Rudge Wheels: 1956 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing Survivor!

Well-documented, remarkable in its originality, and available for purchase, this 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL coupe should quicken the pulse of any enthusiast. Only an original-color paint job applied some years ago separates this car from true survivor status. The never-restored gullwing coupe comes to market here at gullwingmotorcars.com where they know a thing or two about these fabulous machines. Ring them up and $1,295,000 USD will seal the deal. Interestingly, the desirable Rudge Wheels mentioned are not shown in the listing.

While American manufacturers were debating how huge their fins would be on the upcoming 1957 models, Mercedes-Benz was selling the SL with a plenum intake manifold atop its gorgeous mechanically fuel-injected engine, the first offered in a passenger car. Decades later the plenum intake fed a host of electronically fuel-injected cars including my Mustang 5.0. With no computer, the SL relies on a deliciously engineered injector pump, levers, rods, and other mechanisms to make all the adjustments for load, temperature, and throttle input that we take for granted in modern cars. The 3.0L (183 cid) inline six-cylinder engine made 240 HP. To be fair, Chevrolet sold fuel-injected engines in 1957, making 283 HP from its 283 cid V8.

Mercedes-Benz built only 308 such cars in 1956, all coupe bodies with top-hinged “gull-wing” doors, according to Wikipedia.org. The lightweight body design came directly from Mercedes-Benz racing cars. The combination of lightweight, aerodynamics, and the brilliant engine rewarded drivers in suitable conditions with top speeds of over 140 MPH.

Hagerty calls the 300 SL “the Greatest car of the 1950s,” and this article includes beautiful pictures of a similar but fully-restored example. I’m no European survivor expert, but I wonder if delicately removing the topcoat might reveal worn but serviceable original paint. This lifelong California car comes to sale for the first time in 40 years and may be the only never-restored Rudge Wheel 300SL left. For seven figures I would have invested 10 minutes and some wheel dollies to give pictures of the front and sides of the car, but again, I’m not familiar with the rarified air of 1950s supercars. The buyer will no doubt investigate in person, writing off the travel expenses for tax purposes, of course. Do you remember the first time you saw a gullwing Mercedes?

Like This? Get Our Daily Email

Comments

  1. canadainmarkseh Member

    Not only would i NOT remove the repaint work,but id also restore the interior. why would you want to sit on those ratty old seat covers, however this car being way out of my price range i guess we wont have to worry about that.

    Like 13
  2. sparkster

    Back in 1971 while attending summer school in Santa Cruz , California a woman pulled up to the donut shop a friend and I would hang out at right before school would start Middle aged woman pulls up in one of these and opens the drivers door and my jaw hit the ground. Wow that is so cool, I thought. She wasn’t a bad looking early 40’s woman in a short dress but the gull wing door did it for me more than she did. If only I made more money from my paper routes I could have bought one of these a little cheaper in 71′

    Like 18
    • Kevin McArdle

      She could have looked like Ernest Borgnine in a short dress, and I still would have said “WoW”.

      Like 17
      • Frank Sumatra

        Show of hands please- How many readers under 60 know who Ernest Borgnine is? Great reference for the “McHale’s Navy” crowd. Even “Fuji” would approve!

        Like 10
  3. Arby

    I was on the A8 going from Munich to Stuttgart in my rental Audi A4.
    Suddenly I saw coming up behind me in the left lane a red 300SL like this one.
    I pushed the A4 for all it had but the 300SL went by me like I was standing still.
    Try as I might I couldn’t begin to keep up with him. About 15 minutes later I spotted him in a between the lanes fuel station. Pretty incredible to see one at full tilt on an open Autobahn.

    Like 25
  4. Robert White

    I’m around 190lbs weight and around 5′ 11″ with my boots on. I’ve got a good look at the interior and cannot fathom where the original designers expect me to put my knees & legs if I were to sit in the driver’s seat for a test run?

    For a bloomin’ million plus USD I would also expect reasonable seat upholstery without gaping tears and half century old likens attached to the original leather. And that filthy dirty sill member could use some polishing or paint before sale IMHO.

    And that storage space looks damp by the looks of the cement the car is sitting on. No ventilation for a million dollar car.

    If I were in the market I would really lowball the price given the antique car market deflation of late. Even Zero Hedge has been looking at the downed antique car markets to evidence financial implosion across markets.

