Gullwing Coupes on Offer at Scottsdale 2024 Auctions
Mercedes-Benz premiered the 300 SL at the New York Auto Show in 1954. It was based on the highly successful W194 race car. MB used a mechanical direct fuel injection system on the motor to increase horsepower. The 3.0-liter engine made 240 HP and could propel the 300 SL to a top speed of 163 MPH. In addition to power, a streamlined body helped the car slice thru the air. And the hood, doors and trunk lid were all made from aluminum. The doors opened upwards in a gull wing shape, providing model distinction as well as an unofficial name for the coupes. Interiors were either leather or a combination of leather and plaid cloth. These cars still perform great today and are the choice of many on long distance rallies. A total of 1,400 coupes were made by Mercedes.
The Barrett-Jackson car is a 1956 model. It was originally delivered in Italy and imported to the US in the early 1990’s. After 25 years in a collection in Pennsylvania it was treated to a 3-year restoration by Coachwerks British Columbia, a noted Gullwing restoration shop.
Coachwerks completely stripped down the body, chassis, engine, and all mechanical components to perform a nut and bolt, frame off, concours quality restoration. Every mechanical component has been restored or replaced. in and has just completed a 3-year restoration and is finished in Silver Gray metallic with a natural leather interior and two sets of seats, one in leather and the other in green plaid cloth.
It rides on Rudge knock off wheels and comes with fitted luggage. The Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Long Beach, CA, has verified it has its original engine, transmission, rear axle, a front spindle, and the steering box. It is finished in the correct DB 180 Silver Gray Metallic and trimmed with a natural leather interior and two sets of seats; green cloth inserts for warm weather and full leather inserts for colder temps.
It comes with fitted luggage and is documented by thousands of photos and all invoices from the restoration. It is being offered with no reserve and we think bidding will exceed $2 million for the car.
RM Sotheby’s is offering a 1955 model that was delivered to Max Hoffman’s NYC salesroom. It is listed in the 300SL Registry. The current owner acquired the car at the Auburn Labor Day Auction in 1978. Prior to that it had been cosmetically refinished in Silver Metallic paint over a red leather interior as seen today.
The car retains its original chassis, engine, gearbox, and axles. It wears Rudge wheels (with proper date stamping of 6/55) and is further fitted with a Becker Mexico radio. RM describes the car as “ready for further refreshening or the basis for a concours restoration”. RM has an estimate of $1.5 to $1.7 million. We think the low end of the estimate is the right number.
Bonhams rounds out the 300 SL offerings in Scottdale. They are offering a 1956 coupe in Silver paint over Red leather and tartan plaid cloth seats. It comes from a long-term ownership of 50 years. Originally finished in white paint over a red leather interior it was refinished several decades ago it its present colors.
The wheels are color keyed steel with polished rims. It has an ivory-colored steering wheel and shift knob, and a Blaupunkt AM radio. The engine was completely rebuilt in 2006-2007, along with the gearbox, replacement clutch, overhauled injection pump, rebuilt brakes, and various bushings and other items.
The Gullwing registry shows that is retains its numbers matching engine block and chassis number tag, engine tag and firewall stamp. Bonhams has an estimate of $1.5 to $1.7 million as well. We think this should sell at the low estimate as well.