Garage Find Gullwing: 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing front corner

Estate sales can be a treasure hunter’s playground. Some families, especially those living in the same house for 50 years, have a lot of junk sitting around. Some items may be worth something, while other trinkets are held onto for reasons only known to the deceased. There is one family in England that chose to hang onto something very precious, an unrestored 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing. Find this one family car for sale here in the UK.

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing grill

The sight of one of the world’s most desirable sports car shoved into the rafters is a shocker to say the least. The 300SL is a blue-chip investment which is rare to see in this sort of condition. Normally they have been treated to a no-expense spared restoration by a caring collector. This particular car is a desirable end of the run 1957 model, as the introduction of the 300SL roadster that same year marked the end of coupe production.

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing undercarriage

Although currently in pieces, the inline six-cylinder motor was a marvel in its day. Featuring an industry-first Bosch mechanically driven fuel-injection system, it generated 215 b.h.p. It sat in the engine bay at a 45-degree angle in order to fit inside the body’s low profile. Accompanied by a four-speed manual transmission, it was capable of reaching 135 m.p.h. Let’s just hope the drivetrain is all there and salvageable.

Vintage Photo of 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

The Gullwing was not intended to come stateside, but its success in European road racing caught the attention of New York importer Max Hoffman. After pleading with management in Stuttgart, the 300SL and its later roadster sibling were given the green light for production. The cars were hugely successful despite their enormous price tag and helped change America’s perception of Mercedes’ sedate sedan image forever.

1957 Mercedes Benz-300SL Gullwing passenger side

Finding one of these in England that has been stowed and forgotten is unusual. Although, like many high-end sports cars, the maintenance costs for the 300SL could have gotten out of hand and forced the hibernation. Many of these cars were also considered weekend toys so they could be easily parked when repairs outstripped the vehicle’s worth.

Mercedes-Benz 300SL Cutaway

The seller does not say much about this garage Gullwing, except to mention that it has been in the same family’s ownership since the 1970′s. With only “very substantial” offers being considered, the purchase price and restoration costs will put this one out of reach to most. The limited photos show a few rust bubbles and several missing trim pieces, not to mention the dissected motor. Unless its next owner has very deep pockets, it’s likely that this priceless Benz will remain in its current condition, but lets just hope someone will be able save it from a rusty death.

Comments

  1. Kraig

    No interior shots? Wonder if it’s LHD or RHD?

  2. Donald C

    The Gullwings have always been my favorite cars,although way outta reach.

  3. Louie

    The ad says It`s a LHD in the fact file.

  4. J. Pickett

    No ladder and filthy windows, no interior shots. Some one will save it. Remember even 300sl’s had a time when the value was possibly less than a major engine repair.

  5. Tim

    A beautiful car when restored. I can’t even fathom the cost to restore but someone will pick it up and do so. I’ll be looking for it to roll on the auction block at Barrett/Jackson in 2-3 years. Only wish I had the funds for such a project.

  6. Corey

    Well, if I clean out the 401k, the bank accounts and sell a vital organ, I could probably afford an engine rebuild.

    Check out Canepa Designs if anyone wants a restored one. They currently have 2 of them…and my undying envy.

  7. Dolphin

    With restored Gullwings bringing + or – $ one million, depending on the car’s provenance and the quality of the restoration, this car will probably bring the ‘very substantial offer’ that’s required for its purchase. The cost for a proper restoration will be very high, and if the car is to bring top price it needs to be done by someone who knows these cars in detail and gets all the details right.

    The first time I experienced a Gullwing more or less up close was while I was minding my own business driving my Healey 3000 one night. I suddenly heard a VERY LOUD metallic shrieking sound to my immediate left, about 3 or 4 feet away: I had just been passed by a 300SL at full throttle. I found out later from some friends who experienced the same thing that this SL’s owner liked to approach lesser sports cars like ours from behind in stealth mode, then drop down a gear or two and blast by. I guess when you’re driving a Gullwing you feel that you can do pretty much whatever you want.

  8. fred

    It appears that someone started a do-it-yourself restoration at some point then abandoned the project

  9. Dan

    They were Beautiful cars.

  10. Jeff Van Allen

    A Jay Leno project for sure ;)

  11. TVC15

    @ Kraig , All 1400 of these cars were L.H.D
    Engine rebuilds are not that complicated
    I would be more concerned with missing parts
    Gullwings have the highest survival rate of any classic car , they were always worth keeping , like this one……..

  12. shaun

    missed a chance to buy one of these with a blown engine in ’83 for $5k in an estate sale…. missed opportunity.

  13. Doug M

    I would love to see this one re-assembled and driven in UN-restored condition! Just seems like ALL you see are the finished ones!

  14. Jeff

    @Shaun, if that was me I’d still be in psychiatry sessions lol

  15. Thomas McCorquodale

    A wonderful GERMAN engineering feat.
    I had one of these great old masterpieces back in the 1970′s and I have an original
    300 SL Gullwing parts manual for your car. I believe it would do someone with a
    project like this one a whole lot more than it will do me anymore. I have had it in my
    book shelf for long enough…. It’s value is probably priceless to the right person.
    This manual was originally registered to Mr. Carlo Ponti of Rome, Italy and can be
    purchased from me for $2500 dollars US. Please use my email martmack@yahoo.com

  16. Mark W

    I would LOVE to see a web blog with details and photos of a tear down and restoration of one of these. I imagine it would be fascinating.

  17. shaun

    @Jeff. No sessions. Just a little bruised from kicking myself. :-\

  18. peter

    hi,why not pick up a cheap sedan and build a gull wing cockpit into it im sure a good craftsman could soon knock up one if you like this set up?Possibly would cost little and pics and plans of construction must be around.Just a thought?regards peter.

  19. C bryant

    I’m not a true “gearhead” but I was always told to store a crankshaft on end,not laying down.Am I wrong?Especially one that was stored for 35 years.

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