Live Auctions

Estate Sale: 1961 Mercedes-Benz 300SL


We know how some of you feel about Gullwing Motor Cars, but when we noticed this 300SL in their inventory we had to give it a mention. They claim that it came out of an estate where it had been with the same owner for the last 40 years. There is some deterioration, but this car does have the potential to be one of the most beautiful things on the road. It will cost you though, as they are asking an astonishing $925,000!


That asking price probably got your blood going, but lets do our due diligence before we start doing any name calling. Hagerty values a #4 1961 Mercedes-Benz 300SL at $890k. Values have been on an upward trend for a while and have just recently skyrocketed. We are sure Gullwing picked it up for significantly less, but we are also sure that there is someone out there who wants one of these bad enough to pay that kind of money.


The silver over red color combo is one of our favorites. Only problem is this was originally a black car. In traditional Gullwing fashion, they don’t give us many details so we have no idea when it was painted or even if it is currently running. They claim it will be an easy restoration though. All we know is that we should have sold everything and bought one of these babies back in 2006!


  1. Morten

    Isn’t that the one that was sold on an auction somewhere some 3 or 4 month ago. It looks a lot like it, with the same patinated seats?

  2. Jim

    Great car, too bad it currently sits for sale with a bunch of hucksters.

  3. Peter R

    Love to afford to own it – just not from these guys – like so many exotics the prices are long out of sight to us ordinary mortals –

  4. michaedo

    Who woulda thunk? Was getting out of the air force
    back in the early 70’s. Was stationed in Holland and
    one was offered at $3700. Coulda taken care of my
    retirement then and there.

  5. Rick

    It’s called “Patina”. Seems not to matter the condition any more, these cars don’t go much less than a million bucks. I remember a gull wing for sale in Seattle around 1970-71, was a little on the beat up side, asking price was $10K, no takers.

  6. Rick

    Note also one could buy an original Cobra (at least in the Seattle area) for $10K back in ’71

  7. Dolphin Member

    No surprise at the price. 300SLs have been gaining value for many years and are cheap compared to the Italian competition, which consistently bring much higher prices, making this car a ‘bargain’, at least by comparison. The body looks pretty good, and the interior is cheap to R&R compared to other parts of the car, like the drivetrain and especially the complicated tube frame, which can consume the kind of cubic money that can terrify an unsuspecting owner. There’s a world famous 300SL restorer not far from me, and people send their 300SLs to him from all over the world, hoping that the underpinnings are good and that the main work their car requires is topside.

    Gullwing—the company—has moved upmarket, and now has a much larger inventory that I think is mainly brokered cars, which this one probably is because of the limited photos and description. I’ll bet that this car is in the owner’s home garage and not in Queens, NYC.

    • Horse Radish

      I disagree with your last paragraph.
      The guy (Peter Kumar) is nothing but an upscale hoarder. He nmust have friends with abandoned warehouses in upstate NY or else he wouldn’t know where to keep them all.
      Bottom line :
      he buys low, low, low and offers high, high, very high…..
      that is why he has a huge inventory !
      About the photos ?
      HE ALMOST ALWAYS uses the precious seller’s photos.
      # 1 they show the car in better shape (older photos)
      #2 I think he is too lazy to take new ones, honestly !

      • Dolphin Member

        I understand your point, HR. The reason I think he’s brokering cars is that his website is very different now from his previous sales ads that just had photos of the rusty and clapped out cars in a back alley in Queens where his facility is. It now has a search function and a lot more cars for sale. I think he’s doing what a lot of sellers are doing because brokering is a lot easier and less costly than putting out cash for cars and then transporting and storing them while you market them. But I don’t know him and this is just a guess.

        I think in the end a buyer has to go for the best deal he can get that will put a car that he wants in his garage. Right now, with the big run-up in values there are a lot of shady dealer/brokers out there, so caution is definitely advised. I place a lot of emphasis on the ‘buying experience’, and every vehicle I have bought for many years has been from someone who treats me like a person and not like a cash machine. You can usually tell whether you want to bother dealing with a seller within the first few minutes. The ones who had the vehicle I wanted AND who treated me well are the ones who have gotten my cash. The rest…..I just walked.

  8. paul

    Gee for 925,000 could they bother to give you a few pictures. But then a few more pictures might show too much!
    Pass , no pics no $’s.But then again not my bracket for a toy.

  9. Bill K

    I was able to buy one in much much better shape for $32,000 in 1985 out of Maryland but my client wanted to hold out for a gull wing. Hind sight is always so perfect….

  10. Horse Radish

    And yes, Jesse, please spare us from more Gullwing offers,
    pleeeeeze !!, pretty, please !
    It’s sad for the cars, but miserable for me to look at…..

  11. jim s

    but for a few “0’s” this could be the next BF project car! or did you buy the pacer?

  12. That Guy

    Ten or so years ago I saw a black 300SL roadster in similar condition parked outside the local hardware store. I thought it was amazing that such a car still existed without having received an expensive restoration.

    I saw it on the road a few times after that, and then one day I was dropping off my wife’s 400SEL at the local Mercedes shop, and there it was on the lift. I asked the shop owner about it, and he clammed up and changed the subject. I got the impression he wanted to protect the owner from all the people who undoubtedly were constantly pestering him or her to sell.

    So I still don’t know the car’s story. But as recently as several years ago, there was another ratty 300SL roadster out there to tantalize the restorers.

  13. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Well, I don’t see Gullwing purchasing any classifieds from us in the future. Oh well! Personally, I always prefer purchasing a car from an owner over a dealer. Every once in a while we take a look at what the dealers have though because sometimes they do drag out something interesting. We may despise some of these guys that do it for a business, but boy do they get to play with some interesting machinery!

