Ask any serious collector and they’ll tell you that every decade has its defining vehicles. And when it comes to sports cars made during the 1950s, few are as highly regarded as the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing.
Next week, a stunning example of the 1957 version of the car will go up for auction as part of Gooding & Company’s Geared Online auction. And while this particular 300SL has been the recipient of a thorough and well-documented restoration, it still features its original inline-six engine.
One look at the 300 SL and it’s easy to see why the car is still talked about today. With its long nose, graceful curves and iconic gullwing doors, this is one beautiful coupe. But there’s so much more to this car than its looks. During the early post-war period, there wasn’t much separating race cars from road cars, something made abundantly clear by a peak under the 300 SL’s hood. That’s because the vehicle is powered by the same 3.0-liter inline-six engine used in the automaker’s famous W194 race car. Thanks to that powerhouse, which is mated to a four-speed manual transmission, the gorgeous grand tourer was capable of reaching a top speed of 163 mph, making it the fastest production car of the era.
Despite being 63 years old, this particular 300 SL is in excellent condition thanks in no small part to a thorough 10-month-long restoration overseen by expert Jerry Hjeltness in 1997. As part of that process, the car was completely dissembled and every part was either fully renewed or replaced with a piece in “new or better” condition. One thing to note is that the engine number doesn’t match the one listed in the vehicle’s factory records, but that’s because of a confirmed clerical error. The car has been serviced regularly in the years since, including a $40,000 touch up last year.
The silver 300 SL Gullwing is expected to hammer down for somewhere between $1 million and $1.3 million when it goes up for auction next week. Registered bidding will run from Monday, October 26, to Friday, October 30. And if you’re looking to add something a little more modern to your collection, fret not because a striking Lamborghini Countach “Periscopa” will also be up for auction.