1963 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
- Factory disc brakes and an alloy block
- Matching numbers; believed to have had four private owners from new
- Delivered new in Fire Red (DB 534)
- Full engine rebuild at Mercedes-Benz Classic in Stuttgart in 2018
- All of the best original factory features
- An exceptionally original 300 SL Roadster
From the moment it was introduced, Mercedes-Benz’s 300 SL was an instant hit, thanks to its brilliant design, performance, and engineering. As production concluded for the iconic 300 SL Gullwing, Mercedes-Benz was eager to build a convertible version, which debuted at the 1957 Geneva Motor Show. By the end of that year, the final 70 of the 1,400 coupés and the first 618 of the roadsters were assembled.
The 300 SL Roadster brought numerous advancements to the already state-of-the-art platform. The central section of the 300 SL’s space-frame chassis was lowered, and smaller sills and enlarged doors were added to improve entrance and egress. Its strength was maintained, nonetheless, with the addition of diagonal struts bracing the lowered side sections to the rear tubular members. The suspension was revised, providing a more comfortable ride and improved handling. The spare tyre was repositioned below the boot floor, necessitating a smaller fuel tank but also maintaining reasonable luggage space. Although these revisions added some 250 pounds, most of which were associated with the convertible top, the car remained an excellent performer, with a factory-claimed 137-mph top speed.
Chassis number 198.042.10.003135, was built at the end of 1962, and benefits from being a late-production 300 SL with the two most desirable features, disc brakes and an alloy engine block. The upgraded brakes provided modern stopping power to suit the car’s performance, whilst the alloy block significantly lightened the nose of the 300 SL, improving its handling. Together, they made for what is widely considered to be the “ultimate” 300 SL Roadster configuration, which was used on only the final 210 cars produced in late 1962 and 1963.
According to a copy of its data card, this Roadster was sold new in the United States and finished as it appears today, in Fire Red (DB 534) with a black interior. It is believed to have enjoyed only four private owners from new, with its most long-term caretaker having been Gull Wing Group member Pedro Garcia, of Georgia, who owned the car from 1974 until 2011. The car was then sold to respected enthusiast and connoisseur of all fine things, Jean-Claude Biver, who was the chairman of Hublot, Blancpain, and other fine watch manufacturers, as well as a noted turophile.
Monsieur Biver acquired the 300 SL from German marque specialists at HK Engineering, who, according to a previous owner, described the car as being “one of the most original and best they’ve ever seen”. Inspection indicates fine originality, down to the car’s original colour combination and interior, and it is believed that the current reading of 61,000 miles on the odometer is genuine. The car is complete with a large history file that dates back to 1974, as well as its owner’s, service, and parts manuals, technical data, and operating instructions. More recently, the car has been treated to a full engine rebuild at Mercedes-Benz Classic in Stuttgart in 2018.
Arguably one of the most original, well-maintained examples to have been offered for sale in recent years, this 300 SL Roadster would be a thrilling addition to any collection.