1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing for sale
In the Cars On Line.com newsletter this week we introduced a million dollar 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing which was listed for sale by Gullwing Motor Cars of Astoria, New York. Peter Kumar, the owner of Gullwing Motor Car and an accomplished collector, says this car is a “time capsule” having been in the same family for the past 50 years. If the name of your company is Gullwing Motor Cars you probably know better than anyone else how original this one is. Kumar says the interior of this 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing is beautifully preserved. He says it comes with its original books, Beck Mexico radio, belly pans, jack and a portfolio of its history.
Although it is seen here in white finish, they say it was originally a silver grey metallic. The blue leather and plaid upholstery are original.
Kumar also listed a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster, also very rare and desirable as a top collector vehicle. Although you see it here in red with black leather interior, it originally came with Blue Gray exterior paint. Kumar says it has been a California car all its life and is currently considered to be in excellent mechanical condition.
Mercedes designed the 300SL Gullwing coupe because they wanted to go racing in 1952. Indeed, they dominated their class on the Grand Prix circuit, winning the 24 Hours of Lemans that year and also winning the Carrera Panamericana.
In 1954 Mercedes came out with a street version for the public. In doing so they kept the tubular frame and fully independent front suspension. These were firsts for production cars. It was also the first fuel-injected full production car available. It was the Straight Six Mercedes 2,995 cc single-overhead cam engine that received the fuel-injection for the first time. It was said to have 215 base horsepower and was capable in thie form to reach speeds of 160 miles per hour, making the fastest production car in the world at that time.
The road car that followed retained the racing version’s, strong tubular frame with high sills—necessitating the gull wing doors—and featured fully-independent suspension and a fuel-injected version of Mercedes-Benz’s 2,995cc single-overhead camshaft engine. It had a 4-speed manual transmission and very powerful drum brakes engineered by Mercedes for all four corners. Options available included a race tuned version of this engine, Rudge knock-off wheels and luggage specially designed to fit the car. In its day this Gullwing Mercedes was very expensive with a price equivalent to $9,000. Thus, only 1,400 Gullwing Mercedes coupes were ever produced between 1954 and 1957.
In 1957 the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster took over as the 300SL of choice. Many thought the convertible was easier to drive. It had a modified tubular frame with doors that could be fitted with roll-up windows. It also had a swing axle rear suspension which made the ride better. A very popular option was a nice fitting removable hardtop. By the time the 300SL Roadster was discontinued in 1963 they have produced 1,858 of this very popular sports car. Mercedes now had a reputation for building superior convertible sports cars.