1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
At the 1957 Geneva Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz introduced a new version of the celebrated 300 SL wearing open coachwork, the 300 SL roadster. In an early suggestion of the increasing focus the manufacturer would place on luxury cars over the ensuing decades, the new roadster was above all a more refined car than its gull-winged predecessor.
There was no denying the 300 SL’s mechanical performance, which had decidedly improved in the roadster, with the updated six-cylinder engine receiving the competition camshaft used in the NSL racing Gullwings, good for a lift of 20 horsepower. Handling also benefited from a revised rear suspension with a lower axle pivot-point, minimising the Gullwing’s tendency for oversteer. Despite the added weight of chassis reinforcement required by an open model, the roadster was every bit the performance car that the Gullwing had proven itself to be.
The roadster’s overwhelmingly luxurious character, however, generally obscured its performance capabilities. With a reclining soft-top, the model was never subject to the stuffy cabin issues that beguiled the Gullwing, and the roadster’s redesigned tube frame afforded lower door sills, facilitating far easier access than the Gullwing.
RM Sotheby's will be offering this car at their upcoming Monterey auction between the 18-19th August. For more information on this and other vehicles at the sale, click on the link below. Photos: Karissa Hosek ©2017 Courtesy of RM Sotheby's