Lot 256

Monterey 2023

1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing


$1,572,500 USD | Sold

United States | Monterey, California



Chassis No.
Engine No.
Gearbox No.
Body No.
Rear Differential No.
US Title
  • ‘The Corley Gullwing;’ remained within the family of its original owner until 2006
  • Presented in the striking, period-correct color combination of Black (DB 040) over red leather (1079)
  • Retains numbers-matching engine, body, gearbox, rear axle, and kingpins; indicates 57,650 mi. at time of cataloguing
  • Benefits from a previous, no-expense-spared restoration by RM Auto Restoration
  • Equipped with Baisch-type lap belts, Talbot side mirror, full set of belly pans, fitted luggage, and color-matched reproduction Rudge wheels
Addendum: Please note that this lot is accompanied by two pieces of luggage.

Since the dawn of automobile production, a truly outstanding model has appeared periodically to startle and capture the imagination of enthusiasts worldwide. There is perhaps no better example of this than the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing.

The Gullwing’s stunning looks are matched only by its space-age engineering, incredible performance, and world-beating pedigree, which earned its Works-prepared variants convincing victories at many of the world’s premier sportscar races between 1952 and 1956. Mercedes-Benz’s incredible coupe scored wins everywhere from the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Carrera Panamericana to the Liège–Rome–Liège rally (as well as multiple SCCA and European Rally championships). The 300 SL Gullwing is, without doubt, the sports car of the century—an icon among post-war designs that still captivate collectors today.

In the years leading up to the 1954 unveil of the production-spec 300 SL—labelled W198 and eventually offered in Coupe and Roadster body options—the famous German marque would hone the W194, the competition-ready predecessor to the roadgoing car, on motorsport circuits around the world. The earlier car, constructed in time for the 1952 racing season, racked up impressive wins at events including 24 Hours of Le Mans, Eifelrennen at the Nürburgring, and Carrera Panamerica road race in Mexico; many victories came as a result of the efforts of fabled team drivers including Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss, Hans Klenk, Karl Kling, and Hermann Lang.

Success came during a golden era of motorsport for Mercedes-Benz, and so did the development of the W198. The company looked to build on their racing success with a version of the racecar that customers could buy to drive on the road. In recognition of the United States as a critical market, the German marque launched the W198 at the 1954 International Motor Sports Show in New York as the first Mercedes-Benz ever shown overseas before being revealed in Germany.

The U.S.-based Mercedes-Benz distributor Max Hoffman famously delivered more than 1,000 of the 1,400 super-leicht examples made between 1954 to 1957, as the car gained popularity and “Gullwing fever” spread amongst the business tycoons, gentleman racers, and Hollywood celebrities of North America’s upper-crust.


This handsome Gullwing, chassis 6500214, was special-ordered in August 1956 by Mercedes-Benz Canada, and was originally specified in the rare color combination of Fire Engine Red (DB 534) over red-and-green tartan gabardine upholstery (L2). It was subsequently purchased new in early 1957 by Raymond F. Corley of Toronto, Ontario. His great enjoyment of the Gullwing’s thrilling performance is evinced by the stunning fact that this car remained his prized possession for the rest of his life. In 2006, three years following Corley’s passing at age 77, his estate sold 6500214, which then showed just 56,037 miles on its odometer and presented in a well-used and tired, though totally unrestored, condition.

This Gullwing’s next owner immediately submitted it to RM Auto Restoration for a comprehensive restoration in which the car’s original body was removed and repaired with new metal where required. Unrestored examples of the model are commonly known for the presence of rot within the lower sill and at connection points between the steel body and steel tube fame chassis. Following the body repairs, the chassis and body were reunited again and clothed in Black paint (DB 040). The cabin was similarly retrimmed by RM Auto Restoration's master upholsterers in fresh red leather (1079) with Baisch-type lap belts at this time, and altogether this color combination provides this Gullwing with a very striking, entirely period-correct visage.

Upon inspection, the car’s numbers-matching engine was found to be in relatively good condition, and thus it was only partially rebuilt as needed—notwithstanding the replacements of numerous consumables like fuel lines and miscellaneous gaskets. Since the completion of this restoration in 2007, the car has evidently traveled just 1,607 miles throughout its short chain of notable owners and is presented today with fewer than 57,650 miles indicated at time of cataloguing.

In 2011, the newly refreshed Gullwing was purchased by the noted collector Dr. Peter Fodor of Los Angeles, California; marque specialist Rene Luteraan was responsible for its care during his ownership. From Fodor it next passed to Mark Moshayedi of Newport Beach, who had a full set of reproduction Rudge wheels and two pieces of matching red luggage installed. Chassis 6500214 remained with Moshayedi until May 2018, when it was brokered to the noted 300 SL enthusiast Gene Ponder of Marshall, Texas, who subsequently lavished $37,000 on mechanical engine work completed by respected Mercedes-Benz specialist Robert Webster.

Acquired from Ponder by the consignor in 2021, this wonderful 300 SL Gullwing Coupe is a masterfully restored specimen, which is presented in a wonderful period-correct color combination and retaining its numbers-matching engine, body, gearbox, rear axle, and kingpins.

Benefitting from 50 years of long-term residence with its original owner and his family, it exudes the sporting, show-stopping character of what is inarguably Mercedes-Benz’s most celebrated model. Further, it grants immediate eligibility for a wide-ranging variety of tours, rallies, exhibitions, and exclusive gatherings of passionate 300 SL owners.