1. 1959 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster

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Lot Number
20
1959 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster
Scottsdale Auction

Offered Without Reserve

ESTIMATE: $1,000,000 - $1,300,000
CHASSIS NO: 198042
• Top-quality, unrestored and exceptionally original, HVA Preservation Award winner 2017
• Retaining matching numbers engine and original interior
• Just three owners from new
• Includes fitted luggage and factory hard top
• Spectacular performance, even by today’s standards
• Maintained “on the button” and kept at Mercedes-Benz Classic Center

2,996 cc SOHC inline six-cylinder engine, 225 bhp (DIN), 250 bhp (SAE), four-speed all-synchromesh manual gearbox, independent front suspension with twin wishbones, coil springs and anti-roll bar, single-pivot swing axle rear suspension with compensating spring and coil springs, hydraulic telescopic shock absorbers, four-wheel hydraulic, servo-assisted drum brakes; wheelbase: 94.5"


Some 60 years after debuting at Geneva in March 1957, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster continues to rank, along with the 300SL “Gullwing” coupe before it, among the finest and most influential sports cars ever produced. Timeless in appearance and capable of truly electrifying race-bred performance, even by today’s jaded standards, the 300SL Roadster's technical sophistication, including its SOHC, fuel-injected 3.0-litre engine and improved fully-independent suspension, remains the standard by which the world’s finest automobiles are judged. Of course, with its sensuous bodylines and avant-garde flair, the 300SL conveyed an image of adventure, speed, and victory – even at rest. Largely based on the W198 300SL “Gullwing,” itself derived from the mighty W194 racing cars of the earlier 1950s, the 300SL Roadster was internally designated ‘W198 II’ and ushered in a myriad of internal updates while maintaining the sleek basic design cues and performance of its predecessor. As with the prior 300SL “Gullwing,” development and production of the 300 SL Roadster was advocated – forcefully – by New York-based Mercedes-Benz importer, Max Hoffman.

Built around a revised and strengthened, yet startlingly lightweight space-frame chassis, the 300SL Roadster featured conventional front-hinged doors, a more pleasant ride, and more forgiving handling, while retaining the sporting driving dynamics demanded by enthusiasts. A revised camshaft profile delivered additional power and performance in concert with the new higher-octane gasolines that became available during the latter 1950s, offsetting a minor weight penalty in return for the Roadster’s top-quality cloth convertible top, which disappeared neatly beneath a hard boot cover when lowered. As buyers expected, the 300SL Roadster was an outstanding performer with strong acceleration and a factory-claimed 137-mph top speed, often higher depending upon the final-drive ratio selected. Coveted from new by the top luminaries in the business, entertainment, political, and social spheres, the 300SL Roadster continues to weave its magic today as an icon that no proper collection can be without.

Just 1,858 300SL Roadsters were built in all during a brief production period from 1957 through 1963. They are still today often regarded as one of the greatest and perhaps most timeless designs of the era. It is one of few cars ever built that from no matter where you stand, every angle is pleasing to the eye. In 2004, the consignor became only the third owner of this car from new. A thrilling find as offered, it remains in spectacular, never-restored form, with just one repaint applied in 1961 when the exterior color was changed to black. The red interior remains factory-original, appropriately enhanced by a recent set of fitted luggage sourced by the consignor through the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center. The factory-original fuel-injected 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine still powers this 300SL, which the consignor states produces no unwanted smoke and runs great in concert with the benefits of a new clutch, new hoses, water pump, and new rear brake drums. Under the consignor’s watch, the 300SL has enjoyed proper maintenance, care, and storage provided by the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine, California, ensuring it is ready for enjoyment on command and as he recently stated, it “…runs like a bat out of hell,” desirably enhanced by its performance rear-axle ratio. A proven veteran of three editions of the Colorado Grand and Copperstate 1000 long-distance classic rallies, this car has also just recently completed the inaugural 300 SL Classic Rally. It has also been toured in Europe during the 2012/2013 season, providing a most wonderful and memorable experience for the consignor and his wife. In recognition of its impeccable preservation and startling overall originality, this 300SL Roadster earned the Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) Preservation Award as the most correct unrestored car in the 2017 Colorado Grand. This example is well-known and admired throughout the 300SL community and would be a wonderful stablemate amongst any collection of important cars. An undisputed design and engineering tour de force with performance that remains startling today, the 300 SL continues to occupy a place on virtually every list ranking the world’s all-time greatest sports cars. Accordingly, this unrestored, three-owner example is certainly one of the finest of its kind.

1959 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster
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