Airport Runner: 1956 Mercedes Gullwing

UPDATE 6/9/12 – The seller ended the auction early. Bidding was at $500k reserve not met.

Who the heck tries to sell a Gullwing on eBay? Well someone just listed one and bidding is already at half a million! It may seem fishy, but the story actually sounds realistic and if it is true, this could be one of the best survivors to hit the market this year. This 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL appears to be all original with only 31k miles on the odometer. It is still in the hands of the second owner and is currently located in Montreal, Canada. Take a look at the listing here on eBay.

The current owner bought the car from the original owner in 1962. In 1967 they had it resprayed in this nice silver tone and at some point added fog lamps out front. Must be a classy guy because it all looks great. Other than those changes, the car is claimed to be all original and never restored.

There is no fitted luggage, but who cares? Those nicely worn red leather buckets don’t look like they would be too comfortable for long jaunts anyway. Plus, the lack of roll-down windows in the gullwing doors and poor ventilation can make summer trips steamy. Spring and Fall rallies would be calling us though and we are sure we could take our pick of events with a car like this. A duffel bag would work fine for clothes, but you may want to pickup one of these for your golf clubs or this for your skis.

Big steering wheels can make it a pain to get in and out of a vintage car, but Mercedes had already solved the problem by making it possible to fold the wheel down. It may look strange, but I bet it made things nicer for the big boys. We would love to climb in there and just shift through the gears of that four speed transmission. Starting up the engine wouldn’t be too bad either…

This inline-six engine is good for 212 horsepower and was actually the first car engine equipped with direct injection. Along with good aerodynamics, this engine helped the 300SL earn the title as the fastest production car at the time. Unlike most cars we feature here, this one has been well maintained its whole life. With yearly checkups, it might actually be safe to take out and drive right away.

The only thing in the listing that makes us nervous is that the seller claims that the repair history and original title were stolen from the owner’s house. They do have a title and proof of ownership though. Obviously if you have this kind of money to spend, you will do your research before handing over a penny.

Supposedly the person who listed the car is selling it for the second owner. They claim that the first owner managed an airport up in a remote region of Canada and would just used the car to drive up and down the runway. Hard to believe, but you never know. I once heard that there was a Gullwing stashed at a ranch about 20 minutes from my home in Wyoming. I also know for a fact that someone in North Dakota owned a 250 GTO and would bring it down for hillclimbs in Montana not far from where I grew up. Just think if that car would have gotten parked in an old barn and forgotten… Anyway, it just goes to show you that a rare car like this may pop up anywhere.

Source: eBay

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Comments

  1. Rich Truesdell

    Reminds me very much of a 300 SL I photographed last year, sold by the Mercedes-Benz Classic in Irvine, California, that was featured in the UK publication, Mercedes-Enthusiast.
    If anyone is interested, as a reference, here’s a link to the images, bit.ly/LoNTak

  2. kevin

    i would take it for a spin

  3. Horse Radish

    Fantastic story, if it’s true. The offer for inspections make it very believable.

    Nowadays, I am a little more jaded, when it comes to stories like that.
    I would not be surprised , if it’s a story fabricated by a dealer just to create a hyperbole and attract more money, mainly from far away Europe or Germany in particular.
    Out of experience, German buyers just fall all over this ‘one in a billion chance’ of buying that “one” Gullwing (every little child ‘knows’ about the legendary Mercedes Gullwing by now) that is found in a far away almost mythical place where time stood still.

    In other words: Your basic fairy tale

  4. Roberto

    I have a photo of this car that I took in 1973 when I organized the Canadian 300SL Owners Association. The owner was, and is, a friend. Back then it had Alberta plates but was kept in Montreal. I remember chasing it, at high speed, in my 300SL Roadster through the streets of Montreal… great memories. Sad to see it up for sale but the time comes to all of us.

  5. Mike Nilson

    And I was just in Riguad yesterday! Who knew?

    Like 1
  6. Dolphin Dolphin Member

    Having lived in Montreal I can say that, if you haven’t been there, it is the most European modern city in North America, and it had more than its share of Old Money and European exotics back in the day. This car being shipped back there for servicing and paintwork is entirely believable. As the seller says, Pierre Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, had a 300Sl Convertible that he drove only when he was *not* P.M., which he was twice. He didn’t want the distraction or the sour stories in the papers about his wealth. And there were other interesting cars and owners.

