A tastefully restored aluminum-bodied 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing was auctioned by Gooding & Company, for a record $4.62 million.
The Gullwing is a very, very special car in its own right. But this one here is a true jewel, given its history and immaculate condition. The fact that this is one of the only 29 Alloy 300SLs makes it doubly unique.
This SL, chassis number 5500208, was sent to America on May 27, 1955, and had a pretty normal life with no recorded race history, until 1980 when it fell in the hands of Hans Dieter Blatzheim of Bonn, Germany. He bought the car for $57,000 which is truly fantastic for an unrestored car, especially at that time.
It was then restored for the first time and, for some unknown reason, was sent back to Germany and came back to America in 1982. It went through some other repair jobs and engine rebuild by a couple of other owners, until it was bought by the McBride family. They gave it the most thorough restoration work, which took until mid 2011.
Cars like this are very rarely offered for sale, which is why it went for almost twice the expected price.
The finish of the 300 SL is of the highest level and the car retains a very correct appearance. With a livery that is a tasteful yet bold statement, the quality of the work and attention to detail is obvious and further inspection reveals the purity of this Alloy Gullwing. The original engine remains, correctly stamped NSL, and the body number can be found stamped on the left wheel arch in the engine compartment. Additionally, the Gullwing has belly pans, its chrome Rudge wheels are original, the luggage is properly finished in natural pig skin, the Becker radio is correct, the grille has the proper “curved star” – the list goes on. Furthermore, this Alloy Gullwing is accompanied by a tool kit, a knock-off hammer, a jack, comprehensive documentation, the Mercedes-Benz Certificate, an owner’s manual, an instruction manual, a spare parts catalogue, a service book and Becker radio manuals.