Well, if you’re going to dream, you might as well dream big. Or in this case, huge.
Originally designed for winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which it did out of sheer endurance, the Gullwing was transformed into a sports car titan for highway driving. It’s durability as a top-drawer collector car matches the ruggedness of its racing pedigree.
“This special-order, factory-equipped Rudge wheel Gullwing remains in charming, largely original condition as a longtime California car recently coming out of 40 years of private ownership,” says the Astoria, New York, dealer offering the Mercedes. “Presented today in its original color combination and retaining its matching numbers engine, this uber-desirable spec 300 SL coupe is primed for recommissioning to be used as-is or as the perfect candidate for full concours restoration.”
Largely original with its factory accessories, tools and owner’s manual, the Mercedes has its matching-numbers inline-6, set at a 30-degree slant and fed by a groundbreaking fuel-injection system, and 4-speed manual transmission. The engine pumped out 240 horsepower and would propel the sleek coupe past 160 mph, making it the fastest production car of its era.
The Gullwing has recently been brought out of long-term storage and requires much attention before taking it on a road trip, the seller says.
“Within the past several months, the Gullwing was serviced and has been started for the first time in many years,” the ad notes. “As testament to the robust nature of the W198 powerplant, this engine runs strong but will require tuning for regular road use and certainly the rest of the mechanicals on the car require recommissioning for regular use.”
The car is painted in its original shade of Feuerwehr Rot, or Fire Engine Red, with its original gray leather interior still in good usable condition, the seller says. A red Mercedes 300 SL is something of a rarity, the lion’s share of them painted silver, Germany’s racing color, or a similar shade.
The asking price for this Mercedes is $1.295 million, which puts it in the top level of exclusivity despite its list of mechanical needs.
Originality is what makes this Mercedes special, and more valuable. That was richly demonstrated during a recent collector car auction in Scottsdale where a musty, crusty “barn find” 300 SL Gullwing fetched a 7-figure result that was considerably more than one that was fully restored, but not as original.
And so it goes in the rarefied collector car stratum that most of us will never inhabit. But we can still dream.
To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.