The Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing has an interesting history, as it was originally nothing more than another race car in the early 1950s. An American importer by the name of Max Hoffman pressured Mercedes to turn the car into a road-going coupe for the masses, and eventually – in 1954 – Mercedes did just that. 1,400 units were built between 1954 and 1957, with a large majority going straight to the U.S. market. Since then, the car has become desirable and collectible, with examples going for more than $1 million in some cases. A recent sale of an example from 1954 was just sold by RK Motors Charlotte for a total of $1.9 million, marking a three-year high for the 1954 model.

Joseph Carroll, the president of RK Collection, said, “The ’54 Gullwing brought this record price because of its pristine condition and flawless mechanics.” He continued to say, “This typifies the exceptional quality of the vehicles we make available to car collectors both here in the U.S., and throughout the world. This is underscored by the fact that this transaction signifies a three-year high for a ’54 Gullwing, establishing a new price-point in the collector car market.”

This specific example, as shown in the picture above, had a silver body with red interior. It still had its original belly pans, books, tools, and even the optional Nardi steering wheel. In the 61 years of its existence, the car had only been driven a total of 45,687 miles – less than 1,000 miles per year. It should be noted that this isn’t the highest sale of a ’54 in recent years. Back in 2012, Barrett Jackson Collector Car Auction sold one for $2.2 million. Regardless, someone bought themselves a fine example of Mercedes history – one that was almost all original.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

So what do I mean by “almost all original?” Well, the car sold back in 1956 to an owner that would hang on to it for 50 years. Back in the 1990s, that owner turned the car over to Rudi and Company, a known restorer of the 300 SL. While in the company’s possession, the body was repainted, while the interior leather and headliner were restored. The rest of the car – including drivetrain – is said to be original. Back in 1954, the 300 SL went for 29,000 marks, which was quite high back then – computing to the sum of $121,000 in U.S. currency at the time. At the selling price of $1.9 million, the car sold they year for more than ten times its original price. That in itself is pretty notable and goes to show just how valued a car like the 300 SL Gullwing really is.

Mercedes 300SL Gullwing

1957 - 1962 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing (W194)
- image 658626

Read our full review on the Mercedes 300SL Gullwing here.

Press Release

Marking its largest single-vehicle transaction in 2015, RK Motors Charlotte today announced the $1.9 million sale of a 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing.

In addition to setting a new company record for the year, the sale sets a new three-year high for a 1954 Gullwing, following a $2.2 million sale at the Barrett Jackson Collector Car Auction in 2012.

"The ’54 Gullwing brought this record price because of its pristine condition and flawless mechanics," explained Joseph Carroll, president of RK Collection, parent of RK Motors. "This typifies the exceptional quality of the vehicles we make available to car collectors both here in the U.S., and throughout the world. This is underscored by the fact that this transaction signifies a three-year high for a’54 Gullwing, establishing a new price-point in the collector car market."

The 300 SL Gullwing, which helped visionary importer Leopold Poldi Bentley establish and build momentum for the Mercedes brand among enthusiasts in Western Canada, paved the way for the establishment of Bentley’s Vancouver-based Mercedes-Benz Distributor West Ltd.

The stunning silver-on-red Gullwing was eventually sold in 1956, and remained in that owner’s possession for 50 years. In the early 1990’s care of the Gullwing was entrusted to noted 300 SL restorer Rudi Koniczek and his team at Rudi and Company in Vancouver. Since then, Rudi and Company have kept the car in exceptional, original running condition, have repainted the exterior and restored its interior leather and headliner.

With only 45,687 original miles on its odometer, the four-speed Gullwing was sold with its original belly pans, tools, books, and optional Nardi steering wheel.

"This record-setting sale demonstrates that RK Motors vehicle presentation and marketing attracts the right customer base. Our no-upfront-fee consignment program delivers results and we continue to be a great option for anyone interested in consigning their collector car," said RK Motors Director of Marketing Paul Tecci. "We consistently deliver a higher return than wholesale auctions. When you combine that fact with the personal service from our sales, acquisition and service teams it is clear why RK Motors Charlotte is a great alternative to auctions."

From muscle cars to exotics imports and historic race cars, RK Motors Charlotte offers hundreds of stunning collector cars. Current inventory is accessible at: http://www.rkmotorscharlotte.com/sales/inventory/active.

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