1954→1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe
Mercedes-Benz Typ 300 SL (W 198 I, 1954 bis 1957), 1954.

1954→1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe

1954→1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe

The Mercedes-Benz 300SL stands as one of most memorable coupes of the fifties. The gullwing doors not only distinguished it, but they are a clever solution to hide the cars unique space frame chassis. It’s also the most recognizable Mercedes and every seriously collection usually has one.

Noted restorer Paul Russel describes the car: ”Not only is the 300SL Gullwing legendary today, it was also very special when it was new. Consider the car in the perspective of its time, in light of its contemporaries in 1954. The 300SL coupe had dry-sump lubrication, direct fuel injection, a tubular spaceframe chassis, independent suspension, impeccable build quality, a very comfortable interior, and, of course, a beautiful and dynamic design, which clearly has stood the test of time.”

The Gullwing Coupe, aslo known as the W194, was the first true sports-car to be developed by Daimler-Benz after the war. It was introduced in 1952 as a lightweight race car to compete in Mille Milia. In September 1953 the road-going development of 300SL began. It was presented in February of 1954 at the International Motor Sports Show in New York, based on the racing-car of the 1952 season.

The car utilized an inline-6 from the 300S saloon, with that model’s transmission & suspension setups. Unlike the 300S, the engine was positioned at an angle to yeild a low front nose. To aid with engine compartment cooling, two large outlets were added to keep the air flowing outwards.

The streamlined body concealed several other novelties. For the first time fuel injection was used in a road-car car by Mercedes-Benz. An increase of of 40 HP was realized compared to the the carburetor racing version.

The first batch of SL’s suffered from their drum brakes and swing axle setups. Although these were revised on later editions. For some clients a lightweight version was prepared with an aluminum body and aluminum castings, but these were seldom raced. Instead, Mercedes prepared the 300 SLR, which used a much lower and chassis similar to the W196.

In Detail

tags gullwing, 300sl
submitted by Richard Owen
type Series Production Car
production years 1954 – 1957
built at Germany
production 1400
price $ $ 7,463
engine Water Cooled, Inline-6
position Front Longitudinal
aspiration Natural
valvetrain SOHC, 2 Valves per Cyl
displacement 2996 cc / 182.8 in³
bore 85.0 mm / 3.35 in
stroke 88.0 mm / 3.46 in
compression 8.55:1
power 179.0 kw / 240.0 bhp @ 6100 rpm
specific output 80.11 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 185.61 bhp per tonne
torque 294.2 nm / 217.0 ft lbs @ 4800 rpm
body / frame Sheet Steel Body over Steel Space Frame
driven wheels RWD
front tires 6.5/6.7 x 15 Continental Cross-Ply
rear tires 6.5/6.7 x 15 Continental Cross-Ply
front brakes Finned Drums w/ Vacuum Assist
rear brakes Finned Drums w/ Vacuum Assist
front wheels F 38.1 x 12.7 cm / 15.0 x 5.0 in
rear wheels R 38.1 x 12.7 cm / 15.0 x 5.0 in
steering Recirculating Ball
f suspension Double Wishbones w/Coil Springs over Telescopic Dampers
r suspension Half Axles w/Coil Springs over Telescopic Dampers
curb weight 1293 kg / 2851 lbs
wheelbase 2400 mm / 94.5 in
front track 1384 mm / 54.5 in
rear track 1435 mm / 56.5 in
length 4217 mm / 166.0 in
width 1778 mm / 70.0 in
height 1300 mm / 51.2 in
transmission 4-Speed Manual
gear ratios 3.34:1, 1.97:1, 1.39:1, 1.00:1
final drive 3.64:1
top speed ~235.0 kph / 146.0 mph
0 – 60 mph ~8.5 seconds
0 – 100 mph ~19.0 seconds
0 – 1/4 mile ~16.0 seconds

Auction Sales History

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe 5500053 – did not sell for $1,100,000 Correct Chassis, Engine And Body As Per Build Sheet. Forty Years Of Single Ownership. Carefully Maintained By Paul Russell & Company. Outstanding Mechanical Condition. Full, Original Belly Pans. Largely Preserved, But With An Exterior Color Change To A Correct M-B Color. Bosch Direct, Mechanical Fuel Injection, 250 Hp. Listed In The Gullwing Register, 1978, Page 71. Retains Its Original Factory Rudge Wheels.
Auction Source: ‘Rolling Sculpture’ 2015 NYC by Keno Brothers

 

