Rare Replica: Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Body

Obviously, there are certain vehicles that will forever be out of reach for the average car collector. Exclusivity when new almost guarantees a car will become unobtainable later on, which then forces enthusiasts to come up with a Plan B – usually, this involves building a replica. Ferrari fanatics have been doing it with the Daytona for years, but little did I know the iconic Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing” had also been re-created as a much more affordable copy. This unfinished example listed here on Facebook Marketplace looks like a decently accurate replica, especially from the proportions standpoint. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Dave L. for the find.

The backstory behind why more replicas of the iconic Gullwing don’t exist is fascinating. Apparently, Mercedes-Benz is fairly aggressive about preventing copies of its legendary sports car from ever being made, even going so far as to destroy, panel by panel, replicas that the company has seized. This is an entirely different level of protecting your brand, as most companies wouldn’t be worried about a rogue enthusiast building an (obvious) replica of a model long out of production. Motor Biscuit provides an overview of the risks involved in building your own 300SL, which makes the history of this project even more intriguing.

The seller notes the body is made out of fiberglass, and that the mold was created using an actual 300SL as a guide. As the above article points out, one of the few 300SL replicas made was anything but a cheap project, but given the cost of the real deal, “cheap” becomes relative. The glass isn’t exactly something you can raid a junked Corvair for, not to mention the various lenses, grills, and chrome trim. To fully finish one of these replicas is likely to involve close to six figures of investment, but when driver-quality and better 300SLs are trading for just under $1 million and going up from there for world-class examples, a few hundred thousand likely feels like a bargain.

This photo does show the replica 300SL with an engine, but you’re not getting one if you buy this unfinished project. The seller doesn’t even mention what he was running for a drivetrain, but I’d love to know. Several additional pieces are available for an additional cost, including the glass, badges, dashboard, chrome trim, headlight bezels, and more. The seller is explicit that the listing is for the body only, which makes me suspect you’re not getting the rolling chassis for the $36,000 asking price, either. As the article above points out, there are a few different options for a chassis, so all hope is not lost if it’s not included. Would you spend close to $40K for the bare bones of a 300SL replica?

WANT ADS

WANTED 1969 Ford Mustang Wanted 1969 Big block mustang, any condition considered Contact

WANTED 1966 Pontiac Grand Prix Rust free vehicle. Interior and motor/transmission not important. Need good sheetmetal Contact

WANTED 1959 Volkswagen Beetle Left & right tail light assemblies complete only. Contact

WANTED 70 to 73 Dodge cuda or challenger looking for a driver , small fixer upper if required Contact

WANTED 1973 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400 my wife’s first car, red with red interior would be ideal, any locale Contact

Submit Your Want Ad

Comments

  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    If I’m understanding this correctly, you’re buying a fiberglass replica body with no interior, drivetrain or even a frame to roll it on and potentially losing it all without any sort of compensation when Daimler AG tells you it’s not yours to own, then tows it away to crush it..
    Can’t say I see the attraction of owning something like that.

    Like 24
    • Solosolo Member

      I think that MB have already approached him so he figures that as MB can only make a claim to the body design he will remove all of the mechanicals before that can happen. If he manages to sell the kit for $36k in the meantime then it becomes the new owners problem. I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole! Run, run, run. KenTilly UK

      Like 6
      • Alan Hoyte

        Is this the KT ex Durban, South Africa?
        Alan Hoyte.

  2. Bultaco

    The engine in the pic looks like an M-B M110, a rattly, DOHC 2.8 liter inline six that made around 180 hp depending on the version.

    Like 3
    • PoPPaPork

      Damn :(
      I was hoping for the drivetrain to be from the 300D(iesel).
      Confuse the onlookers with engine note on a car show!

  3. DanaPointJohn

    Check out this 300SL Gullwing replica once owned and raced by Dave Wolin. It was a beast and fast!
    http://www.davewolin.com/mercedes.htm

    Like 3
    • Jon

      Blocked by Norton as a dangerous page …

      Like 2
  4. Alan Brase

    Pretty sure that there is not guaranteed long term ownership with this. From what I understand, Daimler Benz is within their right to SEIZE it and destroy it. And they have done just that.
    I don’t know why they think it is a good policy.
    As the proliferation of Plastic Porsche Speedsters diminished the market for new Porsches? I’d guess, rather the opposite.
    Yes a neat engine would be the alloy block 300SE engine, basically the same as used in late 300SL roadsters. M189, maybe

    Like 3
    • Cobra Steve

      Alan, while a MB six would be tempting, it might be too tall. The original 300SL had the engine canted over significantly and utilized a dry sump oil system. Chrysler slant six would be the way to go–cannot imagine installing a V-6 or V-8–too tacky.