    The story about this car in the eBay listing is less surprising than, say, that Austin Healey 3000 that was on BarnFinds the other day being left to rot in Florida for decades by someone with infinitely less appreciation of fine cars that the owner of this 300SL. He may have had this SL out in the boonies and used it on an airport runway, but he had the good sense to keep it for a long time and take care of it.

    It’s a bit surprising that this car is being offered on eBay, but stranger offerings than this have happened. At the very least, the listing will generate lots of free publicity, which it has already started to do.

    This car is already bid to the middle of the range for a #2 condition Gullwing according to the SCM Price Guide, and it’s only been on for a few hours. It’s protected by a reserve, so if that’s not met I would guess the seller will send it to one of the major auctions next. I just hope that, other than touching up the minor body/paint damage, the car is left as-is. Even as it stands now, I’ll bet that it would bring #1 money at a major auction.

    Two-owners…..original and well cared for……and with the kind of patina you just can’t buy—if it doesn’t sell on eBay it will sell well at any of the major auctions.

    Like 1
  7. Dan

    Beautiful car.

  8. mincht

    Leave it and use/show it. This is the second “original” condition 300 I have seen. Forget all of the redone ones, this is what rules for my interest!

  9. TVC15

    Very nice car , I’ve said this before , these cars were always keepers , they cost the price of a small house when new and went up in value almost every year , and they were nearly always second or third cars for very rich owners , the survival rate of these cars is up there with GTO Ferraris , of the 1400 300SL Gullwings built there must be at least 1200 left and they keep on coming !

  10. Bob

    The racing versions of all Mercedes in those days had tartan cloth seat covers.

    Could those be had on the road versions?

    They would seem more comfortable than the leather given the gullwing’s ventilation issues.

  11. TVC15

    Yes Bob , but only on very early ( 1954 ) cars

  12. Horse Radish

    On June 9th at 9 am , the Ebay auction was terminated by the seller, without any explanation other than the standard “item no longer is available”.
    How seriously disappointing is that.
    I guess that is one way to avoid an official transaction and avoid capital gains taxes.
    Anybody in Canada wanna check ?

  13. Zaphod

    Lovley cars.. but a mistke.. these never had direct injection (I have the factory manual next to me), that was only fitted to the 300SLR, which had a toatlly differnt engine, the striaght 8 of the GP car

  14. TGM

    Nobody actually bid on this. Just two shill bidders with their 333, 444, 555 bids. It was meant to create the “illusion” that this is a $500,000 car.

  15. Roberto

    Well TGM, the car sold through ‘connections’, not on ebay, and for considerably more than the $500+ K seen in the ebay bidding. Know the car quite well and happy to report it is staying in Canada. And Dolphin, Pierre drove his Roadster often when he was PM, we used to ‘race’ each other in 71 when I had my Roadster.and lived in Ottawa. Justin, his son, owns the car now and after a complete overhaul in Vancouver a few years ago, it looks like a million (probably what it would get at auction given its provenance).

  16. Chris Junker

    The very first 300SL’s that raced in the Carrera PanAmerica Road Race, 2 coupes and a raodster, had carbs. After Max Hoffman talked MB into building production Gullwings, they all had Bosch 6 cylinder direct fuel injection into the combustion chambers. Modified for production Gullwings were raced successfully in Europe. Oliver Gendebien drove one to a GT class win in the Mille Miglia. The gull wing door design also found it’s way into the rebodied 300SLR 8 cylinder team racer as the Uhlenhaut Coupe. He drove it as his home to MB commuter car. The roadster 300SLR when set up for Le Mans topped out close to 160 the coupe was rumored to touch 180. Two of the coupes were built and still exist in the MB Museum. The 300 SL Gull Wing may be the only car that has never depreciated in price.

  17. Richard

    This car had the first “fuel-injected” engine available in a regular production vehicle (pre-dating the Corvette’s optional 327 fuelie), not “direct injection”.

  18. Alex Csank

    I was involved in this sale. It is a very nice car and it has gone to a good home.

    Cheers all,
    Alex Sandor Csank

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