1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
€925,000 EUR | Asking
| Monaco, Monaco
- Well-documented example, believed to have spent most of its life in the Bordeaux region of France
- Six owners from new with single ownership from 1957 to 1991
- One of 618 300 SL Roadsters built in 1957
- Benefits from a high-quality restoration completed in 2017
- Finished in the correct factory colours of Silver over a Red leather interior
- Retains the original engine
- Accompanied by fitted luggage, tool kit and spare wheel
The 300 SL Roadster was introduced as a concept by the Mercedes-Benz board in 1956, as the replacement for the 300 SL Coupe, which faced declining sales. A convertible car was considered as an ideal body style for Mercedes-Benz’s target market, the United States, and in particular, California. The German marque unveiled a prototype 300 SL Roadster at the Geneva motor show in May of that year, paving the way for the Stuttgart-Untertürkheim factory to be re-tooled to build the Roadster. The first production example of the Roadster made its public debut at the Geneva Salon in May 1957.
The 300 SL Roadster featured conventional doors and a convertible top, which required various alterations to the 300 SL Coupe body and spaceframe. The new design addressed shortcomings of the 300 SL Coupe cited by customers, chiefly around limited boot space and difficulty entering and exiting the car. The sills were lowered, increasing the size of the cabin and subsequently the ease of entry. In the rear of the car, the suspension was equipped with low-pivot swing axles. The spare wheel was mounted under the boot floor and the fuel tank was reduced in size to increase boot space and accommodate a fitted luggage set, an $85 factory option. The 300 SL Roadster was powered by the M198 inline six-cylinder engine, said to develop 240 horsepower. A four-speed manual transmission delivered power to the rear wheels.
This example, one of 618 built for 1957, was manufactured at the Stuttgart-Untertürkheim factory and delivered to its first buyer in Bordeaux, France. Finished in Silver, with a Red convertible top over a Red leather interior, this 300 SL Roadster remained with its first owner in France from 1957 until 1991. Chassis number 7500518 then entered The Automobile and Locomotion Museum of La Réole, in Bordeaux, with 92,445 kilometres showing on the odometer, where it remained until 2003. In July of that year, the car was purchased by its third owner, who had both mechanical and exterior work carried out. In August 2006, the museum closed and the car was sold to its fourth owner, a Mercedes-Benz collector who commissioned Alain Bourgeois of AB Racing, in Champignelles, France, to restore it. The restoration took longer than expected, and in July 2010 the fourth owner sold the 300 SL, due to ill health, with 98,433 kilometres showing on the odometer. The fifth owner carried on with the restoration of the car, commissioning a set of fitted luggage for the boot, in the period-correct style of the luggage originally offered by Mercedes-Benz.
The restoration undertaken was extensive. The engine was rebuilt with new pistons, rocker arms, valves, and cylinder head. The gearbox and axle were rebuilt, and the braking system was overhauled. The paintwork appears in the original colour that matches factory records and the red leather interior has been treated by the experts at Paris Pagode. Work was completed in September 2017, 10 years after the process had begun.
The fifth owner would take the car past the 100,000-kilometre mark on 5 April 2018. The roadster would change hands once again, being sold at auction on 21 July 2020. The odometer reads just under 2,450 kilometres at the time of cataloguing, taking the total distance covered for chassis number 7500518 to 102,428 kilometres. The car remains finished in the original factory colours of Silver, over a Red leather interior. Chassis number 7500518 retains its original engine. This restored and meticulously cared for 300 SL Roadster benefits from having excellent documentation of its entire life, from when it rolled off the production line to the present day.