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  • An early Roadster in its attractive and unusual factory colour combination: Grün DB 218 with Cream 1060 leather upholstery and Beige 979 fabric hood
  • Delivered new December 1957 to the US via Bremen, Germany
  • In superlative, highly original condition, the subject of a comprehensive mechanical restoration by marque expert
In original Grün DB 218

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster

“A rare combination: outstanding road performance plus luxury” An advertising strapline for the 300 SL Roadster by its distributors in the US, the Studebaker-Packard Corporation, neatly sums up the virtues of the new car

Making its debut at the 1957 Geneva motor show, the 300 SL Roadster replaced the legendary ‘Gullwing’ as Mercedes’ super-expensive sports car for only the world’s wealthiest.

This 300 SL Roadster, in beguiling Lindgrün, is a fine example

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster

Replacing Mercedes’ iconic and groundbreaking 300 SL coupé was not the matter of a moment. The engineers in Stuttgart were more than up to the task, though, and created a more usable sports car than the racing car-like Gullwing, but one with barely less performance.

The famous tubular space-frame chassis of the coupé was retained, but modified to allow for conventional, forward hinging doors. A frequent criticism of the Gullwing – its lack of boot space – was addressed by a new, smaller capacity fuel tank that wrapped round the spare wheel allowing overnight luggage to be stowed in the boot. The new fabric top folded away under a metal panel behind the seats and the glass windows were conventional wind-ups.

Under the skin, the powerful fuel-injected straight-six was retained but redesigned rear suspension endowed the car with better roadholding and more comfort. Depending on rear-axle ratio, performance was still stunning: British testers recorded a maximum of 138mph and 0-60mph in 7.8 seconds.

Drawn by Friedrich Geiger under the direction of Head of Design Karl Wilfert, the 300 SL Roadster’s lines were graceful with a hint of menace, the famous square, ‘eggbox’ air exits on the flanks of the car now carrying extended chrome flashes that continued into the doors. An external fuel filler cap was located on the driver’s side tip of the rear wing.

The new car was powerful, expensive and exotic, and immediately became a favourite of industrialists, film stars and wealthy sportsmen the world over. Only a handful of cars were raced and rallied. A total of 1,858 cars were sold until production stopped in 1963.

This Motor Car

According to a copy of the factory delivery note that accompanies this car, chassis 198.042.7500511 was consigned to North American agents Studebaker-Packard of South Bend, New Orleans in December 1957 and shipped to the US from the German port of Bremen. Extras included:

·         Sonderlackierung – special paintwork

·         Sonderausführung für USA – special equipment for USA including sealed-beam headlamps and lockable driver’s door

·         Rückfahrscheinwerfer – reversing lights

·         Kontaktschalter rechts

·         Becker Mexico radio

·         1kg paint

Research by 300 SL Eric Le Moine reveals that this car spent much of its early life in the US, listing owners that include: HD Gaza (Arizona); Harry Harrell (Indiana); H Barton Kister (Indiana); David Lozow (Indiana); and Robert F Martino (Connecticut).

In more recent times, ‘7500511’ returned to Europe and has been the subject of a comprehensive mechanical restoration by German expert Kienle that included a full engine and suspension rebuild, all the while taking the utmost care to preserve the interior and exterior, much of which is totally original from 1957.

Its sensational exterior colour marks this car out from the ordinary. Add to that exceptional originality and the highest standard of mechanical condition, and you get a stand-out 300 SL Roadster, one of the finest we have handled.

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