    Bob

    Like 8
    • Steve R

      I grew up about five miles from San Mateo, where this car was located. Humidity is not a problem, unless someone vented the drier is into the garage.

      Steve R

      Like 2
      • Frank Sumatra

        Hey! I went to CSM in 1976-1978 and met my wife-to-be on the library steps. Still together today!

        Like 2
    • Rodney - GSM

      “Low balling a 300SL” That is the best definition of a true optimist…

      Like 2
    • chrlsful

      “…If I were in the market I would really lowball….”
      that shows ur not, no?

      The part where it sez above: “…Mr Haggerty calls the 300 SL “the Greatest car of the 1950s…”, requires the million $ as an entry fee no matter the condition.

      I appreciate just seein it here and I am a ’66 Bronco owner. Can’t get much further away than that…

  5. Dusty Stalz

    No black plates? That’s a deal breaker for me I’m out lol.

    Like 6
    • Steve R

      I know you are joking, but they weren’t a bid deal when this car got its personalized plates, which weren’t available in black. Several friends dumped their black plates for personalized one when they first came out. You could get some really good ones back then. I still have a blue set for my old hanging on the wall of my garage, they read 71 SSRS. California also switched to white plates shortly after the introduction of personalized plates which made them less desirable.

      Steve R

      Like 4
      • chrlsful

        I don’t get the big thing w/the Black Cali plates. Can some1 tell me?

        Like 2
  6. Frank Sumatra

    I thought a C4 Corvette is hard to get in and out of. How can anyone possibly get in that car?

    Like 5
  7. Elanguy

    Interesting car and story, but overpriced by about $400k. It needs a complete restoration probably and will be worth the asking price after that $600k has been spent. Remember $1.295 million is full retail for a perfect one these days. Expect to lose money in doing it to your taste.

    Peter Kumar is a very smart guy, he knows what he is offering and what it’s worth. He will work with you I am pretty sure. It’s a New York thing.

    Like 8
    • nmexmatt

      these are hitting nearly $2,000,000 these days.

      • Elanguy

        I’ve not seen any prices that high.

  8. Ken Jennings

    Barn find, huh. Forgive me, but I don’t see any straw or manure in there. This really isn’t the kind of car I come here for. More of a Dodge dart kind of guy. (You meet the nicest people in a Dodge Dart)

    Like 11
    • Steve R

      Most of the cars featured on this site show neither straw nor manure in the background. Does that mean they shouldn’t be written up either?

      Steve R

      Like 18
      • Ken Jennings

        With all due respect, there are other places to see this kind of “car”.

        Like 4
      • Steve R

        Ken, a simple solution, if you don’t like a certain car, don’t click on it. Even though you may not like it, other will and do.

        Steve R

        Like 13
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        Right on Steve!!!!!

        Like 5
      • Ken Jennings

        @SteveR, but the mere fact that a car like this is here, takes away the staffs time and talents on other more deserving cars. Cars that regular fellas like me drove, not some prop in the “Look how cool I am!” show. There are other places to go so see those kinds of toys. When McDonalds strayed away from their core menu and started to add other things, that is when they started to lose out. Lessons learned by others the hard way is better then having to learn them yourself equally hard.

        Like 6
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        I’m glad most people don’t feel like Ken does.
        I love the variety here and have enjoyed it for many years, and hope to for many years to come.
        “Variety is the spice of life”
        “What’s in a name?”

        Like 5
      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

        We have featured exotic barn finds from the beginning and have no plans of stopping. With the number of cars we feature every day, there should always be something for everyone. Some of us enjoy looking at cars that we can only dream about.

        Like 6
    • Tom Parker

      I get more thumbs up in my 1963 Dodge Dart convertible than I ever got in my 1957 black speedster or 1965 SC Cab. The Porsche’s are unfortunately long gone due to the last economic implosion. The Dart is in the shop now getting ready for a summer of fun. My oldest daughter and her husband to be are using it next weekend for their wedding day and honeymoon getaway car.

      Like 2
      • Ken Jennings

        Tom, that is so cool! Sounds like a lot of fun.

        Like 2
    • Robb Roberge

      …parked at the bowling alley on Mon. night.

    • Perry

      Just curious, why did you put the word “car” in quotation marks, as if to suggest it’s something else?

