Auctions and Brokerage
Private Collection, Las Vegas, Nevada (acquired in 1975)Steve Barnes, Boston, Massachusetts (acquired from the above in 1989)Current Owner (acquired in 1990)
An elite road car, the 300 SL was the street version of the powerful and impressive Mercedes-Benz competition car that won the 1952 24 Hours of Le Mans. When Mercedes-Benz introduced the sleek 300 SL Gullwing Coupe in 1954, it captured the attention of the automotive world. This impact was repeated in 1957, when the company debuted the striking and versatile 300 SL Roadster. Between 1957 and 1963, 1,858 roadsters were built, each a showcase of Mercedes-Benz’s exceptional engineering, styling, and build quality.
Throughout production, numerous improvements were made including, most notably, the addition of four-wheel disc brakes beginning with chassis no. 2780, and aluminum engine blocks beginning with chassis no. 3049. The disc brakes dramatically reduce the roadster’s unsprung weight. Those with experience driving both drum- and disc-brake cars have noted that disc brake-equipped roadsters are more nimble. Furthermore, approximately 50 lbs. of weight over the front axle was saved through the use of the alloy-block engine, further improving steering and handling response, and providing for a more even front/rear weight distribution. The final 210 300 SL Roadsters, now commonly referred to as the “disc-brake, alloy-block cars” are, for good reason, the most coveted of the line, and have the distinction of being the last hand-built, body-on-frame Mercedes-Benz passenger cars.
The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster presented here has enjoyed nearly a quarter century in the hands of a respected collector of the world’s finest sports and racing cars. Like every car in the collection, the roadster has always been treated with expert care and the utmost respect. Restored prior to his ownership, this 300 SL has been regularly exercised and maintained by the team at Puyallup, Washington’s esteemed Dennison International and has been kept in a perpetual state of fine tune and detail.
The exterior shows beautifully in bright red, representing a lively change from its White-Gray (DB 158) – as was originally delivered – with superb brightwork and polished aluminum outer-wheel rims. A renewed tan canvas soft top stows neatly beneath the cover, and, perhaps the most valuable roadster option, a factory hardtop that is unrestored, which is included as well. A pair of Bosch European headlights rounds out its outstanding presentation. The inviting tan leather interior shows just the right amount of patina yet still appears tidy and correct, and color-matched seat belts have been added for safety while on tour. The engine compartment is very well detailed, showing only the lightest signs of use with clean satin black finishes, proper decals and fasteners, and a polished intake manifold.
As 300 SL Roadsters continue to grow in popularity as the near-perfect touring cars that they are, many top collectors are looking for that one special roadster among the few available each year. This disc-brake, alloy-block roadster – one of the last 100 built – is certainly a standout among this elite group. Having spent nearly a quarter century professionally kept in top form in the hands of a knowledgeable collector, complete with hardtop, books, tools, and eligible for a host of different events, this is quite possibly the ideal example of one of the most universally admired postwar sports cars of all time. By all accounts this is an opportunity to be seized.