Lot 360

Dare to Dream Collection

1959 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster

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$1,500,000 - $1,800,000 USD  | Offered Without Reserve

Canada Flag | Toronto, Ontario

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Chassis No.
198.042.10.002392
Engine No.
198.980.10.9500114
Body No.
198.042.10.9500112
To be offered on Saturday, 1 June 2024
  • Presented in its rarely seen factory-correct shade of Light Blue (DB 334); retains its numbers-matching engine and body
  • Completely restored by renowned marque specialist Rudi and Company of Victoria, BC between 2011 and 2013
  • Desirably equipped with disc brakes, 3.64 rear end, color-matched wheels, Becker Mexico radio, Talbot mirror, and Baisch-style seat belts
Please note, this lot is registered in Canada and import duty will be applicable to all countries outside of Canada, including the United States.

While the original Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” Coupe was exiting stage left in 1957, its successor, the 300 SL Roadster, was debuting at that year’s Geneva Auto Salon.

The conversion of the 300 SL to an open car meant redesigning the chassis, which was strengthened significantly to compensate for the loss of the roof structure. Enthusiasts who may have worried about the super-leicht going “soft” had absolutely no cause for concern: Thanks to a fully synchronized gearbox, greatly improved engine mechanicals, new rear axle design, and wide range of final drive selections available to customers, the Roadster remained among the fastest-accelerating automobiles on the road. Furthermore, a redesigned fuel tank and longer rear overhang facilitated enlargement of the trunk space, an ideal dividend for owners interested in extended touring.

Many featured in the garages of celebrities, racing drivers, and other successful individuals. With a list price of $11,000, ownership of a 300 SL Roadster was a dream to most, but to those with the funds to spare, the car was worth every penny.

This new Mercedes-Benz was of course a revelation upon its debut, but what is remarkable is how this very special machine has continued to fascinate in the six decades that have followed. While driving a 1957 300 SL Roadster on the 2016 edition of the Colorado Grand rally, Motor Trend’s Rory Jurnecka observed, “…it occurs to me on the last morning, climbing into the car, how normal it's become to drive a 300 SL each day. It's not just that the car is essentially a race car underneath its steel and aluminum body. It's not just that the car we're driving is worth somewhere over $1 million in today's market. It's not even that the car was built in 1957 and we're putting several hundred miles on it day after day without feeling much worse for the wear or suffering any breakdowns. It is the combination of those things that is truly amazing.”

Offered today from the Dare to Dream Collection, this charming US-market 300 SL Roadster benefits from a complete restoration executed in 2013 by renown marque specialist Rudi Koniczek. This open-air super-leicht is one of only 211 examples of the iconic model produced by Mercedes-Benz during their 1959 model year, and one of only 101 Roadsters from the entire production run which were furnished to customers in this outstanding color of Light Blue (DB 334). In addition to its exceptional color, the car is also presently and desirably equipped with Dunlop disc brakes, 3.64 ratio rear axle, color-matched wheels, a Becker Mexico radio, Talbot mirror, and Baisch-style seat belts.

Documentation on file shows that this lovely Roadster was delivered new on 9 August 1959 to Phil Smart Mercedes-Benz of Seattle, Washington. It was reportedly retained within the family of its original owner for the next 54 years; at some point prior to 1998, it was cosmetically restored to a more restrained livery of silver paint over black leather upholstery. In 2011, this Roadster was purchased in a worn, if finely preserved, condition and immediately forwarded to the world-class restoration facilities of renowned marque specialist Rudi Koniczek.

During its complete, no-expense-spared restoration, the car’s numbers-matching body and tube frame chassis were separated and stripped to bare metal, so as to uncover and address any hidden condition issues. An exhaustive photo record of Koniczek’s work (on file) illustrates that newly formed steel and aluminum panels were integrated into the car’s original body where required. The car was then repainted to its factory-correct shade of Light Blue, while its sumptuous, ergonomic interior was masterfully retrimmed in pristine red leather (1079) beneath a Dark Blue fabric Roadster top.

Koniczek and his team also furnished this Roadster with a complete rebuild of its numbers-matching example of the model’s signature fuel-injected, 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine. Other noteworthy line items from Koniczek’s restoration worklist include the fabrication and fitment of a completely new wiring harness, and factory-correct Dunlop disc brakes. Shortly after emerging completely reborn from Rudi and Company’s premises, this sublime 300 SL Roadster was purchased by the consignor. Within the care of their climate-controlled Dare to Dream Collection, it has played the role of much-admired stablemate to a great number of automotive icons and dream cars.

The new 300 SL Roadster was an improvement on the Gullwing in nearly every capacity, at least from a road-going perspective, and it has since evolved into one of Stuttgart’s most collectible models. Better yet, both the closed and open-air variants of the super-leicht enjoy the same robust, close-knit community of active owners across the world.

Boasting wonderful performance and reliable enough to be enjoyed daily, the 300 SL Roadster is an enthusiast favorite for vintage rallies, long-distance touring, or even use as a regular driver at one’s summer home. A well-restored example is a requisite in any collection, and this handsome disc brake-equipped example—presented in its factory-correct color, which is rarely seen today—certainly will not disappoint.