  14. The Shoog

    I’ve got pictures of an unrestored Black 300SL Roadster in the parking area at last year’s Monterey Historics. Fantastic patina and missing a hubcap. That guy is my hero.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Send them in! I’m sure everyone would appreciate getting to see those.

    • That Guy

      This is probably the car I mentioned above. It lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is truly amazing to see in person.

  15. Leo

    Beautiful car!! Dont lnow much about tge dealer except for hes not liked in a lot of car forums and as such dont know how he stays in buisness.. I prefer to keep my ears and eyes open and track down my cars from the owners. Cars are still out there tucked away in a garage much like my Austin Healey BJ8. One owner from new! Not in peefect shape but solid beyind belif. Love it :)

    • paul

      The dealers are for those with no clue, me I would always buy from a private party. The thing about the dealers is they clean everything up, for me, the dirt tells all!

      • Horse Radish

        ….exactly, …I never did buy from a dealer and never will.
        If a dealer is offering a car for $ xxx then I know he paid half of that.. , doubling his money just to shine it up and cover the flaws….??

  16. Leo

    Friggin iphone.. Sorry about the spelling guys..

  17. ian

    there was a 250 GTO advertised in London in the early 70’s’ for $10!

    • TVC15

      ian , that GTO was being sold by a guys wife who had run off with his mistress , he called his wife and told her to sell the car and send him half the money

  18. Mark E

    I’d LOVE to find it at a garage sale…if it was $2500 I could buy it and then MAYBE save up enough to properly restore it before I died! ^_^

  19. Jim-Bob

    I don’t really understand why most people would use a broker to sell a vintage car. Most of them consign the car to an auction and then pocket a portion of the proceeds. I think that a little research into values and which cars do the best at what auctions would net more money for the seller in the end.

    As to this car, if it isn’t rusty, the engine turns and all the original parts are there, there isn’t a whole hell of a lot that could be wrong with it that wouldn’t make it an easy restoration. This means someone will buy it, put $100-200k in it, and flip it for a few hundred thousand dollar profit. Do I think these cars are worth a million bucks? No. I think the entire classic car market is overheated right now and will eventually go the way of housing and the dot coms. However, my opinion on this is irrelevant as, so long as hyperinflation doesn’t hit the US Dollar, I will never have a million dollars to spend on a non-operable car.

    • Dolphin Member

      Sold for too much money? Yes and no.

      Yes: We could have bought one of these back when they were selling for $4K – $6K, and most of them would have had way better upholstery than this car. But that was a lot of money for a used sportscar back then, especially one that had fuel injection that few of us ever saw before, let alone understood, and which would have to go back to the dealer for tuning/fixing. And then there were those pricey parts that had to come from Germany. So we didn’t.

      No: This car is very cheap compared to the exotic Italian makes, which hold the top 10 or so spots for highest prices ever paid for a road car. It will only go up in value from here. And if the body is as good as it looks to be, and if the mechanicals are good, and if it mainly needs cosmetics, then in a couple of years it will have been a very good buy.

      And it will probably just keep on appreciating from there. Look at the graph of 300SL values that Jesse included in the listing above. The curves are generally up except for the period between August 2008 to about December 2009. That coincides with the financial meltdown, that gift that Wall St and Canary Wharf gave the world. 300SL values for a #1 car went from about $680K in August 2008 to a low of about $600K in April 2009. That’s a loss of about 12%. During the financial meltdown the S&P500 lost almost 40% during the same period. This is why investors have noticed these cars and will pay outrageous prices. They know they will just keep appreciating, and will lose less value than stocks during a recession, and will recover quickly. The same thing happened during 1989-90.

      Don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger, and the message is that, for the money men, many of the best collector cars have become a commodity, unfortunatey.

      • paul

        Agreed & unlike the Speedster these are worthy of the high price & continued escalation of their value…. Amazing but not surprising that this car was bought with so few pics but someone could have made the trip to see it up close.

  20. bowtiecarguy

    And it’s. . . . SOLD!!!


    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      See, there was someone out there who wanted it! Wonder if it was anyone here…

  21. Bill J

    I did my due diligence. Way too much money. Not the kind of classic I’d want anyway. I want something I can drive whenever I want and not be controlled by the weather forecast!

  22. That Guy

    I don’t have any personal experience with this dealer and don’t know anybody who does, so I can’t really comment about him. But I have bought cars from classic car dealers on two occasions and the experiences were overwhelmingly positive. I may have paid 10% more than I would have if I bought from a private party, but the dealers’ expertise and ability to smooth the process was well worth the small premium, I think. So I disagree that buying from dealers is necessarily a waste of time and money.

    • paul

      Yes you are right their are reputable dealers out there. These folks often have a wide network that the average person doesn’t have so they can & do, pull in some great cars & if you don’t mind paying something extra because they are after all in business, then by all means go for it. I guess my comment above was harsh.

  23. Stefan

    All this talk about dealers is a little unfair I think. We generally work for people who want to buy or sell a vehicle and have a representative handle it for them. I’m not really a dealer, more a broker. I’ve worked with the same clients for years and have a fantastic reputation. I further work with a network of brokers who have proven honest over the years. I’m aware that there are some shocking crooks in this business, as there are in any. Perhaps it can be slightly worse when it comes to cars. I just wanted to throw my hat in the ring and clear things up a bit. There are good hard working honest brokers out there. It’s a shame that dishonest brokers tar us all with the same brush.

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