1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Sold For $1.9 Million
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.
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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.
Read our full review on the Mercedes 300SL Gullwing here.