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1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing

To stay competitive in sports car racing, Mercedes-Benz offered a handful of 300 SL Coupes with aluminum-alloy bodies. With these alloy cars, Mercedes-Benz could improve the pedigree of the production version which was outwardly identical.

Based on the W194 racecars which won Le Mans, the 300 SL was fully capable and raced at events like the Mille Miglia. The weight reduction of 200 lbs meant the alloy cars had a clear advantage on the race track.

In addition to the lightweight body, Mercedes outfitted the alloy cars with Plexiglass windows, shorter competition springs , stiffer shock absorbers, hotter camshafts and knock-off Rudge-Whitworth wheels.

Only 29 alloy cars were ordered which was just 2% of the production run.

Our feature car, chassis 5500208, was delivered in metallic silver gray with blue leather interior to Veron Holz of Bonita, California. The first owner never raced the car and its history is unknown until the 1980s. At that time it was disassembled by Hill & Vaughn in Santa Monica while the engine was sent to Germany and rebuilt by AMG Motorbau. Later the whole car was shipped in pieces to Germany and completed overseas.

In 2009, the Gullwing was purchased by Ken McBride of Seattle, Washington. He sent the car to Rudi & Co. in Victoria, BC, Canada for a correct shade of DB180 silver and blue leather upholstery with plaid seat inserts. It debuted after McBride passed away at the 2011 Kirkland Concours d’Elegance.

The car was offered for sale at the the 2012 Scottsdale Auction by Gooding & Co. They achieved a high bid of $4,200,000 USD which with buyer’s premium set a world record for a 300 SL at auction with a total figure of $4,620,000 USD.

In Detail

tags gullwing, 300sl
submitted by admin
type Series Production Car
built at Germany
production 29
engine Inline-6
position Front, Longitudinal
aspiration Natural
displacement 2996 cc / 182.83 in³
bore 85 mm / 3.3 in
stroke 88 mm / 3.5 in
compression 8.55:1
power 179.0 kw / 240 bhp @ 6100 rpm
specific output 80.11 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 199.5 bhp per tonne
torque 294.2 nm / 217 ft lbs @ 4800 rpm
body / frame Aluminum Body over Steel Space Frame
driven wheels RWD
front tires 6.50-15 Dunlop SP Sport D8
rear tires 6.50-15 Dunlop SP Sport D8
front wheels F 38.1 x 12.7 cm / 15 x 5 in
rear wheels R 38.1 x 12.7 cm / 15 x 5 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 1203 kg / 2650 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 ~241.35 kph / 150 mph


Auction Sales History


1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing 198.043.5500208 – sold for $4,620,000 The Sixth of 29 Aluminum-Bodied 300 SL Gullwings Built. Numerous Competition-Born Features Original Matching-Numbers NSL-Code Engine. Complete with Rudge Wheels, Belly Pans and Luggage. Recent Major Refurbishment by Rudi Koniczek’s Rudi & Co. Kirkland Concours d’Elegance Award Winner. Exacting Finish Throughout. The Rarest and Most Desirable of All 300 SLs.
Auction Source: 2012 Scottsdale Auction by Gooding & Company