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Mercedes-Benz 300SL Cars Sold At Auctions

posted on Nov 10 2014 by Kiri Nowak

Mercedes-Benz 300SL Cars Sold At Auctions

The Mercedes-Benz 300SL is the quintessential classic Mercedes sports car, with its signature gull-wing doors, and distinguishable lines and curves, some say it is one of the most attractive cars of all time. The Gullwing was first introduced in 1954 and started life as a two seater sports car. A fuel injection model was then built by Daimler-Benz and was based on the carburetted 1952 race car.  

Today's version of this car was ranked by Sports Car International  as the fifth best sports car of all time. If you want to get your hands on an 300SL these days it will cost you between £800,000 and about £2.5 million depending on the condition and spec you go for. Occasionally, classic Mercedes-Benz 300SL cars are sold at auctions around the world and they often attract some hard core Mercedes fans who want a chance of owning a legendary Mercedes sports car. The Mercedes-Benz 300SL’s auction price has in the past been notoriously difficult to predict. As much depends on who is present, the dream being for two buyers to fight each other for it.

There are two main divisions of the 300SL coupe. Out of the 1400 or so manufactured, just 29 had alloy bodywork and, as is the norm with classic collectors, these attract a considerable premium. Buyers are looking for the most unique and prestigious vehicles for their exclusive collections.

The RM auction at Pebble Beach, Florida, historically attracts fabulous cars. The valuation on a steel-bodied 300SL was £690,000 ($1.1m). With prices of classic Mercedes-Benz cars being on a bit of a downward trend of late - normalisation in the jargon - it was probably a bit of an underestimate. However, 'a bit' was not appropriate.

It went for £1,600,000 or so ($2,539,000) confounding everyone. This is all the more remarkable as a more desirable 300SL failed to meet its reserve when auctioned by Gooding and Company. This shows just how different bids on cars can turn out depending on what buyers are there on the day. This one was owned by the racing driver Briggs Cunningham and having such a noteworthy owner normally adds a considerable premium. However, bidding stalled at £1.76m, more than £1m below its estimate.

The 300SL was based on the 300SLR, the latter being a road version of the all-conquering W196 Formula 1 Grand Prix car of the early 50’s. The 300SLR in roadster form won the 1955 Mille Miglia 1000 mile road race in Italy, driven by the outstanding Stirling Moss. It was in record time and was purportedly the first use of pace notes in a road race.

Looking almost identical to the 300SLR, the significantly different 300SL benefitted tremendously from its victories.

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