1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing
Mercedes-Benz’s 300 SL claimed 2nd in the Mille Miglia, 1-2-3 in the Sports Car Race in Berne, Switzerland, 1st and 2nd at Le Mans, 1-2-3-4 at the Nürburgring, and 1st and 2nd at La Carrera Panamericana. Yet more was to be desired. US distributor, Max Hoffman, said that there was a market in America for a fast Mercedes-Benz coupe, and a production version of the racing 300 SL, complete with its now legendary 'gullwing' doors, would be it.
The 'SL' moniker (translated to English as 'Sport Light') reflected the pioneering use of a welded, tubular-steel, ultra-light frame construction. The car also featured fully independent suspension in addition to its fuel-injected, 3.0 litre, OHC straight-six. A 161mph top speed and 0–60 of around eight seconds, made the 300 SL the fastest production car of its time.
The 300 SL was raced by the top racing drivers of the day including Stirling Moss, who holds the 'forever' course record for his famous Mille Miglia finish in 1955. It all added to the romance of a car that seemed destined to become a legend the moment production began.
RM Sotheby's will be offering this example at their upcoming Arizona auction between the 19-20th January, the estimated value is between $1,350,000 - $1,500,000. For more information on this and other vehicles at the sale, click on the link below. Photos: Theodore W. Pieper ©2016 Courtesy of RM Sotheby's.