1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe 198.040.4500105 – sold for $1,166,000 105th Gullwing produced finished as it appears today in Silver Grey Metallic (DB180) over a Red Leather interior from the factory. Never taken apart for restoration. Remains in very original condition and is believed to have covered less than 34,000 miles since new. The rich red leather interior appears to be the original installed from new, and features a lovely, inimitable patina.
Auction Source: 2015 Quail Lodge Auction by Bonhams

 

Dunkelgrau 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL 198.040.5500243 – sold for $1,595,000 Restoration by Hjeltness Restoration in Escondido, California with a rebuilt drivetrain by Van Nuys Sports Cars. Includes Both Tartan and Leather Seat Cushions. Chassis, Engine, and Body Numbers Correspond to Factory Build Record. An Incredibly Striking and Beautifully Presented Gullwing.
Auction Source: The Pebble Beach Auctions 2015 by Gooding and Company

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing 198.040.5500628 – sold for $1,650,000 Purchased New by Big Band Leader and Famed Mercedes-Benz Enthusiast Don Ricardo. Chassis, Engine, and Body Numbers Correspond to Factory Documents. Numerous Period Modifications Are Fully Intact. Retains Factory-Installed Rudge Wheels and Black Karl Baisch Fitted Luggage. A Famous and Revered Gullwing Among Mercedes-Benz Devotees.
Auction Source: The Pebble Beach Auctions 2015 by Gooding and Company

 

1959 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster 198.042.10.002439 – sold for $1,842,500 A matching-numbers example. Exquisitely restored by 300 SL specialist Mark Allin. Best in Class at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Formerly owned by Wiley Ballard and Steven Adler. One of the finest restored examples available.
Auction Source: Paul & Chris Andrews Collection by RM Sotheby’s


1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL ‘Gullwing’ Coupé 198.040-55-00049 – sold for €1,046,500

This magnificent, matching-numbers Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing was completed on 27th January 1955 and shipped immediately to Mercedes-Benz Distributors Inc in San Francisco, California, USA. The car stayed in the United States for most of its life and had several owners in California including James S Long and Jan Henner Matthias. In 2003 the Mercedes was exported to Europe where it formed part of the collection belonging to the well-known collector Mr Pierre Mellinger. According to Anthony Pritchard’s definitive work on the model, ‘Gullwing, The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé’, this car formed part of a Swedish collection at some time. More recently it was owned by a collector from Monaco. The current owner bought the car in 2012.

Auction Source: The Mercedes-Benz Sale 2015 by Bonhams

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe 198.040.5500545 – sold for $1,375,000 UK delivery Gullwing owned when new by the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. Professionally restored by Scott Grundfor Company and serviced by Rene Lutheraan. Matching numbers example finished in its factory delivered livery. Beautiful example of Mercedes-Benz’s legendary 300SL Gullwing.Offered with MB Classic Zertifikat, copies of build sheets, books, tools and belly pans.
Auction Source: The Scottsdale Auction 2015 by Bonhams

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing 198.040.5500594 – sold for $1,485,000 Bare-metal repaint in 2013 by Pollock Automotive Restoration. Equipped with highly desirable Rudge wheels and belly pans. Both leather and plaid cloth interiors are included, along with fitted luggage. A beautiful matching-numbers Gullwing.
Auction Source: Arizona 2015 by RM Auctions

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing 5500354 – sold for $1,350,000

Factory build sheet. The car left the factory with Rudge wheels. Matching Red luggage. Restored in Silver with Red interior. Current owner drove on the Colorado Grand in 2011. Previous owner and his wife drove car from Vancouver to the arctic circle in Alaska over 2,600 miles. Earliest known owner was a famous hydroplane racer from Washington state. 2996cc engine. Bosch fuel injection. 4-speed transmission. Radio and dash clock. VDO gauges. Spare tire and lug wrench.

Auction Source: Monterey 2014 by Mecum Auctions

 

1961 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster 198.042.10.002623 – sold for $1,375,000 Long-term Midwestern enthusiast ownership. Freshly restored, with numerous desirable options. Matching-numbers engine; believed only 17,000 original miles.
Auction Source: 2014 Monterey by RM Auctions

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing 198.040.5500368 – sold for $2,530,000 An exceptional “driver’s Gullwing”. Factory Rudge wheels, belly pans, and Becker Mexico radio. Complete original tool set, books, and jack. Always faithfully maintained and never restored.
Auction Source: 2014 Monterey by RM Auctions

 

1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing198.040.6500052 – sold for $1,292,500 The 1956 Turin International Automobile Salon car. Equipped from new with Rudge wheels. A beautiful, recent restoration. Originally displayed in Silver Grey Metallic (180), with a special-order red leather interior (1079) and arguably the most desirable factory option, Rudge wheels.
Auction Source: 2014 Arizona by RM Auctions

