The final 300 SL fully restored by Rudi & Company
| Blenheim, Ontario
- A truly exceptional 300 SL Roadster
- Specified from new with several unique features
- Retains its original chassis, engine, gearbox, and body
- The final 300 SL to be fully restored by marque specialist Rudi & Company of Victoria, BC
- Finished in Silver Grey Metallic over a Red leather interior
Introduced three years after the highly-acclaimed 300 SL ‘Gullwing’, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster offered not just the thrill of open-air motoring, but numerous improvements over its closed sibling. Extensive chassis revisions increased torsional rigidity and allowed for the addition of conventionally-hinged doors with roll-down windows, providing easier entry and egress for both driver and passenger. Also installed was a revised single-pivot trailing arm for the rear axle, replacing the Gullwing’s dual pivot system and significantly reducing the car’s tendency to oversteer. Between 1957 and 1963, a total of 1,858 300 SL Roadsters were produced. Like the Gullwing that preceeded it, these cars have remained highly sought-after by enthusiasts from the moment they entered production, and today are considered to be one of the most iconic automobiles ever built by Mercedes-Benz.
Despite bearing a 1957 chassis number, this particular 300 SL Roadster was completed by the factory on January 10 1958. Built to US specifications, it was originally finished in Silver Grey Metallic (DB 180) over a Red (1079) leather interior—a combination that it still wears today. Interestingly, the Roadster was fitted with several factory modifications, likely made to accommodate a very tall first owner These included mounting both the driver and passenger seats 2.5 centimeters lower than normal; extending the steering column; installing special wiring and circuits for additional fog lamps; and adding an extra reverse light to the car.
Although this 300 SL Roadster was built to US specifications, it is believed that the car was delivered new to Germany rather than being shipped straight to North America. The name “Lt. Browder” is noted in factory records, along with Kaiserslautern, a city in southwest Germany not far from Mannheim and the French border. Kaiserslautern was subject to Allied bombing during the Second World War, and economic growth afterwards was slow until 1952 when a garrison for US troops brought new life to the city. It is believed Lieutenant Browder was stationed here and ordered his 300 SL Roadster directly through Mercedes-Benz, which explains the special features and delivery notation. It is thought he kept the car while stationed in Germany before returning to the US, bringing his 300 SL home with him.
The Gull Wing Group’s 300 SL Roadster Registry notes that this Roadster changed hands in 1970 when it was acquired by Erich Vogl of Clawson, Michigan. Following his ownership, the car moved south to Nashville, Tennessee where it was purchased by Ronald Voss. It is believed that the car was restored in his ownership and refinished in black with red upholstery, likely in the late 1980s or early 1990s, before moving north when acquired by Tom McCarthy of Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
The Roadster was later purchased by Roderick Taylor and his wife Carolyn Morris of Connecticut. The Taylors were avid members of the Gull Wing Group, having previously owned a trio of 300 SL Gullwings, in addition to this 300 SL Roadster and a 190 SL. The Roadster remained with them for a number of years before they decided to embark upon a restoration. Sadly, Mr. Taylor died before any serious progress was made. At the time of his passing, the car had been fully stripped and disassembeled, with every part carefully labelled and stored. His wife later sold the car to an enthusiast in Canada, who shipped it to British Colombia to complete the restoration.
Entrusting the 300 SL Roadster to Rudi Koniczek of Rudi & Company in Victoria, BC—a world renowned 300 SL specialist—the car was stripped to bare metal and found to be in excellent condition. It received all-new rubber, European-specification headlights, new taillight lenses, and all-new glass, while the original trim was rechromed to show standard. During the restoration, it was confirmed that the Roadster retained its original chassis, engine, body, transmission, front axles, and rear differential. The original engine and gearbox were fully rebuilt, utilizing only factory-correct components supplied by Mercedes-Benz Classic. Refinished in its original colors, the car was test-driven for 300 miles and before being subject to an additional service to ensure it ran and drove as new. Finally, the car is accompanied by a Becker Mexico radio, tool roll, tire iron and jack, a set of soft-top head guards, and a set of fitted luggage trimmed in 1079 red leather by Taris Charysyn & Co.
Acquired by its current Ontario-based owner in 2017, this beautifully presented Mercedes-Benz remains in exceptional condition today, having been very well preserved following the completion of the restoration.
Hailed as one of the greatest open sportscars of all time, the 300 SL Roadster is an icon of one of the most glamorous periods of motoring. Considered by many to be a more accomplished drive than its Gullwing sibling, these extraordinarily capable and deeply attractive Roadsters offer a seductive combination of class-leading performance, dynamic handling, and looks that could stop traffic.