Mercedes-Benz has several vehicles that rank at the top of automotive history, but the 300 SL “Gullwing” may be the one that wins out. The combination of styling and engineering can be seen as art to some, Andy Warhol being one. His gallerist in Germany, Hans Mayer, came up with the idea for Warhol to collaborate with Mercedes for a commissioned set of works based on its vehicles throughout history. The first one was a 1955 300 SL—this one—and now it can be yours.
This Silver Grey SL was originally purchased in Paris in August 1955, complete with blue leather interior and Rudge knock-off wheels. In 1981, it was sold to a doctor in Germany, who kept it until it was purchased in 2020 by Brabus, the German tuning company.
Brabus invested more than 4,500 hours in the restoration as part of the Brabus 6-Star Restoration program, of which the company devotes hours and hours of labor combined with 40+ years of experience working with Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The result is new-car character that surpasses the condition when the vehicle was new.
So how is it known that the car in the Warhol illustration is this car? Look at the license plate, then check out an image of Warhol’s SL. German registration records link EI-DR 1 to this very vehicle before your eyes.
Sotheby’s Sealed, Sotheby’s online platform where some of the world’s most significant cars are auctioned, will handle the sale of this 300 SL starting on November 10, 2022, with bidding closing on the 17th. It is being offered without reserve, with estimates ranging from $1,500,000-3,000,000. That’s much more than the opulent Rolls-Royce Sceptre we wrote about a few days ago.
Warhol only managed to finish 49 out of the 80 works for Mercedes when he unexpectedly died in 1987. Though art is a subjective medium, one would be hard-pressed to argue with Warhol’s choice to put this vehicle on canvas.