<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431

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Lot 30
1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster

US$ 950,000 - 1,100,000
£ 760,000 - 880,000
Amended
1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster
Chassis no. 198.042.7500532
Engine no. 198.980.7500431

2,996cc SOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Bosch Mechanical Fuel Injection
250bhp at 6,200rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Wheet Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes

*Beautifully restored, matching numbers example
*Long-term California ownership
*Excellent tour car for rallies such as the Colorado Grand
*Classic and appropriate Silver over Red livery


THE MERCEDES-BENZ 300SL ROADSTER

Created to spearhead Mercedes-Benz's return to competition in the post-war era, the 300 SL 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 Mercedes-Benz importer for North America, Max Hoffman, believed there would be a market for a road-going version, and managed to convince the factory that such a car would be a success.

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. 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 coupé 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 civilized in city driving as it is exhilarating on the highway.

Clearly the 300SL Coupe 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 250 GT California Spider, and would out-live the 300SL Coupe by several years.

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

This particular example has recently emerged from the estate of a long-term California collection where it remained for twenty years under thoughtful ownership. The former owner enjoyed several outings with the car including attendance at the Monaco Grand Prix Formula One event in 2011, 2012, and 2013 confirmed by the windshield decals still in place today. A copy of the original Mercedes-Benz build sheet indicates the car still retains the original matching numbers engine exactly as it was assembled on December 17, 1957. The build sheet further indicates the car was ordered for delivery to the US with sealed beam headlights, Becker radio, column mounted turn signal indicator, reverse lights (integrated into the main taillight lenses) and fitted luggage. Originally painted bright red, the car was fitted with cream leather interior and beige convertible top. Delivery was consigned from Meyer Sohn, Bremen, Germany through Studebaker/Packard (then the authorized US importer for Mercedes-Benz) with a final destination of New Orleans.

With 77,947 miles showing on the odometer, this 300SL has had a recent service by the 300SL experts at Burlingame Motors. After a careful mechanical overview, new sway bar bushings and new motor mounts were installed and the brakes were serviced, cleaned and adjusted. During the brake inspection, it was noted that there were no leaks and correct materials were used during restoration. The fuel gauge was rebuilt, the hand brake adjusted, and the engine oil and filter were renewed.

Today, this rare and beautiful matching numbers 300SL Roadster presents as a very handsome glossy restoration with delightful cosmetics. The silver paint was mixed with the correct metallic flake and was uniformly applied. The doors, hood and trunk gaps are tidy and even throughout with mild evidence of use visible in a few closure surfaces. The hood and trunk open and shut smoothly and the doors have properly finished jambs, opening and shutting tightly with distinctive German precision. The exterior emblems and lenses are all in very good to excellent condition, while the chrome shows only minor areas of light surface hazing. The wheels and wheel covers are beautifully finished with matching silver painted rims and chrome plated wheel trim and hubcaps. The low fender line, sculpted hood bulges, and racecar inspired side vents all accent the perfect stance of this SL.

The interior of the car has a very fresh look and feel. The recently finished leather surfaces have been properly stitched and applied. The workmanship throughout the interior is of high quality with excellent feel to the seating surfaces and a beautifully fitted leather topped dash. The red canvas top smoothly disappears into the hinged rear deck and latches into the windshield header with tight closure including a clear, taut rear window. The dashboard is beautiful, with vivid instruments. The various detailed interior switches, levers, and knobs are all beautifully finished including the wood rimmed Nardi steering wheel. Inside the trunk, a set of finely crafted red leather covered luggage has been trimmed with grey leather edging and grab handles, accented by chrome hardware. The overall visual impact of the interior is quite nice, exhibiting uniform finishes and minimal use since being restored.

Under the hood, the matching numbers, fuel-injected M198 engine is a stunning combination of sculptural artistry and mechanical refinement. Proper fittings and attention to detail are evident throughout the engine compartment. The correct air cleaner housing and fittings are also in place. While not restored with only concours show judging in mind, the engine compartment is properly prepared, ready for enjoyment.

The car starts easily and settles into a smooth idle when warm, while the cold idle is typical for these injected engines and easily managed with the driver-operated fuel enrichening mechanism. The chassis and underside components are in very good condition overall with no significant issues and no visible signs of structural compromise.

This matching numbers 300SL Roadster comes with fitted luggage, spare tire, and a copy of the original build sheet verifying the matching numbers engine and supporting the original equipment as delivered.
One of the most exotic cars available when new, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster was brimming with innovative features, many of them hallmarks of superlative automotive engineering. Today these fast, beautiful, and exclusive cars continue to appeal to collectors and enthusiasts in part due to their inherent beauty but also for their exceptional build quality and ease of use. This matching numbers example is ready for enjoyable driving, events, or fun excursions, just as originally intended when delivered new.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note, that the although the car did receive the work described in the catalog at Burlingame Motors, the fuel gauge was not rebuilt, and it is currently not functioning. Also note, the title will be in transit.
Contacts
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
<b>1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 198.042.7500532<br />Engine no. 198.980.7500431
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