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Lot 66

2015   |   Amelia Island 2015

1963 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster

SOLD $1,275,000

Estimate

$1,600,000 - $2,000,000

Chassis

198.042.10.003123

Car Highlights

One of Only 218 Alloy-Block, Disc-Brake Examples
Approximately 18,000 Original Miles from New
Highly Authentic Presentation, Including Original Interior
Equipped with a Desirable Factory Hardtop
Thought to have Just Four Owners from New
An Outstanding Late-Production 300 SL

Technical Specs

2,996 CC SOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Bosch Mechanical Fuel Injection
235 BHP at 6,200 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Disc Brakes
Independent Double-Wishbone Front Suspension
Rear Swing-Axle Suspension with Coil Springs
Register to Bid

Disc-Brake, Alloy-Block ExampleMartin Ganzler Jr., New Brunswick, New Jersey (purchased new in 1963)John L. Sellstrom, Greenhurst, New York (acquired from the above in the mid-1970s via Ed Jurist)Gene Albert, New York (acquired from the above circa 1989 via Ed Jurist)Current Owner (acquired from the above circa 1995)

With its lower-pivot rear suspension and open-top styling, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster notably improved upon the celebrated Gullwing in terms of performance and handling. According to an accompanying copy of an original Bill of Sale and title, this breathtaking 300 SL was first sold on April 26, 1963, to Martin Ganzler Jr. of New Brunswick, New Jersey. The Mercedes-Benz was desirably optioned with Fire Engine Red paint, cream leather upholstery, a Becker Mexico radio, whitewall tires, and a box for the boot cover.

As one of the last 218 examples of the roadster produced, this 300 SL was equipped with four-wheel disc brakes, as well as the rare and highly desirable alloy engine block. This late improvement to the 300 SL’s engine design dropped 82 lbs. from the model’s overall weight, with corresponding dividends in performance and handling.

According to the research of noted 300 SL authority Dr. Frank Spellman, this Mercedes-Benz was retained by Ganzler through the mid-1970s. Brokered then through Ed Jurist of Nyack, New York – considered to be the godfather of the 300 SL collectors’ niche – the roadster was purchased by John Sellstrom of Greenhurst, New York. Around 1989, while still reportedly displaying less than 15,000 miles, the roadster was traded back to Jurist and then sold to New York resident Gene Albert.

Albert retained possession of the highly original 300 SL for about a five years, commissioning fellow Gull Wing Group member and skilled marque mechanic Andrew Bach to freshen the chassis and detail the rare alloy-block engine. Following the restoration work, the car was acquired circa 2000 by the current owner, a highly respected collector based in Texas.

The roadster was inspected at the time of purchase by well-known 300 SL expert Gordon Beck, and he was quoted in an article for the Gull Wing Group as saying that chassis no. 3123 was the finest-running 300 SL he had ever driven. In his dedicated goal of documenting every disc-brake, alloy-block roadster with what he considered to be original paint and interior, Dr. Spellman reports to have found only 10 such cars in the US, including 3123, suggesting the potential rarity of this example. “I recall #3123 to be a spectacular, low-mileage, original 300 SL RO [Roadster] with few owners and excellent documentation,” he recently stated.

Still displaying approximately 18,000 miles, which period documentation and interviews suggest are original, and retaining its tool roll, jack, and owners manuals, this remarkably authentic 300 SL Roadster also retains its original interior. The roadster is accompanied by its black hardtop as well as its soft top – believed by the consignor to be original to the car – which is intact but will require attention before use. The roadster recently received servicing from the esteemed Sargent Metalworks, which included a complete rebuild of the brake system and clutch hydraulics. The consignor also recently had the fuel-injection pump rebuilt by the experts at Pacific Fuel Injection and cleaned the fuel tank and lines.

Correct alloy-block roadsters are exceptionally rare, and an example in such fine and exceedingly original condition constitutes an uncommon opportunity. Never completely restored or extensively overhauled, the genuine feel of this particular roadster entices the enthusiast with the little-worn look that you might expect to find if searching for a 300 SL decades ago. Enthusiasts searching for a fastidiously cared-for and low-mileage example of Mercedes-Benz’s classic 300 SL Roadster need look no further.