1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” Coupé (W198)SOLD

RM Auctions - The Ponder Collection - Texas - April 20-21st, 2007

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ESTIMATE: $400,000 - $500,000


$506,000 Sold

215hp 2,996 cc overhead cam inline six-cylinder engine with four-speed manual transmission, four-wheel independent suspension and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5"

Like most of industrial Germany, Allied bombing during the Second World War decimated Mercedes-Benz’s facilities. It is a testimonial to the capability of the company that in just a few years, Mercedes mounted a racing campaign with a brand new race car, the 300 SLR, that was so good the factory team won all but one or two races (and they won every important one). It is this monumental achievement that is responsible in large part for Mercedes-Benz’s performance image today.

Mercedes-Benz was involved in motor sports because of exposure it provided as well as the technological benefits, which were put into use in their production cars. In order to capitalize on the SL’s success on the race track, the process of transforming it into a marketable street car began immediately. With some structural changes to improve access through the doors, the addition of fuel injection and improved creature comforts, the new 300SL coupe was born.

Introduced as a Gullwing coupe, the legendary 300SL was conceived as a high performance
street machine with a thinly veiled racing history. It was fast, solid, and handled well; it was not long before it had developed an enviable reputation both on the track and in the streets.
Some cars are fortunate enough to become icons, and in the collector car world, there is no more immediately recognizable sight than a 300SL with its doors raised. Born as a solution to a constraint imposed by the car’s light tubular frame, the Gullwing doors became the car’s visual signature. It is this combination of an impeccable bloodline, outstanding engineering and striking design that has made the 300SL so highly prized by collectors today.

At a time when most sports cars were flimsy handmade affairs, the 300SL felt as if it was carved from a solid block. Where others had quirky styling, the 300SL Gullwing was beautiful from any angle. When others had carburetors, solid rear axles, and pushrod engines, the 300SL offered fuel injection, independent rear suspension and an overhead camshaft.

The 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing pictured here in red with a cream colored interior is complete with a two-piece fitted luggage set. The brightwork, including the very desirable Rudge wheels, and the jack in trunk, with its chrome dress up pieces, are all in presentable condition. The interior does show some wear, which is appropriate to the 11,237 kilometers registered on the odometer. The engine and bay are quite clean and appear to be highly correct.

This Gullwing is listed in the registry as having been a special order car from the Mercedes-Benz factory. It was completed August 29, 1955 and was shipped two days later to Mercedes-Benz Distributors, Inc. New York wearing DB534 Fire Engine Red with a black leather interior. Previous owners include Theodore Soltis of Wilmington, Delaware, Henry K. Mearing, Jr. of Manheim, Pennsylvania, Raul Slavin of New York, Arlan Ettinger of Remsenburg, New York, and Ehlich Renhard of Düsseldorf, Germany. Mr. Ponder purchased the car in 1998 and has since that time taken exceptional care of the Gullwing. Notably, the Gullwing is also fitted with its original belly pans which are in very well-preserved overall condition and are indicative of the car’s years of careful care.

Overall, the Gullwing presented here is truly a lovely example that is ready to be driven. The 300SL is an especially desirable example, as it combines fitted luggage, Rudge wheels and a handsome color scheme in one of the most sporting cars of the postwar era.

Please note that the serial number for this vehicle is 1980405500681.

Reference Number 7598

as of 2/27/2007

Car 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” Coupé (W198)
VIN 1980405500681 
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