  5. William

    I recall in the late 1980s a replica of these, they came with a Chrysler slant six engine. The original ones from Mercedes also had a six that was slanted if I recall correctly. I remember reading a long magazine ad for one and the story in the ad has a guy pulling into a remote country filling station for “service” (what ever that meant.) The guy there says he can’t service something so exotic, but the car owner smiles, opens the hood, shows him a SS from a Dodge. The station attendant smiles back and says, “That I can service!” Does anyone else remeber that car or ad?

    Like 4
  6. Chris Webster

    Even as an unfinished replica , this looks better than the real thing with its ugly, bulging dog dish hubcaps. Ditch the clumsy fairings over the wheels while you’re at it

    Like 1
    • John Gates

      FYI – Those “clumsy fairings” distinctly improve the aerodynamics around the wheel openings, IIRC.

  7. Patrick S Patrick S Staff

    Kindig-It Design Resto-Mod:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBUqjHVUoSg

    Like 6
  8. Francisco

    Perfect car for the guy who wears a quartz Tag Heuer Monaco.

    Like 2
  9. rex m Member

    Kindig ought to buy it!

    Like 2
  10. Emilio

    I believe Daimler Ag or whatever they are called can only seize it and destroy it in Germany (or possibly the EU if they have harmonized in this) but last I heard the USA and Canada are sovereign countries with their own legal systems and a replica car that is not misrepresented to be an original is perfectly legal. In the US they have a law pending (don’t know why the EPA hasn’t put it into force) that allows a small builder to build up to 300 copies a year of a specific model and they don’t even have to be crash tested to be sold as new cars. Can anyone confirm?

    Like 3
    • Lowell Peterson

      DOT number is 1000/ year I was told by California

      Like 1
  11. Sam Dibitonto

    EMILIO is right on the money..

    Like 2
  12. Richard Graham

    I saw a 300SL Gull wing driving on Dirt roads in outback South Africa in 1995 I could not believe my eyes

    • Francisco

      Australia has its Outback. South Africa has its Bushveld.

      Like 1
  13. Lowell Peterson

    I know someone that bought one of these a few years back for $25k wifh a chevy in it and it was driveable usable.

  14. CJinSD

    Crushing replicars is the sort of behavior one might expect from a car company that would sabotage a young driver’s debut in their formula 1 car to protect the marketability of their globalist muppet world champion.

    Like 5
  15. Gerard Frederick

    One must be nearly braindead to buy this. but then it reminds on an old car business proverb:¨There´s an ass for every seat.¨

  16. wardww

    I am a lover of re-engineered restomods, real older sleepers that look stock but are as comfortable and well appointed as any new car today and can be a DD. Several companies like Beacham’s in NZ do this with MKII and e-type jags etc. You basically get a brand new modern Jaguar car that is built into an older shell.

    I see an opportunity to do this here. To actually create something like a Beacham jag but Merc. There are lots of modern Mercedes drivetrain choices. Leave the interior and dashboard as original as possible but discreetly blend in modern accessories and features, all from modern mercs. And then daily drive that baby like a bat out of hell. FWIW.

    • Emilio

      Did some more research and we can safely put the lie to the notion that Mercedes in North America can come and take your car away from you and crush it just because you copied a car design of theirs. You just can’t misrepresent it as an original to buyers. Replicas can sometimes be better than the original. If this works the following link will take you to some high quality replicas.

      https://www.hotcars.com/replicas-rare-sports-cars/

  17. ken tilly UK Member

    @Alan Hoyte. One and the same. Good to hear from you and hope you are well. Did you ever finish the Morgan you were building? Don’t know if we are allowed to give out e mail addresses here but if they do I’m at “antiquecarbrokers@yahoo.com”

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.