Even in today’s market there are still some amazing collector car deals out there, even for top tier models. To find these cars requires thinking a bit outside the box. This means when you might be considering a classic sportscar you might instead consider a sedan.
One example of this kind of thinking is with Jaguar. You might want an E-Type or an XK120, but the with those cars trading at more than $100k it’s often out of your price range. The Jaguar MK2 shared a lot of DNA with the E-Type, including the engine, and can be had for a fraction of the price. Think $45,000 for a nice MK2.
There is an even more extreme example of this idea and it hails from Germany. Say you have always wanted a Mercedes-Benz 300SL but lack the requisite million plus dollars to buy one. Well then you might want to take a look at my alternative in a four-door form, the Mercedes-Benz 300d.
The Mercedes-Benz 300 was introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in April 1951 and went into production in November of that year. It was available as both a cabriolet and sedan, and would remain in production in various forms until 1962. The original 300s were known internally as the W186 with the final “d” models bearing the internal designation W189. All were powered by the alloy block 300SL engine which was detuned for better drivability. Also like the 300SL, all 300s have a fully independent suspension featuring many 300SL components.
All the 300 cars were largely hand built and were the flagship sedan from Mercedes. These cars are often called “Adenauers” due to the fact that the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Konrad Adenauer, had a total of six custom 300s during his 1949-1963 tenure.
The final version of the car, the d series, was introduced in 1957 and was a limousine-length 300 sedan. This was the top of 1950s and 60s luxury and available options included a glass partition, VHF band mobile telephone, and even a dictation machine. Unlike the twin carbs of the earlier W186 cars, the 300d also featured mechanical fuel injection, yet another 300SL component. Other additions to these final cars options list was Arctic Air A/C and power steering.
The 300d also had an ingenious dashboard operated rear load-leveling suspension which engaged a torsion bar to increase rear suspension stiffness by one-third when needed, and a pedal-operated central lubrication system kept friction points silent. A total of only 3,077 300d were built from 1957 thru 1962.
The private seller based in Essex, Vermont states that over the past several years quite a bit of work has been done on the car, including a bare metal repaint. He goes on to state that the previous owner had the injection pump and fuel system overhauled. Many interior components have also been recently redone including woodwork, new window seals, a new headliner, and new correct leather front seat covers. The car still includes its original Becker Mexico radio, but it is not hooked up. The seller closes advising that the car runs nicely but does run a little rich.
Now to get back to where this whole story started. As I stated in the beginning a 300SL in this condition, regardless if it is a gullwing or a roadster, will set you back more than $1.2 million. This elegant Mercedes sedan will only set you back $49,950.
So, if you are able to think outside the box with your next purchase this is an opportunity to buy a serious classic European car for a very nice price.