      Like 2
      • Ken Jennings

        Because the main intent of this “car” has never been to drive it, it was used for many other reasons. It was driven, but that was never its sole purpose at all.

        Like 2
      • chrlsful

        it came onto the hwy AFTER it was on the race way. So in a way that’s right. Most cars get it that way. If a car wins at the track many of the purchasers want that car from the show room.

    • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

      I don’t think McDonalds is hurting by straying from their “core menu.” There are only so many combinations of burger/fries/soda you can offer before you have to seek alternatives. Even during these times of pandemic, McDonalds has lines wrapped around the block where I live.

      Like 2
  9. Bob S

    In 1957, I was a car crazy kid, growing up in a small town in the interior of BC, and the Mercedes road show came to town. I believe their plan was, to sell a MOOG firetruck to the fire department, but part of the presentation included a 300SL. I couldn’t believe my good luck, when I was allowed to sit behind the wheel. Just the idea of a steering wheel that folded out of the way to allow easier access, was just one of the many impressive features of the car. Sitting behind the wheel of that car, made me a Mercedes lover, and I went on to eventually own a 190SL.
    In 1967, I had an opportunity to buy a 1958 300SL, in reasonable condition but in primer, for $4,000, but I was about to get married and my wife to be did not like the 300SL as much as she wanted me to keep the 64 Corvette coupe.
    I knew I was missing out on a super deal, but I did not have the resources to own a 3rd car, particularly one that I would have to store appropriately. It was only a few years later, when the prices of 300SLs started to really appreciate.
    I also remember a 300SL that used to race at Westwood, a road course near Vancouver, and he would typically have the lead all to himself, leaving all the Corvettes and others back in the dust. The sound of that thing winding out was awe inspiring.
    Bob

    Like 10
  10. GuernseyPagoda Member

    Love, love ,love these, but $1.3 is steep for anyone’s check book. Educate me, as Peter lists the car as being titled under the cars VIN number. What does that mean/do/prove, etc?

    Like 1
  11. GuernseyPagoda Member

    Should say car is titled under its engine number. My fault. Still don’t know what that means. Thanks.

    Like 1
  12. skorzeny

    My love for German cars started in the 80’s, so I didn’t really think about cars like this. And I was a BMW guy, but appreciated the M-B’s. I am also a student of WWII and to think that this came out of a country that we bombed (no always accurately) the sh*t out of is impressive. I would love to have a chance to drive this, I think it would be spectacular. My dad had an an injected ’59 vette, and I would love to drive that too, would be a tough choice…
    (Frank, I could get in it…)

    Like 2
    • Francisco

      Didn’t you also have an interest in the DFS 230?

  13. Beyfon

    I certainly remember the last time, I have a neighbor who has a silver Gullwing sitting in his garage and he is nice enough to keep the garage door open from time to time so I get to see it when I drive by!

    It makes my day every time it happens!

    Like 3
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Don’t tell Kumar about the location or he’ll be all over it!

  14. Steve Bush Member

    I’d think he’d provide more than 7 pics when he’s asking $1.3m but like Todd I guess I don’t know much about selling these cars. The prospective buyer will likely be flying in on their company jet. Did get up close to one of these at a local show several years ago.

    • Steve R

      I’m sure the dealer that’s selling it has more than those 7 pictures available.

      Steve R

  15. Ronny Martinsson

    First time that I saw a 300 SL was in 1965. It was in a supermarket parking lot in Stockholm Sweden. It was winter and about 12 in of dirty snow on the ground. The car was dirty but looked fabulous in silver color.

  16. Pa Tina

    “Peter” is just another term for “Dick”

    Like 3
  17. ACCauctions

    wow what a sweet find!

  18. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    If money was no object (can only think of a few people where this is the case) I would send this off to Hemmels for a full restoration. By then, it would be priced about the same as a small island and totally useless as a driver. With the number of 300s and 300SL coming out of the woodwork I wouldn’t be surprised if Hemmels has scouts out looking to buy, or brokering purchases for the aforementioned Richie-riches.

    Like 1
  19. John

    Gullwing Motor Cars “ knows a thing or two” about separating people from their money, and prices everything, including total junk, at way more than any knowledgeable person would pay.
    They seem to follow PT Barnum in their business approach.

