Between the years 1954 and 1957, Mercedes-Benz made just 1,400 Gullwing coupes. Currently, Bring a Trailer has one of those coupes up for auction—a 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL completed on September 3, 1955.
It was Max Hoffman, a Mercedes importer in the US, who suggested Mercedes-Benz build the 300SL. The idea came about from observing the very successful W194 sports racers. Much like the racers, the 300SL was kept light, thanks largely to the tubular chassis and body panels made of steel and aluminium. Because the tube frame required such high sills, upward-opening doors—gullwing doors—were required. Of course, a racer needs a good engine, and for this car, Mercedes-Benz used a 3.0-litre M198 inline-six with Bosch mechanical fuel injection. The engine was canted to facilitate a lower hood profile. It also featured an aluminium cylinder head, a dry-sump lubrication system, sodium-filled exhaust valves, and a single overhead camshaft. Coming out of the factory, the 300SL was rated at 215 horsepower, which was channelled to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission.
The car up for auction has been restored to its original glory—with a few additions. The colour scheme is the factory-correct combination of Graphite Grey over light grey leather. Rudge knock-off wheels were added as was a Becker Mexico radio that offers a Bluetooth adapter. A reproduction luggage set holds a matching suitcase. Two sets of cushions are available—one in the light grey and another in red and white plaid. The bumper guards on both the front and back were removed and saved should a future owner wish to reinstall them. And speaking of originals, the sale also includes the original removed wheels as well as the factory hubs. For suspension, the 300SL relies on an independent front suspension system with swing axles in the back and coil springs combined with hydraulic shocks all around.
This unique and rare vehicle has seen bids reach USD$1,400,000 as of May 27, 2020, but the reserve hasn’t been met yet, so there’s still a chance if you want to go for it.