 

1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing 198.040.6500214 – sold for $1,402,500 Single Family Ownership from 1957 to 2006. Fully Restored to Concours Condition. Stunning Color Combination. Comprehensively Documented History. Accompanied by Fitted Luggage and Belly Pans. An Exquisitely Presented Gullwing to Show or Drive.
Auction Source: The Scottsdale Auctions by Gooding & Company

 

1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing 198.040.6500299 – sold for $1,897,500 A Magnificent Unrestored Gullwing. Exceptional Factory Color Combination. Delivered to Los Angeles and Last Road Registered in 1983. Single-Family Ownership for Almost 50 Years. Genuine Example with Original Engine, Chassis, and Body. Marvelous Character and Patina. Never Restored, Shown, or Offered for Public Sale.
Auction Source: The Scottsdale Auctions by Gooding & Company

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing 198.040.5500695 – sold for $1,265,000

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing 198.040.5500695. Special-ordered by Mr. Brown, the car is one of 19 ordered in this striking shade, Light Green Metallic, and it was likely one of still fewer with full red leather upholstery. In more recent care, it was professionally refinished in the original Light Green Metallic, and new red leather upholstery, in the original pattern and grain as in 1955, was installed. Comforts and conveniences within include a radio, a full set of factory-style fitted luggage, and a tool kit.

Auction Source: RM’s Art of the Automobile

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe 198.040.5500183 – sold for $1,100,000 One of 12 Gullwings delivered in Strawberry Red Metallic. Matching numbers example. Expertly restored by Rudi Koniczek. Originally delivered to European royalty. Multiple-time California Mille finisher.
Auction Source: 2013 Quail Lodge Auction by Bonhams

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing 198.040.5500693 – sold for $1,265,000 From a private Southern California collection. Three documented enthusiast owners from new. Under 18,000 actual miles. Painted by Junior’s House of Color. Perfectly detailed, correct, and immaculate.
Auction Source: 2013 Monterey Auction by RM Auctions

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing 198.040.5500547 – sold for $1,485,000 Amazing originality, including paint and upholstery. Retrofitted with “sport” camshaft and desirable Rudge wheels. Original books, manuals, and promotional materials; includes fitted luggage. Long-term ownership from 1957 to 2010. Potential Preservation class winner.
Auction Source: 2013 Monterey Auction by RM Auctions

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing 198.040.5500428 – sold for $1,705,000 Factory-Delivered Rudge Wheel Gullwing. One Southern California Owner from 1966 to 2010. Participant in Countless Gull Wing Group Events. Consistently Maintained by Jerry Hjeltness and Paul Russell and Company. Matching-Numbers Chassis, Engine, and Body. Presented in Ideal Color Combination. Equipped with Nardi Steering Wheel and Fitted Luggage. Complete with Belly Pans, Books, Tool Kit , and Extensive Records.
Auction Source: Gooding & Company’s 10th Anniversary 2013 Pebble Beach Auction


1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing 198.040.5500637 – sold for $847,000 A 1955 example with a “curved star” grille. Includes fitted luggage and a factory belly pan. Refinished in red with a black leather interior. Iconic, matching-numbers Gullwing.
Auction Source: 2013 Arizona Auction by RM

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’ Coupe 198.040.4500080 – sold for $1,171,500 Immaculate concours restoration by Gullwing expert Rudi Koniczek. Four owners from new. Outstanding color combination. Mercedes’ most revered postwar sports car.
Auction Source: Monterey 2012 by RM Auctions

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing 198.040.5500654 – sold for $1,127,500 Award-Winning Restoration by Jerry Hjeltness. Elegant, Correct Color Combination. Fastidiously Maintained both Cosmetically and Mechanically. Presented with Fitted Luggage, Manuals, Tool Kit and Bellypans. An Outstanding Gullwing Inside and Out.
Auction Source: 2012 Pebble Beach Auctions by Gooding & Company

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing 198.040.5500663 – sold for $638,000 Matching-Numbers Example. Outstanding Color Combination. Professional, Sympathetic 1990s Restoration. Regularly Maintained. Presented with Manuals and Factory Tools.
Auction Source: 2012 Pebble Beach Auctions by Gooding & Company

 

