1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405
Lot 356
1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405
£450,000 - 500,000
US$ 730,000 - 810,000
amended

Lot Details
1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405 1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405
1958 Mercedes 300SL Roadster

Registration no. 606 EXD
Chassis no. 198-042-10-002405

Footnotes

  • 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. Tested by the highly respected American magazine Road & Track 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. It was, arguably, the world's first supercar.

    Half expecting the long-awaited 300SL to provide an anti-climax, R&T were delighted to find the new car, 'far beyond our wildest expectations. In fact, we can state unequivocally that in our opinion the 300SL coupe is the ultimate in an all-round sportscar. It combines more desirable features in one streamlined package than we ever imagined or hoped would be possible. Performance? It accelerates from a dead start to 100mph in just over 17 seconds. Dual purpose? A production model 300SL can make a very acceptable showing in any type of sportscar competition. Yet the car is extremely tractable and easy to drive in traffic. Comfort? The fully enclosed 300SL is the most comfortable (and safe) high-speed 'cross-country' car built today.' Its racing parentage notwithstanding, the 300SL was and remains a thoroughly practical automobile, as civilised in city driving as it is exhilarating on the highway.

    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. Built with conventional doors, the 300SL Roadster was first exhibited at the Geneva Salon in May 1957 and was an immediate hit with the 1950s 'jet set' including royalty, actors and socialites. 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 300SL Roadster sold well for a car that cost more than a Ferrari 250GT California Spyder, and would out-live the 300SL Coupé by several years.

    The Roadster's neutral steering characteristics received fulsome praise from Road & Track in its 1958 roadtest. '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. Roadster production ceased in 1963 after 1,858 cars had been built, and today the model is both rare and highly sought after.
    The iconic 300SL roadster on offer here is a very nice example that has been in a private collection since 2005. It has been well maintained and improved with regular
    servicing and maintenance carried out by such notable specialists as O'Keefe Restorations and Gordon Dale.

    Very rare and highly desirable, this 300SL is offered today in truly beautiful order, having been the subject of a superior cosmetic restoration in 2012. In addition, the rear axle was rebuilt along with the injection pump and injectors, while a new high-capacity aluminium radiator was installed and the gearbox rebuilt with new bearings. Beautifully presented in the correct and original factory-coded white with black leather upholstery and black hood, the latter in excellent condition, this 300SL starts easily and drives like it should with impressive performance and strong brakes. '660 EXD' is supplied with a history file containing bills and receipts, UK V5 registration document, MoT to September 2013 and (free) historic road fund license. A stunning, show-class example of the iconic 300SL in roadster form, this is a highly desirable motor car that would make an exhilarating yet extremely practical touring companion. Indeed, there cannot be many better ways of travelling to a classic event, taking part and driving home.

Saleroom notices

  • The registration number for this vehicle is printed incorrectly in the catalogue, it should be 660EXD. Please note that due to a period in storage, the car would benefit from an engine service and tune.
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