The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing (W198 I) offered for sale here was delivered to its first owner in Switzerland in March 1955 via the Mercedes-Benz branch in Zurich. This owner had a very special taste in color, as he was the only one to order the color gray metallic (DB 105) ex works as well as the rarest of the three fabric finishes (green/beige) for the interior.
Later, the Gullwing was restored from the ground up in Germany with a focus on optimized performance. Thus, disc brakes were installed on the front axle to replace the undersized drum brake. The sidepipes not only increase performance, but also reduce the heat generated in the interior and provide very pleasing acoustics.
The car has been in a collection in southern Germany for many years. There it enjoys perfect conditions, because in addition to air-conditioned storage, it is regularly driven and serviced. Thus, even today, it is still in excellent technical condition and, due to the improved driving characteristics, is also really fun on the road.
The 300 SL, belonging to the W 198 series, goes back to the Mercedes-Benz W194 race car. In 1951, Daimler-Benz decided to participate in races and to build a sports car for this purpose. In 1952, the W 194 took part in the most important races of the year. The new SL started at the Mille Miglia in early May and finished second. Only a few Month the Gullwing managed to make the first places at the famous Le Mans 24-hour race.
Originally, an of official series production of the 300 SL was not planned. The idea of a toned-down Grand Prix car, tailored to wealthy performance enthusiasts in the booming post-war American market, was proposed by U.S. Mercedes importer Max Hoffman in 1953 during a Daimler-Benz directors' meeting in Stuttgart. Mercedes' new general manager, Fritz Koenecke agreed, after Hoffmann officially ordered 1,000 cars. In addition, production of a smaller roadster, the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL, was announced after Hoffman placed another order for 1,000 of the 190 SLs.
The two sports cars made their debut at the International Motor Sports Show in New York, which was held in February 1954. Mercedes-Benz experienced a very positive visitor response at the Motor Show, and series production of the 300 SL Coupé finally began in August 1954 at the Sindelfingen plant.
The engine for the 300 SL was based on the M186 from the 300 "Adenauer" saloon (W 186). In order to deliver race-ready performance, dry sump lubrication and mechanical gasoline direct injection by Bosch were among the features to be installed. A first in automotive engineering. The so-called M198 engine produces 215 hp at 5,800 rpm and 275 Nm of torque at 4,600 rpm. To allow the large intake manifold to fit under the flat hood, the engine was tilted 50 degrees to the left. The tubular lattice frame of the 300 SL, developed by Rudolf Uhlenhaut, weighed a slim 82 kg and ensured a high level of stability. However, this was the reason why normal doors could not be used and the designers had to switch to the gullwing doors that are now world famous.
The sports car of the century immediately draws you in and continues to thrill young and old - a legend that will continue to excite for at least the next century.