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Auction: Quail Lodge Auction
was auctioned on: 18 August 2017
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1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Chassis no. 198.040.5500771 Engine no. 198.980.5500295

Estimate: US$0
Price realised:  US$919,600
Lot number 91, Views: 127

427cu. in. OHV V-8 Engine Single 4 barrel Carburetor 410bhp at 6,000rpm 4-Speed Manual Transmission 4-Wheel Independent Suspension 4-Wheel Disc Brakes *Superb example of the legendary Gullwing *Extraordinary race history spanning over a decade *Aluminum engine and sports cam fitted at the factory *Spectacular Paul Russell restoration *Extensively documented with prominent ownership history THE MERCEDES-BENZ 300SL GULLWING Instantly recognizable by virtually anyone on the planet, the immortal 300SL (for Sports Leicht) Gullwing coupe arguably competes for the title of "Greatest Sports Car of the 1950s", and surely qualifies for anyone's Top 10 list of the greatest automobiles of all time. A period favorite of wealthy celebrities, it ranks today among the most valued and collectable sports cars ever produced. The 300SL coupe was the direct descendant of Mercedes Benz' Le Mans W194 competition coupe, conceived in 1952 and aimed at wresting the World Sportscar Championship from Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, and Lancia. Chief Engineer Fritz Nallinger suggested that the company build a new two-seat sports car utilizing the strong in-line SOHC six-cylinder engine from its luxurious 300 series. Test Department manager Rudolf Uhlenhaut, having some experience with tubular chassis design, sat down with construction engineer Joseph Müller and laid out an extremely light (154 pounds) and rigid lattice-work chassis capable of accommodating the big in-line six. One major problem soon presented itself: there was no way to mount conventional doors without compromising the rigidity of the chassis. The solution was to raise the entry so that the doors cut into the roof, but that meant hinging them from the top, thus giving birth to this car's timeless signature design feature. The 300SL's first racing trial was the 1952 Mille Miglia, where the cars finished second and forth. Next came the Grand Prix of Berne, where a quartet of 300SLs took the start and swept the top three positions. Then came Le Mans, where after the grueling 24-hour epic, a pair of 300SLs had finished in the top two positions... and were then driven back to the factory! In 1955, Mercedes would go on an incredible winning streak which included the famous Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson victory where a record average speed of just under a hundred miles an hour was set. The 300SL Gullwing in final form was unveiled at the New York International Motor Sports Show in early February, 1954, and actual production began that fall. The new coupe was slightly changed in appearance from the racing coupes and featured Bosch direct fuel injection. It was claimed by the factory, "the fastest German production sports car". THE MOTORCAR OFFERED Although this Gullwing is one of 1,100 production cars built on the blueprint of the race model – it has an outstanding race history of its own. The Gullwing was completed at the factory on January 10th, 1955. The car was ordered in the gorgeous shade of DB 534 red, over a 953 black interior. The formative years of the car are undocumented, but early records suggest that this Gullwing was driven in race events right out of the gate – as it was shipped back to Stuttgart in the 60s where it received a new aluminum motor complete with sports cam. Jump to November, 1978, and the car appeared in an advertisement in Hemmings Motor News offered for $30,000 – completely restored in fire engine red with black interior and only 13,000 miles on the new aluminum motor. Mr. John Olson, editor and publisher of the SL Market Letter in Minneapolis, Minnesota, snapped up the car and a new era began. In 1982, Olson entered the car in the 3,000 mile road rally from Boston to San Diego, called the Four Ball Rally. Apparently averaging a 'sedate' 65 miles an hour, the 27-year-old classic – the oldest car in the field - finished in 47 hours. The following year the car came in 3rd in the Coast to Coast Cannonball, a strenuous feat which resulted in Olson having the Gullwing overhaul

Informations about the auction
Auction house: Bonhams London
Title: Quail Lodge Auction
Date of the auction: 18 Aug 2017
Address: Bonhams London
Carmel, Quail Lodge Quail Lodge's West Field 7000 Valley Greens Drive (at Rancho San Carlos Rd) Carmel CA 93923 Tel: +1 415 391 4000 Fax : +1 415 391 4040 [email protected]