1955 MERCEDES BENZ 300 SL GULLWING 198.040.5500049 – sold for €557,524

This splendid Mercedes 300 SL was delivered new on 31 January 1955 to San Francisco, in a white-grey “Weissgrau”, reference DB 158, with blue fabric upholstery. According to the expert’s report included in the file, the car has known several owners : James S. Long, from Redendo Beach, in California, then Jan Henner Matthias, from Marina del Rey, also under the Californian sun. It was then exported to England, and in 2003 became the property of renowned collector M. Pierre Mellinger, before passing into the hands of its current owner from Monaco via a British intermediary company. During its stay in England, the car was treated to a thorough restoration, when the interior and the paintwork was re-done, leaving the car in impeccable condition. The current owner has had the car serviced by Mercedes to pass the MOT in Monaco. We note that it is equipped with the original engine, and that a compression check has been carried out.
Now in metallic grey with immaculate blue leather upholstery, this Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing is presented in pristine condition and runs smoothly. Here is an opportunity to acquire a design classic and a legend from the history of the automobile which has a place in the finest collections.

Auction Source: 2012 Sport & GTs au Mans Classic by Artcurial

 

1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing 198.040.6500044 – sold for $715,000 Factory-Delivered with Rudge Wheels. Matching-Numbers Example. One Owner for the Past 43 Years. Complete with Belly Pans, Books and Tools. Verified by Mercedes-Benz Factory Build Sheets. A Well-Kept Example of the Classic Gullwing.
Auction Source: The Amelia Island Auction 2012 by Gooding & Company

 

1954 Mercedes-Benzs 300 SL Gullwing 4500129 – sold for $2,200,000

4,149 Original Miles. This exceptional example is one of only 146 that were built in 1954. This car was originally purchased by the late Willet H. Brown/Hillcrest Motors Collection, at Hollywood Mercedes. With only 4,149 original miles this Gullwing is one of the lowest mileage Gullwing’s in existence. It comes with original tools, manual, service book and registration card from 1962-1965. Having been repainted once, in its original color, everything else on the car is all original. Also included in the sale are the original wheels, tires and hubcaps.

Auction Source: 2012 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction

 

1961 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster – sold for $585,000 he exquisite, highly original Cream on Blue 1961 roadster offered here, chassis number 10.002719, was purchased new by an American who took delivery of the car at the factory in Stuttgart, Germany. Not long after, the owner returned the car to the factory to have its original cast iron engine block replaced with the new, lightweight alloy unit introduced by Mercedes Benz in March 1962. Disc brakes were also added at that time. Today showing j… read more
Auction Source: 2011 Monterey Daytime Auction by Mecum

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Coupe – sold for $803,000 Just two California-based owners from new; one of only 1,400 built. Includes original Rudge wheels, belly pans, fitted luggage, “sport” camshaft and more. Comprehensively restored and recently detailed by Kevin Kay Restorations. An iconic design statement with performance that remains thrilling today.
Auction Source: 2011 Monterey Auction by RM

 

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Coupe – sold for $836,000 Iconic Gullwing Coupe sold new in Toronto; one owner until 2006. Ground-up restoration by RM Auto Restoration. Black with red leather interior. Today the Mercedes-Benz remains outstanding, beautifully maintained and fastidiously cared for with about 56,145 miles indicated.
Auction Source: 2011 Monterey Auction by RM

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Coupe – sold for $676,500 Finished in Medium Red, it was delivered new with the extremely desirable Rudge wheels, as confirmed by its listing in the Register of “Special Order.” Known owners in the same Register are Chester Flynn, Charles Kriesler (New York), Trent Lowney (San Francisco, California), Chris Borden (Palm Springs, California) and Michael Rogerson (Encino, California). According to Borden, the original engine was replaced by a factory spare unit. In fact, … read more
Auction Source: 2011 St. John’s Auction by RM

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe 5500088 – sold for $627,000 In 2008, noted restorer and marque specialist Jerry Hjeltness of Escondido, California performed a complete service on the car, including lubrication and replacing all fluids. Finally, in October 2008, the Mercedes Classic Center in Irvine, California performed a thorough detailing of the car, including the engine compartment, interior and exterior finish. This work included repainting chips in the paint caused by normal driving and wet-sandin… read more
Auction Source: 2011 Amelia Island Auction by RM Auctions

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing 5500303 – sold for $484,000 From the Estate of Ron VanKregten. Originally Delivered to the US. Desirable Factory Color Combination of Silver over Blue Plaid. Documented Matching-Numbers Example. Part of the VanKregten Collection for Over 40 Years. Fresh from Decades in Storage. A Superb Candidate for a High-Point Restoration
Auction Source: 2011 Amelia Island Auction by Gooding & Company

 