    Like 6
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      I don’t know about that. Not too many “fools” out there looking for 300SLs, or the rest of his inventory for that matter.

      The guy knows his market, and his prices are probably just a starting point. From what I’ve read about this place here by people who have dealt with them, you have to mostly watch out for the fabricated car history stories.

      Like 3
  20. Brian Ach

    Amazing cars. I would hope Chevy could make 40hp with an additional 100ci and 2 extra cylinders. The ’57 Corvette, while an interesting piece of nostalgia, wishes it was 1/4 of the car this is.

    everyone ripping on Gullwing motorcars–their business model hasn’t changed in years. They find unique cars (nowadays the cars find them) and they put them on the market, hoping to capitalize on margin by using their marketing know-how. Period. Nothing more nothing less.

    Like 3
  21. Hemidavey

    I was a kid working in a custom car shop in Keego Harbor Mi, a German engineer from Chrysler brought his in for a restoration/paint job (my boss did incredible paint) all I remember was this guy was traveling back a forth to Germany looking for correct brackets, bolts and such. I can only imagine the value of that car today especially considering the extreme detail. He was 6′ tall and watching him get in/out was interesting, Id rather watch the mid 40’s gal…

    Like 2
  22. Bob Mck Member

    Gee at that price I’ll take three. LOL..

  23. Paolo

    I looked at a silver one in 1979 for around $30,000 if I remember correctly. Very nice original although showing honest wear. I thought it was a good deal and I knew beyond a doubt that it would greatly appreciate but I declined. It was about more than the purchase price. I would have had to up my entire game and I didn’t even own a house with a garage at that time. What the hell would I have done with it? I like what Ken Howard (Von Dutch) did with Earl Bruce’s 1956. Flames!
    Bring sleds like this off the pedestals and back down to the pavement where they belong.
    http://kustomrama.com/wiki/Earl_Bruce%27s_Mercedes-Benz_300SL_Gullwing

    Like 1
    • John

      The 50s were a different time, and it’s only paint. Easily brought back to stock.

      Like 1
    • Ken Jennings

      30k might have bought you a nice little house in 1979. At least where I am from it would have. A brand new American car was only 5 or 6K. If you had the 30K to play with, you could have made better investments for the time period. Of course, IF you had bought the gull wing, and IF you had kept it 41 years, and IF, you would have been able to insure, maintain, and keep it from being damaged or stolen, then it would have been a far better return. But, how many of us would have kept it 40 years and then sell it? How many here have lamented about a cheap muscle car from those years and how much it would be worth today? yet, how many of us would have been able to not sell it somewhere halfway to today? Hindsight is 2020, but not a single one of us has it.

      Like 5
      • Paolo

        That’s it exactly. I bought the house and have zero regrets about the Mercedes. It would have been fun to own for a while but it would have become a burden as you described.

        The other, other thing is back then I felt that it was at least within my realm of possibilities to buy that car although it would have been a big stretch. Now? Forget it. Besides I can think of better things to do with the amount of money they want for this heap. Nice heap that it is.

        Like 3
  24. Vince H

    I am 5 11 and have never been in one. I have driven the newer gullwings MB. They are hard for me to get in and out of.

  25. Greg Moore

    I live in San Clemente CA and a gentlemen brings his black, unrestored, Gullwing to our Cars and Coffee occasionally. He lives up the road in Dana Point. I spoke with him one Saturday morning and he said it is his daily driver. It is truly a daily driver based on the condition…which I think is awesome!

    Like 3
    • Frank Sumatra

      Awesome, but not too tough having a car in great condition in your neck of the woods! :)

  26. Wellington

    These cars are 1M value cars now. Check recent premier international sites. To the fellow who claims they are 2M value vehicles; please contact me immediately if you will pay that price. Serial number 60 is in my garage awaiting your payment!

    Like 2
  27. Greg

    Late 50″s John Bond lived down the street and would cruise around in a variety of the day’s cars – one afternoon down the street come the Mercedes wings up to cool off the interior- us kids thought it was a crazy guy

  28. RivaDella

    LOL! That’s a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooog stretch😆

    Like 4
    • Ken Jennings

      Welllll, actually Cobra is dead on correct. I like cars a lot so I try to put it out of my mind, but if you read the war history of the major German car companies, they are appallingly bad. I am surprised Nuremberg didn’t take on some of those operating officers, but like everything else in this world, I am sure someone had dollar signs in his eyes and strings were pulled.

