A Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing just about defines the word “rare.” You’ve seen them drawing multi-million dollar bids at top auctions around the country from the Barrett-Jackson to the RM-Sotheby collector car auctions. Now you’ll find one featured in the Cars-On-Line.com Mercedes-Benz Section with other SL sports cars of the past. This 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing was listed by a premium dealer in the New York area, not so coincidentally called Gullwing Motor Cars. (You will find more photos and contact information for Gullwing Motor Cars at this link.) They regularly have cars of this caliber in their inventory.
See how advanced these cars were for their time. They had a 215 hp, 2,992 cc SOHC six-cylinder engine with Bosch mechanical fuel injection, 4-speed manual transmission, coil spring independent front suspension, coil spring and swing-axle rear suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Gullwing tells us this 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing is an absolutely stunning matching numbers example wearing a high quality restoration. Offered in its incredibly attractive original color of silver grey metallic with blue leather interior it is quite unique.
Only 1,400 of these cars were produced between 1954 and early-1957. This one is said to be just out of 40 years of ownership and accompanied by many service and restoration receipts from Foreign Auto Tech in Massachusetts. The majority of the work was carried out between 1991 and 1992, says Gullwing. A binder of photographs also documents much of the work performed. The jack and spare are included. Gullwing notes in their description, “The restoration has held up beautifully and still shows extremely well. This 300SL Gullwing is also mechanically superb and runs and drives wonderfully.” The restoration is said to be well documented.
The beginnings of the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing harken back to the road racing scene of the early 1950s. Mercedes-Benz wanted to get back into racing so they designed what they believed to be the best car for road racing competition. It was called the 300SL and was the first of a long series of SL touring cars that would capture the eye of sports car lovers worldwide. In 1952 the W194 model 300SL scored overall wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, at Nürburgring, and in Mexico’s Carrera Panamericana. The “300” indicated the three litre engine displacement, and “SL” stood for Sport Light.
New York Mercedes distributor Max Hoffman, Daimler-Benz’s official importer in the US, thought that a tamer street version of the W194 could be a commercial success in an affluent post-war America. The suggestion met with favor among Daimler-Benz AG management in Stuttgart. The street version 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing was introduced at the New York Auto Show in 1954.
The identifying features of the 300SL were, of course, its distinctive gullwing doors. But the fascinating Mercedes-Benz Gullwing also was the first-ever fuel injected production car. It held the world’s top speed record at that time too. The 300SL coupe was produced from 1954 (1955 model year) to 1957, while a roadster version became popular from 1957 to 1963, the first in a long line of Mercedes SL roadsters.