gullwing with open coachwork, resulting in the 300 SL Roadster. The Roadster featured a revised rear suspension, a sport-tuned camshaft, and a redesigned space frame that allowed for conventional doors. The new model was more comfortable and better performing than its predecessor, while additionally offering the thrill of open-air motoring. The Roadster has since grown to be revered by collectors as the progenitor of a popular model line that lives on to this day.
This beautifully restored example of the celebrated open 300 SL is one of the earliest roadsters exported to the US, arriving only two months after American deliveries commenced. According to its factory build sheet, chassis 7500229 completed final assembly in September 1957, equipped with instruments in miles, sealed-beam headlamps, a Becker Mexico radio, and a rear-axle ratio of 1:3.89. Finished in Elfenbein (DB 608 Ivory) and trimmed with a green leather interior, the Roadster was likely retailed through a West Coast distributor.
Anecdotal information suggests the Mercedes-Benz was purchased new by a dealership in Los Angeles, called Burklein Motors. Reportedly retained by Mr. Burklein, the 300 SL is documented with a 1963 California pink slip in the dealership’s name that coincides with an original California black plate, which notably remains with the car. In 1967, the Burklein family reportedly moved to Arizona, and the Mercedes-Benz remained with them, experiencing mild use and consistent maintenance while being resprayed once in a lighter shade of white paint during the 1980s. In 2009, after nearly 50 years of ownership, the Burkleins sold the 300 SL to Cyril Mischler of Scottsdale, at which point the odometer displayed some 42,000 miles.
Mr. Mischler immediately opted for a full restoration, retaining respected SL specialist Bill Richardson of Phoenix to conduct a comprehensive refurbishment that took four years. Illustrated with invoices, the photo-documented restoration cost in excess of $280,000, and included a full renewal of drivetrain and chassis elements as needed, in addition to a proper cosmetic refinish in the outstanding original color combination. While its as-built specifications were largely adhered to, the opportunity was taken to install Bosch European-specification headlamp lenses and bumpers without over-riders. The high level of execution was confirmed in 2012 when the Roadster won First in Class and the People’s Choice Award at the Mercedes-Benz National StarFest Concours d’Elegance.
In August 2013, the 300 SL was sold to the consignor, a respected Southern California collector who became the car’s third documented owner in 50 years. Within a few months, the new owner retained the respected marque experts at Hjeltness Restoration in Escondido, California, to address some minor interior and exterior trim items, in addition to making some mechanical adjustments. The consignor continued to dutifully maintain the car as needed, and in 2017, it returned to Hjeltness for a rebuild of its matching-numbers engine that was completed in February 2018.
Accompanied by an owner’s manual and tools, this Mercedes-Benz is well documented with the 1963 California pink slip, which matches the black, California license plate; restoration invoices for both the 2013 restoration and the more recent mechanical work by Hjeltness, and a CD featuring hundreds of restoration photos. The Roadster is fitted with a matching green soft top, and displayed 43,382 miles when catalogued.
This sensational Mercedes-Benz continues to display the benefits of a life in the arid climate of the Southwestern US during its time in the dedicated care of just three private owners. Beautifully presented in its captivating, original colors, the Roadster is eligible for some of the most prestigious vintage tours worldwide, including the California Mille and the Colorado Grand. Unquestionably, this gorgeous example of the truly iconic 300 SL Roadster embodies the style of European sports cars of the 1950s.