Mercedes-Benz introduced a Roadster version of the 300SL at the 1957 Geneva Motor Show. It effectively replaced the gullwing coupe which was retired that year. At $11,000 is was more expensive than the outgoing coupe and it benefited from a host of upgrades.
Mercedes-Benz described it as their “response to the demand in many countries for a particularly fast, comfortable, open sports car. This automobile offers a wide range of technical achievements for even greater driving safety and motoring comfort as well as a high standard of practical everyday value for touring in real style.”
Like the Gullwing, the Roadster featured roughly the same engineering underneath, but the body was changed to incorporate regular doors. Detail differences included larger front fenders, larger ‘euro’ headlights, a smaller grille, a rounder front windscreen and a chrome accent strip running down the side of the car.
To maintain rigidity , Mercedes-Benz engineers had to add more structural integrity into the chassis. Thus the Roadster is slightly heavier than its coupe counterpart. The rear suspension was also revised with a single-point swing axle and an additional coil spring.
The engine was only slightly updated to include a sports camshaft and a higher 9.5:1 compression ratio. This helped the car achieve a top speed near 155 mph.
Like the Coupe, the Roadster was available with a wide array of options, some of the more desirable include the hardtop, knock-off Rudge wheels and fitted rear luggage.
1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster 198.042.8500091 – sold for €952,000 In more recent ownership, the car was refinished in Anthracite Metallic (DB 172) with black leather, and it is still equipped with its correct sealed-beam head- and tail-lights, as well as U.S.-specification instrumentation. According to a previous owner, it has been well-maintained and improved on with regular servicing and maintenance, which has been carried out by such specialists as O’Keefe Restorations and Gordon Dale. Auction Source: Villa Erba 2015 by RM Sothebys
1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster 198.042-7500203 – sold for €1,058,000 This spectacular, matching numbers 300 SL Roadster left the factory on 23rd September 1957 to be sent to Studebaker/Packard in South Bend, Indiana, USA. The original colour scheme was Elfenbein (ivory) with red leather interior and black hood (see data card copy on file). The current vendor purchased the car in 2011 from a well-known collection in Northern Germany and subsequently commissioned marque expert Jürgen Swoboda to part-restore it. As the car was generally very solid, a complete restoration was not necessary. The body was repaired where necessary, using traditional ‘lead loading’ rather than modern synthetic fillers. At this time finished in silver metallic, the car received a bare metal repaint during restoration in an original 300 SL colour, Graphite Grey, which combines stunningly with the original red leather interior. Auction Source: The Mercedes-Benz Sale 2015 by Bonhams
1961 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster 198.042-10-002973 – sold for €1,092,500 A 1962 model fitted with the desirable disc brakes, this beautiful 300 SL roadster was delivered new to Germany and comes with an outstandingly comprehensive service history reflecting fastidious care throughout its life. Chassis number ‘002973’ was delivered on 11th December 1961 to Mr Josef Binder of Scheidegg, Germany and registered in his name with the numberplate ‘Li-KN-24’. Mr Binder must have been very conscientious, always having the car serviced every 3,000 kilometres (and sometimes earlier) as recommended by Mercedes-Benz (see service book stamped by Autohaus Scheider, Lindau). Auction Source: The Mercedes-Benz Sale 2015 by Bonhams
1960 Mercedes 300SL Roadster 198.042-10-002539 – sold for €1,121,250 This outstandingly original 300 SL Roadster was first owned by the prominent German industrialist Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach (1907-1967), head of the family steel-making firm Friedrich Krupp AG of Essen. The car comes with the original order form, signed by Alfried Krupp, and numerous other documents. Owned by the current vendor – only its third in 55 years – since 1980, chassis number ‘2539’ has covered only 170,000 kilometres (appr
oximately 105,500 miles) from new and is accident free. Original and un-restored, it retains matching chassis/engine numbers together with its original synthetic resin brown paintwork, beige leather interior, Becker Mexico radio and disc brakes, the latter ordered by Alfried Krupp shortly after delivery. The car comes with its original owner’s manual and folder, original tool kit, original jack and a board-mounted owner’s certificate. A steering wheel lock and plastic container for brake fluid come with it also.
During the vendor’s 35-year ownership the 300 SL has been driven regularly in summer to attend classic car meetings and other events, covering only a limited distance annually. Meticulously maintained and serviced, it is never used on the road during winter months and is always kept garaged. Possessing a TüV (MoT) valid until 2016, this exceptional 300 SL Roadster is described as in excellent condition and is ready to enjoy.
1964 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster 198.042.10.003207 – sold for $2,035,000 One of the Last Delivered 300 SLs. A Desired Disc Brake, Alloy Block Roadster. European Specification Example. 80,237 KM (49,856 Miles) from New. Single Ownership from 1971 to 2013. An Exceptionally Original, Unrestored Example. Offered with Books, Tools, and Factory Hardtop. Documented by Mercedes-Benz Build Card. One of the Most Exciting 300 SL Discoveries. Auction Source: The Amelia Island Auction by Gooding & Company
1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster – sold for $1,650,000 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster on chassis 198.042.10.002562. The progenitor of the modern supercar. Charming provenance; two owners from new. Impeccable restoration to award-winning standards. Rare original accessories. Fully loaded 300SL roadster with hardtop, knock-off hubcaps, fitted luggage and toolkit. Auction Source: RM’s Art of the Automobile
1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster 198.042.7500229 – sold for $1,430,000 Single-family ownership from new until 2009. Only 42,312 original miles since new. A First in Class and People’s Choice Award at the 2012 Mercedes-Benz National Starfest Concours d’Elegance. Fresh restoration in original Ivory with Green leather interior. Full matching-numbers example accompanied by original factory and title documentation and ample restoration documentation.
1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster 198.042-8500286 – sold for $792,000 Well-restored in desirable colors. Rudge wheels, fitted luggage, and factory hardtop. European headlights. As an original U.S.-delivery car with bumper guards, in addition to its “triple crown” of options, this car is equipped with a later upgrade to European-style single-lens headlamps. Many feel that this improves the overall appearance of a Roadster, and here, the lenses are fresh and beautiful. The original firewall data tag remains present on the car. The 300SL rides on sports racing tires with a period-correct appearance and shows 21,000 miles.