1957 300 SL Roadster LHD
The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL is one of the finest and most influential post-war sports cars ever built. Originally conceived in 1954 as a coupe, with its iconic ‘Gullwing’ doors, it was followed by the roadster in 1957, which, like its predecessor, was developed as a road going version of Mercedes’ successful W194 racer. As with many European manufacturers, the market in North America was particularly important to Mercedes and the roadster was largely built on the advice of New York based importer Max Hoffman who saw the strong sales potential in the US for a convertible version of the popular Gullwing.
Aside from the obvious external design change in eliminating the roof, the roadster benefitted from a number of technical improvements over the coupe including a lower sill line, which improved access to the cabin, and a redesigned rear suspension set up, which significantly improved handling. Performance was further enhanced with a higher compression engine and the adoption of the competition camshafts initially used in the NSL Gullwing race cars. The roadster also received, as standard, climate control, leather seats and fitted luggage, which was facilitated by repositioning the spare tyre below the boot.
This example is very early car being one of only 554 built in the first year of manufacture. Its rarity is enhanced in view of the original Erdbeerrot, or Strawberry Red Metallic, paint it wears, which was restricted to only 30 examples.
Constructed in mid-1957 the car was delivered to its first owner at the Studebaker-Packard headquarters at South Bend, Indiana, USA on 19th October that year. In addition to the rare factory colour scheme, it also came fitted with a number of other special items including instruments calibrated in miles per hour, sealed-beam headlamps with separate parking lights, a Becker Mexico radio, and a 3.89:1 rear axle ratio for superior acceleration.
After a period in the United States the car eventually migrated to Japan before being returned to America in 2005. Still remarkably solid and original at this time, it was an excellent candidate for restoration and to that end it was entrusted to the world-renowned Mercedes-Benz Classic Center USA in Irvine, California for a two year bare-metal restoration to concours standard, which was completed in 2014. At this time the car was fitted with the factory optional Rudge wheels.
With minimal use since that time the car still presents in exceptional condition and retains full matching numbers. Accompanied by a book summarising its restoration, numerous invoices, a heritage certificate, copy of the build sheet plus tools and a jack it provides a fabulous opportunity to acquire a very authentic and breath-taking example of one of the most iconic sports cars of all time. With a build date of 1957 it is eligible for many of the most prestigious events worldwide including the Mille Miglia. Please contact us for further details.