1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Papillon1.100.000-1.300.000 EUR - Estimate
See all the Images for this Car
British title (V5)
Chassis no. 198.040 - 55 00037
Engine no. 198.980-45-00189
- Low ownership; last owner but one for 48 years
- Very well preserved, matching numbers
- Exceptional history, an iconic mode

Reference Number 629692

as of 10/15/2020

Dealer
Go to dealer's website  

Lot 42

Artcurial - Automobiles sur les Champs  Contact  Location
59 avenue Montaigne  Phone  +33 1 42 99 20 56  City  Paris
75008 Paris  Fax  +33 1 42 99 16 39  State  Paris
France  Mobile    Country  France France
Overview
Car 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Papillon
VIN 198.040 - 55 00037 
More Images
See all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this Car
See all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this Car
See all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this Car
See all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this Car
See all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this Car
Known History

This is not just any other Mercedes 300 SL "Gullwing". It is in fact one of the first ten models sold new in England and has had very few owners since leaving the factory at the end of January 1955. There is too an amusing story about how it was originally purchased. A car enthusiast, Sir Jeremy Boles (then just 23) was in the process of ordering the car at the 1954 London Motor Show when his close friend, the famous racing driver Mike Hawthorn, rushed up to him to try and talk him out of buying a foreign car! That is the story told by Mike Hawthorn's then girlfriend, Moi Kenward, in Chris Nixon's book recounting the lives of Hawthorn and Peter Collins, Mon Ami Mate. Hawthorn's intervention did not prevent the transaction from going ahead, and Boles took delivery of the car a few weeks later at Brooklands of Bond Street, in London: it was finished in metallic grey with a tartan cloth interior, identical to the competition 300 SLs. Boles also owned an Aston Martin DB3 and a Connaught Formula 2 single-seater. He was partially disabled and the Mercedes was fitted with a hand-operated clutch.

According to the notes which its last owner but one took in discussion with Boles in 1999, the rear axle broke three months after the purchase and it was replaced with a new axle under warranty. With a longer final drive ratio, it allowed Boles to reach a top speed of 153 mph. Boles sold the car at the end of 1956 or the start of 1957, and the next known owner, a sculptor, acquired it in 1959 through Welwyn Motors in Suffolk. He kept it until 1967, when he sold the car to a friend, who had known it since 1959, for £2000. Registered in the name of his business, the Mercedes was finished in grey at the time. He sometimes used the car to take his daughters to school, and during the 1970s, he set it aside and it was laid up for several years. In 1997, it emerged from its hibernation and underwent a complete restoration by Vardy/Robinson, the Mercedes dealer in Cambridge. The body restoration and paintwork - in the original colour - were entrusted to the specialist Kirtling Garage, with work on the interior by P&M Taylor, using parts sourced from specialists such as O'Keeffe. Completed in 2000, the restoration cost a total of £50,000, as can be seen from the invoices and photographs on file. In March 2016, the 300 SL was sold at auction and is today showing 61,730 miles (99,345 km), which is in all likelihood its original mileage.

It should be noted that the car is recorded in Gullwing - the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé, Anthony Pritchard's excellent book on the make, and in Eric Le Moine's exhaustive Register. The car also comes with other documents, including owner's and parts manuals, a copy of the build sheet and old registration certificates, as well as its tools.

Superbly preserved and restored, this Mercedes 300 SL benefits from an exceptional history with a select group of previous owners. A past life which is worthy of what remains one of the most iconic sports cars of its time.