• Restored by renowned 300 SL experts Rudi & Company
• Retains matching numbers engine
• Concours class winner at Amelia Island and Hilton Head
• Outstanding history includes 42 years of sole prior ownership
• Striking presentation; complete with full set of matching luggage
215 BHP (DIN), 240 HP (SAE), 2,996 cc SOHC inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front coil-spring suspension, independent rear single-point swing axle suspension with coil springs, four-wheel servo-assisted drum brakes; wheelbase: 94.5“
Some 60 years after its landmark debut at Geneva in March 1957, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster continues to rank, along with the 300 SL “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 300 SL 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, one cannot forget to mention its sensuous bodylines and avant-garde flair, with the 300 SL conveying an image of speed and adventure even when at rest.
Largely based on the W198 300 SL “Gullwing,” itself derived from the mighty W194 racing cars of the earlier 1950s, the 300 SL Roadster was internally designated ‘W198 II’ and ushered in a myriad of internal updates while maintaining the sleek basic design cues and race-bred performance credentials of its predecessor. As with the prior “Gullwing,” development and production of the 300 SL Roadster was advocated – forcefully – by New York-based American Mercedes-Benz importer, Max Hoffman.
Built around a revised and strengthened, yet startlingly lightweight space-frame chassis, the 300 SL Roadster featured conventional front-hinged doors, a more pleasant ride, and more forgiving handling characteristics, 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 300 SL 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 names in the business, entertainment, political, and social spheres, the 300 SL Roadster continues to weave its magic today as an unqualified icon that no proper collection can be without. Priced from 32,500 Deutschmarks in 1957, the 300 SL occupied the pinnacle of the Mercedes-Benz model line throughout its production run. While not particularly profitable in purely monetary terms for Daimler-Benz, the 300 SL provided a “halo effect” for its maker that remains unsurpassed.
Just 1,858 300 SL Roadsters were built in all from 1957 through 1963. This lovely early-production example was produced during the first year of roadster sales and was owned by the prior owner for 42 years. The chassis number, body number, and engine number are all original and matching as confirmed by the car’s data card from Daimler-Benz. In keeping with other members of the Gull Wing Group, the prior owner is understood to have actively enjoyed the car, including driving it from coast to coast on club tours – not once, but twice. During the prior owner’s tenure, the 300 SL was completely restored by Rudi Konicek and his craftsmen at Rudi & Company of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, with the mechanical work entrusted to Marx Mercedes Services in Costa Mesa, California. During restoration, the car was refinished in Silver Metallic (DB180) paint and the leather interior was beautifully retrimmed in deep red, which extends to the car’s set of fitted luggage. Select upgrades include a desirable set of European-specification headlamps and a 3.25:1 rear-end ratio ensuring cruising ease at highway speeds.
Following completion, this 300 SL’s excellence was confirmed on the concours lawn, with class wins at both Amelia Island and Hilton Head concours’ respectively. Most recently under the current owner, the 300 SL has been professionally detailed and further elevated in terms of its correctness and presentation. Best of all, this stellar 300 SL Roadster retains its matching numbers engine. As an unqualified 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 all-time greatest sports cars ever conceived and built. As offered, this very special 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster from the model’s historic first production year is truly a fitting example of the breed.
1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
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