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|Mercedes-Benz 300 SL |
Coys of Kensington
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|Any poll taken among knowledgeable collectors to decide the strongest contenders for best 1950s supercar would surely place the 300SL somewhere very close to the top of the list; if one added to the criteria the need for an acceptable level of reliability and practicality it would be even closer to the top.|
The Gullwing 300SL was introduced in 1954 on the recommendation of the remarkable Max Hoffmann, Daimler-Benz's US importer, was closely related to Mercedes' phenomenal 300SLR racing car.
Consequently the 300SL was without doubt technically the most advanced sports car in the world, with its radical lightweight space frame construction, dry sump lubrication, fuel injection and even an oil pump in the gearbox to maintain correct lubrication at the startling speeds (146mph with standard gearing) of which the car was capable.
Really the only shortcoming of the Gullwing was that in hot climates, such as the USA, one of the principal markets for the car, it was fairly inadequately ventilated, since it couldn't be fitted with wind-up windows and didn't have air conditioning, which made for fairly uncomfortable progress in places like Florida or Southern California.
The solution was the 300SL Roadster, stunningly handsome and very quick indeed, and it was to prove even more popular than its elder brother, selling more than 1800 in a six-year production run. speeds.
This magnificent 300SL, an early car dating from 1958 when it was sold new to the United States; it spent forty years in the benign climate of California, which partly accounts for its remarkable level of physical integrity. In 2000 it came back to Europe and was imported to the Netherlands, where it stayed in a major collection for the next ten years.
During that period it was used mainly to take part on special outings and events, and was very well-maintained accordingly. As one would wish, it comes with matching numbers, even down to the steering box.
The coachwork has been refinished in a superb shade of Ocean Blue to a very impressive standard this year, matching the usual opulent interior trimmed in Caramel leather.
Overall this is a splendid example of a highly desirable car, and comes to auction from a good home, one of the most reputable European 300 SL specialist companies. Definitely a car for the astute connoisseur.
Sold on the 22.08.2012
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