1959 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
$1,200,000 - $1,400,000
RM | Sotheby's - AMELIA ISLAND 8 - 9 MARCH 2019 - Offered on Saturday
- Highly documented, comprehensive award-winning restoration
- Equipped with European headlights, Becker Mexico radio, and Nardi wheel
- Documented matching-numbers example
- Includes factory hardtop, luggage, tools, manuals, and literature
- Exceptionally well-sorted and ready for touring
One of the most coveted of all Mercedes-Benz automobiles, this handsome 300 SL roadster is an award-winning, numbers-matching classic that has recently benefited from a significant amount of high-quality work performed by some of the finest shops in the country.
Mercedes-Benz factory records indicate this 300 SL was assembled in late 1958 as a 1959 model, delivered new in silver with red leather to Al Haddad Motors in Iselah, in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The 300 SL was imported to the U.S. in the early 1960s where it was purchased by someone from Santa Barbara, California. It is believed to have remained in the Golden State before being exported to Japan in the 1990s. Mr. Motomori Tanaka of Toyko owned the car by 2000, where it was kept in his private collection for a decade, after which it returned to sunny Southern California.
A San Diego-based collector acquired the well-maintained 300 SL shortly after its return. He would commission the widely respected restoration experts at Brian Anderson’s Classic European in Vista, California, to conduct a complete body-off restoration to concours condition in 2010. The comprehensive restoration was fully documented, with the completed car emerging from restoration in April 2012, donning the elegant color scheme of White (DB 147G) over a black leather interior. The restoration efforts were rewarded with the car winning its class at the 2012 La Jolla Motor Car Classic and runner-up at the prestigious and highly competitive Show Roadster Division at the Gull Wing Group National Convention in Palm Springs. It was also displayed at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering in Carmel Valley that same year. The current owner then acquired the roadster in 2014.
Although the current owner acquired the car in otherwise excellent condition, it was decided that the 300 SL deserved additional attention paid to the mechanical aspects so that it would be highly reliable for touring and not just showing. To that end, in 2014 the 300 SL was delivered to Automotive Restorations in Stratford, Connecticut, for meticulous mechanical restoration. The company is widely known and respected as one of the very best restoration shops on the Eastern Seaboard for more than 40 years. The restoration of the drivetrain was extremely comprehensive, including a complete rebuild of the original inline six-cylinder engine, extensive refurbishing and recalibration of the Bosch mechanical fuel-injection system, refurbishing of the four-speed manual transmission, rebuilding the brake system, front and rear suspension rebuild, a tear-down and rebuild of the rear differential, and much more. No expense was spared, and for which there are numerous binders of paperwork and receipts that detail the fastidious work performed, totaling over $200,000. After the work was completed in 2016, the roadster was thoroughly tested, driven, and properly sorted, resulting in a car that is extremely reliable, performs flawlessly, and is a thrill to drive.
In addition to being mechanically superior and stunningly attractive, this 300 SL roadster boasts a bevy of extras and desirable optional equipment. Special features include European headlights, factory hardtop, elegant wood-rimmed Nardi steering wheel, Becker Mexico radio, and a splendid set of custom-trimmed fitted luggage. Other items accompanying the car include a tool kit, jack, first aid kit, engine bay work light, owner’s manual, Becker radio instruction manual, spare parts list and factory sales brochure, as well as the aforementioned restoration receipts and documents detailing all the expert work performed on this exceptional Mercedes-Benz.
This 300 SL is perhaps the most roadworthy, highly detailed, show-ready roadster available. The close attention to detail, the thoroughness of the restoration, and the desire by the current owner to ensure that this classic Mercedes-Benz drives as well as it looks will instill confidence in the next caretaker of this exceptional 300 SL who wishes to not only exhibit this car, but to drive it as was always intended.