Lot 34

2020   |   Geared Online | August

1961 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster

SOLD $946,000


$850,000 - $950,000




Car Highlights

Rare and Highly Desirable Disc-Brake, Iron-Block Roadster; One of Approximately 270 Built
Documented with over 240 Pages of Maintenance Records from Paul Russell and Company Since 1993
In Current Enthusiast Ownership for the Past 27 Years
Accompanied by Hardtop in Original Crate, Tool Kit, and Jack
Retains Matching-Numbers Engine, Gearbox, and Steering Box per Its Mercedes-Benz Data Card
Register to Bid

An evolution of the groundbreaking and highly successful W194 300 SL race car, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster is regarded as one of the most beautiful and well-rounded sports cars ever produced. The model was steadily improved over its production life; one of the most significant production changes was the introduction of disc brakes in 1961. Only about 270 disc-brake cars were built before the introduction of the alloy-block version of the engine. To many 300 SL connoisseurs, these cars are the ideal specification, combining the stopping power of the disc brakes with the more robust iron-block engine.

The consignor, a collector who has specialized in postwar Mercedes-Benz since the 1970s, purchased this excellent example in 1993 from legendary 300 SL experts Paul Russell and Company of Essex, Massachusetts. He had tasked the firm with finding him two disc-brake, iron-block Roadsters for his two sons. Based on his prior experience owning an alloy-block Roadster, he had decided that the disc-brake, iron-block Roadster was the perfect specification, since the iron-block engine produced a more pleasing engine note and was less fragile than the later alloy block version.

Of the two cars procured for this consignor in 1993, one was subjected to a complete body-off restoration by Paul Russell and Company, but this car was deemed by the owner and Mr. Russell to be too nice to restore. The car was originally finished in White Gray (DB 158); the consignor elected to paint it the lovely and more vibrant period-correct color of Ivory (DB 608). It was fitted with a new navy blue top and red leather interior and has since been religiously maintained. Nearly every single year since 1993, the consignor has driven it to Paul Russell and Company for routine servicing, maintenance, improvements, and repair, evidenced by over 240 pages of Paul Russell and Company maintenance records on file. The consignor has driven the car a few thousand miles each summer in Rhode Island, but also to shows as far south as Washington, D.C. and Gullwing Group Conventions. As a testament to its reliability and the owner’s enthusiasm, the car has always been driven to these venues, never trailered.

This Roadster has never been fully disassembled, but has instead enjoyed continuous maintenance and improvement over the past 27 years. This 300 SL is further distinguished by a hardtop, which, remarkably, remains in an original Mercedes-Benz factory crate. The car is also accompanied by its tool roll, spare tire, and jack

For nearly 30 years, this Roadster has remained in the ownership of a meticulous 300 SL enthusiast, and has benefited from continuous, expert maintenance by one of the world authorities on the 300 SL. As a disc-brake, iron-block example with extraordinary documentation and maintenance history, this is one of the most appealing 300 SL Roadsters to come to auction in recent memory.