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

COYS - Legende et Passion - Monaco - 21st May 2007

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Sold €350,066

The Mercedes-Benz 300SL 'Gullwing' is one of the all time classic automotive designs. During the mid-1950s this flagship of the Mercedes-Benz range was seen as heralding the emergence of the new German economy, recapturing the glory of the country's pre-war dominance of Grand Prix racing. Gullwings were victorious on the toughest events around the world, from Le Mans to the Carrerra Panamericana, and in road-going form wowed the world with their other world looks and traffic-stopping doors, the latter necessitated by the sporting chassis design, but equally effective as an instant point of recognition, and in many ways the car's 'signature' feature.

Whilst the German export economy was booming , through the production of such products, there were few in the still war-ravaged nation who could afford cars at all, let alone one as expensive as a Gullwing. The majority of the production went, unsurprisingly, to the United States.

There were, of course, a few people in Germany who retained some of their pre-war fortunes, primarily the aristocracy and 'old money' families. One such man was Baron Ruediger von Hirschberg, of Hirschberg am Haarsee, Weilheim, near Munich. Born in 1907 he was the son of Sophie, countess of Faber-Castell, a member of the family which counted amongst its interests the famous writing implement company. Baron von Hirschberg lived the life of the old German upper class, and his family home has been described as a fairy tale castle. In 1943 it was sold to the Third Reich, for which, it would appear, the von Hirschbergs were paid handsomely. It is perhaps unsurprising that such a man would be one of the few able to afford the luxurious new sports car, and in February 1955 he took delivery of this car which had been built to his special order by the factory.

Subsequently the Gullwing spent time in the Massachusetts and New Jersey areas of the United States, and has passed through the ownership of respected 300 SL authority Alex Dearborn.

The car then car entered the long term ownership of the Texan based collector Bob Martin who owned the car for over two decades. During the 1990s the car was purchased and brought to the UK for the famous collector and former motor cycle racer and Isle of Mann TT winner Bob Keeler. During Keeler's ownership the mechanics were totally rebuilt throughout by top UK specialist O'Keefe. After this rebuilt the car has seen only minimal use and the engine is barely run in.

In recent times the car has been sold to a well known collector and long term client of Coys in Hong Kong who arranged for a comprehensive and lengthy bare metal restoration of the coachwork and refinishing in the original German silver -DB180.

This expensive high quality work has been fully documented on CD-Rom. With it's virtually as new mechanicals and perfect coachwork this famous Ex von Hirschberg Gullwing represents one of the finest UK registered Gullwing's on the market today. In Jan 2007 the car was on feature display at the Autosport 2007 Racing car show at the NEC, the largest show of its kind in the world and the car has also just been photographed on behalf of The Sunday Times for an upcoming feature in Early '07.

En Février 1955, Baron von Hirschberg pris possession de cette 300 SL. Elle passa son temps aprs cela aux Etats-Unis chez Alex Dearborn puis chez le collectionneur Texan Bob Martin pendant plus de 20 ans. Durant les années 90, Bob Keeler, le fameux collecteur et champion de moto la ramena en Grande Bretagne. Les mécaniques furent remise a neuf par le spécialiste O'Keefe. Elle fut trs peu utilisée aprs cela.

Reference Number 9266

as of 5/7/2007

Car 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” Coupé (W198)
VIN 1980405500086 
Exterior / Interior Color      Silver /      Tan 
Configuration Left Hand Drive (LHD) 
Options Exterior: Alloy rims, Metallic paint
Interior: Leather interior