1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing – sold for $535,000 The 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing pictured here in black is an outstanding, matching numbers example with four owners from new. Originally delivered to Dr. Denton S. Coe of New York, he enjoyed this thoroughbred until 1970, when it was sold to John Church, of Norwalk, Connecticut. In 1971, Church sold the car to restaurateur and opera singer Neil Zarerelli, of North Carolina, who retained ownership of the car for the next 35 years. Driven … read more
Auction Source: 2008 Meadow Brook Concours

 

1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing 6500037 – sold for $858,000 Throughout four and a half decades in illustrator and car enthusiast Syd Mead’s care, various cosmetic and mechanical aspects were addressed; however, the well-built Mercedes- Benz never warranted a complete, ground-up restoration. Even today, it is best described as a carefully maintained example that has been extremely well-kept and refurbished to a consistently high standard. It has always been treated with appreciation, driven with vigor… read more
Auction Source: 2011 Scottsdale Auction by Gooding & Company

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Coupe 1980405500601 – sold for $1,375,000 The car has benefited from a comprehensive, professional restoration conducted to the highest standards. Since its acquisition by its current owner, it has remained in climate-controlled storage, properly maintained and cared for, although rarely, if ever, seeing road use. The graphite grey paint and brightwork appear to be outstanding and indicative of professional workmanship. The interior is likewise pristine and as-new, upholstered in red … read more
Auction Source: 2011 Automobiles of Arizona by RM Auctions

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Coupé – sold for €480,102 This handsome 1955 300SL was originally finished in Silver Gray metallic with a red leather interior, precisely the way it is presented today. It has been carefully prepared for vintage rallies and in fact has been raced multiple times in the Mille Miglia. Devoid of front and rear bumpers (which are included with the car) and fitted with very expensive Rudge wheels, it has a very sporting appearance reminiscent of the Gullwings raced in all th… read more
Auction Source: 2010 Automobiles of London by RM Auctions

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Coupe – sold for $550,000 This handsome 300SL, sporting red paint with tan leather interior, has been regularly used in driving events and is fully sorted mechanically. The odometer reads just 77,000 miles, which are believed to be original. Factory original fitted luggage is also included, and the color matches the interior perfectly, further providing evidence that the interior (which has a lovely patina) is most likely original. Inside, you’ll find a Becker Le Mans … read more
Auction Source: RM Auctions’ 2010 Sports & Classics of Monterey

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing 5500533 – sold for $715,000 The coupe retains its original engine which was rebuilt during the body-on restoration, as were the balance of the major systems. The car recently received a comprehensive mechanical inspection and was adjusted, updated and renewed as necessary – a service totaling nearly $26,000. A recent test drive showed the car to be tight and responsive, with the acceleration and solid road manners one would expect from a well-restored 300 SL. A copy o… read more
Auction Source: 2010 Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auction

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing 5500695 – did not sell for $517,000 When this Gullwing left Stuttgart, Germany, in 1955, it was finished in the very rare DB 274 light green metallic and trimmed with a red leather interior, a color combination that today is highly prized among 300 SL enthusiasts. Only about 20 Gullwings are listed as having been ordered in this color, less than 2% of the total production of 1,400. As a lifelong Southern California car, this Gullwing has benefited from the effects of the area… read more
Auction Source: 2010 Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auction

 

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe 4500032 – did not sell for $460,000 The 300 SL offered here was delivered new to Zurich, Switzerland, finished in red over silver as only the 32nd of its type built in the first year of production. The original engine was rebuilt by the factory in the 1970s and updated with a newer oil system. The car was later acquired by Mr. Steve Levy of Riverwoods, Illinois, who owned the car from 1987 to 1988. During his ownership, he had the car stripped to bare metal and repainted to its … read more
Auction Source: 2010 Vintage Cars of Meadow Book by RM Auctions


1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Coupe – sold for $495,000 The 300SL Coupé offered here is a unique example indeed. It was purchased new from Stark Sports Cars by Mr. Robert Orr of Akron, Ohio and remained in his ownership until 2005, at which point it was donated to Ohio’s Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum. A collection of the Western Reserve Historical Society, the Museum presents the history of land and air transportation, showcasing historically and technically important cars, aircraft, motorcycles, b… read more
Auction Source: 2009 RM Auctions Sports & Classics of Monterey

1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’ Coupe 6500287 – sold for $430,500 While in the present owner’s care this 300SL has been maintained by Paul Russell & Company of Essex, Massachusetts and comes with detailed invoices relating to work undertaken during 1999/2000 (far too extensive to list fully here but including a comprehensive brake system overhaul, wheel refurbishment and new exhaust system) totaling some $33,000. ‘6500287’ benefits from an air conditioning system, discreetly concealed, allowing for comfortab… read moreAuction Source: 2006 Monterey Preview