You Can Own This 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster. But It’s Going To Cost You
The Mercedes 300 SL ‘Gullwing’ might be one of the most desirable road cars of all time, but its under-appreciated Roadster cousin is perhaps even more beautiful. And now, you can buy one, but it’s going to cost you at least $700,000. Up for auction at RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island sale on March 6 and 7 2020, this 300SL has had an engine rebuild and was formerly part of a private collection.
The 300SL’s development came as a result of a now commonplace practice at all the major luxury manufacturers today: develop and design a race-inspired automobile, put it into production, wait a year and then chop the roof off to enjoy a second burst of sales. It’s a tried and tested formula - driving with the wind in your hair never gets old and it’s even better with a 600bhp+ V8 behind you. But the 300 SL Roadster debuted in 1957. People weren’t used to seeing supercars, let alone ones that could hit 150mph without so much as a roof.
It may not look like it today, but the 300 SL was the supercar of its day. Barely differing versions won at both the 1952 24 hours of Le Mans and the infamous Mille Miglia of 1955, meaning its racing pedigree was unmatched. The road-going SL was more elegant than the race car it was based on though, and would be just as comfortable cruising in the sunshine as it was being thrashed on the track. Which is where the Roadster came in. Mercedes recognised the growing demand for added vitamin D, particularly from the Californian market, so the decision in 1957 to behead the 300 SL was an easy one.
This was a car for the Hollywood elite - Steve McQueen, Clark Gable and Romy Scheider all had Roadsters in their day, and you can see why. Its sculpted curves look as though they were shaped by the wind, its vents and raised bonnet humps hint at its racing heritage and its inviting cabin screams mid-century elegance. It begs to be looked at as much as it does to be driven. The lack of a roof means it does away with the Gullwing doors, but it’s a fair trade and one you can capitalise on in March. This particular model, styled in fire engine red with colour-matched wheels and a tan leather interior is coming up for auction, so if you want your very own piece of Mercedes history, now’s your chance.