1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094
Lot 139
Matching numbers
Highly original, low mileage example

1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster
Sold for US$ 1,237,500 inc. premium

Lot Details
1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster w/ hardtop  Chassis no. 198.042.8500094
1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster

Chassis no. 198.042.8500094
Engine no. 198.980.7500682

2,996cc SOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Bosch Mechanical Fuel Injection
225bhp at 5,800rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Drum Brakes


*Matching numbers example documented via factory data card
*One of only 1,858 300SL Roadsters produced
*Offered with factory original Hard Top in original crate
*Original, striking color combination
*Low mileage, one owner car for much of its life



THE MERCEDES-BENZ 300SL ROADSTER

It's impossible to talk about the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster without first referring to the car that spawned it – the legendary 300SL 'Gullwing' coupe. Originally conceived as a racing car, the 300SL racked up victories throughout 1952, in the process capturing the imagination of America's official Mercedes-Benz importer Maximilian 'Maxi' Hoffman.

Desperate for a car to sate the desires of his upmarket clients, he eventually persuaded the Daimler-Benz board to take the 300SL from racetrack to road. The designers and engineers refused to compromise on the purity of the original, so the bodywork was still primarily crafted to reduce drag as much as possible (although rumor has it that the elegant strips over the wheel arches were no more than fashionable cosmetic touches to make the car appeal to its American audience), and the steel panels cloaked a tubular chassis frame designed by Rudolf Uhlenhaut which weighed only 82kg.

The iconic doors of the coupe were a byproduct of this chassis, which had much higher sides than usual, leaving limited vertical space for a conventional door. Production began at the Sindelfingen plant in August 1954 and over the next two and half years it proved a phenomenal success. 1,402 were sold, despite the colossal $11,000 asking price.

By 1957, however, SL (the initials stood for Sport Leicht; Sport Light) sales were on the slide, and with the roadster body style proving popular in America – and feedback from customers suggesting they'd like more comfort and a larger trunk – Maxi Hoffman helped convince Mercedes-Benz that a convertible version could take over where the coupe left off.

Introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in May that year, the 300SL Roadster wasn't the result of a quick fix to meet owner demands. Mercedes re-engineered the whole car, taking the opportunity to fix some niggles that afflicted the 300SL—first and foremost the suspension. Although the double wishbone front layout was famed for its precision, the rear swing arm axle, jointed at the differential, had developed a reputation for tricky handling and sensitivity to cambers. Lowering the pivot point helped calm the 300SL's predilection for oversteer.

At the same time the fabulous 3.0-liter straight six, which featured fuel injection years ahead of its time, was boosted from 215bhp to 225bhp (torque output remained at 202lb-ft at 4,600rpm) and the chassis was redesigned with lower sills to accommodate normal swing-opening doors – although additional strengthening was required in the lower half of the chassis which saw the SL's weight grow from 1,310kg to 1,420kg.

Partially to increase load space and partially to create room for the folding fabric roof, the fuel tank capacity was reduced from 130 liters to 100 liters, but arguably the biggest benefit the Roadster gained over the Gullwing was superior ventilation. Due at least in part to the coupe's small in/out side windows, the hard top 300SL was regarded by many as tough work on long trips due to heat buildup in the cabin. Even with its roof up the Roadster's wind-up windows allowed much better airflow through the cockpit.

By no means the poor relation to the Gullwing, the later refinements added to the Roadster made it a compelling proposition for collectors and enthusiasts despite a list price of $10,950, a ten percent increase over the Gullwing. And while the coupe had a model-run of under three years, the Roadster stayed in production until early 1963, by which time 1,858 had been built.


THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

This delightful 300SL Roadster is documented by its original Mercedes-Benz data card, a copy of which is included. While slightly difficult to read, the 300SL's factory data card indicates that it was delivered to the South Bend, Indiana Studebaker Packard facility, which served as Max Hoffman's distribution center for the 300SL Roadsters. The car is recorded as having been delivered in Silver Grey Metallic (180), with Red leather (1079), the same color combination it wears to this day. Further, the 300SL was equipped with sealed-beam headlamps and a Becker Mexico radio.

This lovely 300SL is understood to have been in the long-term care of Mr. Clair Kemp, who is believed to have purchased this Roadster new in 1958. In his Utah garage, the 300SL enjoyed pride of place next to a Lamborghini Miura; clearly Mr. Kemp's enthusiasm for fine automobiles ran deep! Following Mr. Kemp's passing several years ago, the 300SL passed to his heirs, who then sold the car to Jack Plumb, a well-known Utah-based car enthusiast and restorer. Plumb stripped the very original Mercedes to bare metal, at which time it was determined to have a very solid body; once stripped, the 300SL was refinished in its original color of Silver Grey Metallic. While the paintwork was attended to, the fuel injection pump was rebuilt for smooth operation. Furthermore, the consignor states that the indicated mileage of under 57,000 is original.

The low-mileage Roadster is described by the vendor as retaining its original interior upholstery, the sporting red leather providing the perfect contrast to the classic Mercedes silver paintwork. To set things off visually, the Roadster has been fitted with a set of reproduction Rudge knockoff wheels which truly give it that much more presence. Perhaps most remarkably, the 300SL also comes with an original Hard Top still in its original German wood shipping crate, a fine accouterment, not to mention one that makes the Roadster a true all-weather driver's car.

Complete with books and tools, and together with the factory hard top in its original factory wooden shipping create, this very attractive 300SL Roadster appears today in its original color combination, boasting many of its original features. It is rare to see a 300SL today that has not been over-restored and done so in a way to suit personalized owner's tastes – this car is one that has been lovingly preserved and maintained through the generations, never over-restored, and presented in its most fitting original color combination of Silver Gray Metallic over Red. It is a fine example of the highly prized 300SL Roadster, and should be a highly enjoyable entry to all manner of historic motoring events upon purchase.

Footnotes

  • Please note that this vehicle is titled with chassis number 8500094.
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