1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster
Chassis no. 198.042.8500280
Created to spearhead Mercedes-Benz's return to competition in the post-war era, the 300SL debuted in the 1952 Mille Miglia, finishing 2nd and 4th overall. Wins in the Carrera Pan-Americana and at Le Mans followed, and the 300SL was on its way to becoming part of motor sporting legend. The first racers were open-topped, but before the '52 season's end the distinctive gull-wing doored Coupé had appeared. Unusually high sills were a feature of the multi-tubular spaceframe chassis, and while access was not a problem of the open car, the adoption of coupé bodywork required innovative thinking - hence the gull-wing doors.
Launched in 1954, the production 300SL retained the spaceframe chassis of the racer and was powered by a 2,996cc, overhead-camshaft, inline six canted at 45 degrees to achieve a lower, more aerodynamic bonnet line. Using innovative direct fuel injection, this state-of-the-art power unit produced 215bhp at 5,800rpm. A four-speed gearbox transmitted power to the hypoid bevel rear axle. Suspension was independent all round by wishbones and coil springs at the front, with swing axles and coil springs at the rear. It was, arguably, the world's first supercar.
Tested by Road & Track magazine in 1955, the 300SL accelerated from 0-60mph in 7.4 seconds, going on to achieve a top speed of 140mph - outstanding figures for its day. Clearly the 300SL Coupé would be a hard act to follow, yet the Roadster version, introduced just three years later, succeeded in bettering its closed cousin's already exemplary road manners. Conventionally doored, the 300SL Roadster was first exhibited at the Geneva Salon in May 1957 and would outlive the Coupé by several years. The production of an open 300SL involved altering the cockpit area, where the spaceframe was redesigned to permit lower sills for improved access. At the same time the rear suspension was changed to incorporate low-pivot swing axles.
The Roadster's neutral steering characteristics received fulsome praise from Road & Track in its 1958 road test. 'With the low-pivot rear suspension and more adhesive tyres, the car handles beautifully under all conditions. This is a tremendous improvement over the hardtop models, which had a tendency to oversteer rather violently if pressed too hard.' A 0-60mph time of 7.0 seconds and a top speed of 130mph were recorded, making the 300SL Roadster one of the fastest convertibles of its time. R&T concluded: 'There is no doubt that the 300SL roadster is a truly great dual-purpose sportscar, equally at home in traffic and the open road, or on the track,' words that remain equally true today.
Restored in 1991, this beautiful 300SL roadster is described by the current vendor who acquired it at the Techno Classica show in Essen, as in generally very good condition. The car has attended various international historic gatherings since 2008 including the Rallye 300SL Luxembourg, Rallye de Sicile, Rallye de Sardaigne and the Valescure concours d'élégance, where it received a 2nd place award. In this time it as always proven to be both reliable and a joy to drive. Finished in the eye-catching combination of ivory white with red leather upholstery, the car is offered with restoration invoices, French Carte Grise and Contrôle Technique.
Restaurée en 1991, cette superbe 300 SL Roadster est décrite comme étant en excellent état général par son vendeur qui l'avait acquise au salon Techno Classica d'Essen. Depuis 2008, la voiture a participé à de nombreuses manifestations historiques internationales dont le Rallye 300 SL du Luxembourg, le Rallye de Sicile, le Rallye de Sardaigne et le concours d'élégance de Valescure où elle fut classée deuxième de sa catégorie. Lors de ses nombreuses sorties, elle s'est constamment révélée fiable et des plus plaisante à conduire. Présentée dans la spectaculaire combinaison extérieur blanc ivoire et sellerie en cuir rouge, la voiture est offerte avec ses factures de restauration, sa carte grise française et son rapport de contrôle technique.
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