      Like 4
    • Cobra

      Thanks Ken. I’m not a fan of educating people, as it usually does not take. Porsche was also in prison for about 2 years for war crimes, until he was able to bribe his way out. I originally read it was an Italian automobile Builder that was doing the bribing, and then gave Porsche blank check to build him a car, and Porsche bankrupted him and then went on to well Porsche. But I’ve also read that it was his son that did the bribing

      Like 2
    • Ken Jennings

      Cobra, seems to me it was Ferry who did the under table cash handling to get Papa out. Ferry should have been in prison with Daddy too, but I think he slimmed his way to Austria at the end of the war to hide out. The memory of the thousands who died in his factories deserve better. But as I said, I am a car guy and try to not think too much about it. A lot of things about high end cars and the corruption that money does makes me nauseous, but again, I want to appreciate the engineering. Mitsubishi made Zeros during the war that hurt a lot of people, yet I do like the cars today.

      Like 2
  29. Ruede Mcgriff

    My dad told me about driving in Germany in the mid 50’s he had an Opel Rekord and was towing a Westfalia trailer- he saw some lights flashing in the rear mirror way back and was passed by 5 Gullwings, he assumed this was a club or factory exercise, I had a similar experience by they were Audi R8s that passed my A4 like I was standing still

  30. Sam Dibitonto

    I had two back in the 70’s and the cherry was a 56, #698 silver over blue..anyone know where it is.. I have all the manuals..

  31. Bob Mck Member

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think most of the BF gang relates to a million dollar car. Show me a Chevy, Ford or Cadillac. Those I can relate to. A little rough around the edges makes them even better.

    Like 3
    • Ken Jennings

      Glad I am not the only one with that idea.

      Like 3
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      You are both wrong.

      Like 3
      • Ken Jennings

        Maybe BF should do a poll on here to see just what the majority of viewers like. After all, we all have to see the advertising that is here, so don’t we all deserve the right to see more of what we want, lest we decide to go to another site and see THAT advertising?

        Like 4
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        What’s the BIG deal. You either like the content or don’t. Leave if you want, I’m sure BF will survive.

        It’s easy to skip the subject matter when it doesn’t appeal to you. I personally don’t like reading about early Mustangs, so I ALWAYS skip over them.

        Oh, and at current count, you’ve posted in this car that you hate a total of 10 times!

        Like 4
  32. Kinmont Willie

    I was 10 years old and we were attending a family gathering at the home of my mother’s cousin, who was a gentleman farmer living in Lancaster PA. A few years earlier he had won a contract with the state of PA to supply the gravel for the PA Turnpike. He had made a fortune and bought a new Silver 300 SL with a red leather interior. He had also bought his daughter a new red MB 190 convertible, which was nice, but even as a little kid I saw that the convertible was not in the same league as the Gullwing. I was always fascinated with cars, but I knew this car was special. He let my dad drive it and he took me for a ride through the countryside on those winding roads and it was like nothing I had ever experienced. I still remember feel of those beautiful leather seats and the sound of that fuel injected engine. I was hooked and that was the beginning of my love affair with performance cars.

    Like 1
  33. Cobra

    .Ken, yeah, probably Ferry, or his family, got him out. It’s not that they built weapons, it’s that they used slave labor, in unimaginable, horrible conditions. So as a car guy and human, I do think of this a lot, so really, F porcshe, and Mercedes and others. Henry ford, might was also have been complicit, in the Nazi war machine, and probably should have been hung as a traitor, but hey, money, all that matters.

    Like 1
  34. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Nothing wrong with my reading.
    “This really isn’t the kind of car I come here for” is what you said and what was responded to. If you started with “I feel cars like this distract the site operators attention away from more pedestrian cars that more people might like better” it may have garnered a different type of response.

    The rest of your statement is typical trolling and doesn’t deserve a response.

    At this point, we’ve said what we came to say. let’s just leave it at that.

    Like 4
    • Ken Jennings

      As demeaned by the arrogant drunk driver. Why are you not in prison yet? I thought there were no personal attacks on here.

      Like 2

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Don't post your car for sale in the comments. Click here to get it featured on the homepage instead.

*

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