Did you see how much that 1956 Mercedes “Gullwing” garnered at last week’s 2024 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction? Three-million four-hundred ten dollars! How’s a guy or gal like me or you ever able to afford one of the coolest cars ever? Well, our Pick of the Day answers that question: a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL replica for sale on ClassicCars.com by a private seller in Ko Pha-ngan, Thailand. (Click the link to view the listing)
It’s possible you may not know that the gullwing doors of the 300SL were created out of necessity and not style, but the vehicle has taken a life all its own because of it. The car itself was a street version of a race car known as the W194, but the race car truly didn’t become significant until mechanical fuel injection and a transaxle were implemented. The street car came at the suggestion of none other than American importer Max Hoffman, who then placed an order of 1,000 units to guarantee the 300SL’s success.
The W194 race featured an aluminum tube spaceframe chassis to save weight, as the OHC straight-six was not as powerful as its competition’s. Due to this construction, a traditional door arrangement was not possible, so gullwing-style doors were developed. This construction was handed down to the street-going 300SL.
The carbureted 3.0-liter six that was used in Mercedes’ flagship 300 four-door sedan put out 115 horsepower in 1951, with the 300 S achieving 150 horses. Adding fuel injection added another 30 horses, but the engine as installed in the 300SL produced 240 horsepower.
Compared to bespoke Italian exotics, the 300SL coupe was quite popular, with 1,400 built in four years. Despite a high survival rate, the 300SL has more people wanting one than what’s available, so the typical rules of supply and demand apply here and, hence, determine market value. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t experience the possible thrill of what just may be the ultimate car from the 20th-century because this 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL replica is available at a much more reasonable price.
There’s not much information in this ad other than this replica has an aluminum body and a “high level of finish.” It is powered by a modern Mercedes V6 of 2,400, 2,700, or 3,200cc, so it can be inferred these are built to order, including the driving position. Bucking the trend of modern Mercedes, shifting is handled by a manual five-speed. What will this cost you? $320,000. That’s a lot of money, but it’s also one-tenth of the cost of a restored example you’ll never drive.