The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing was a breathtaking model in the 1950s. And it still displays that aura today. It was feather-like light, it was lightning-fast and those doors sprang out like gullwings, leaving onlookers in awe. Almost seven decades later, a model with an aluminum body sold for $ 5 million at Monterey Car Week, during an RM Sotheby’s auction.
The 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing is one of the 29 examples that got an aluminum body. It was ordered by Swiss industrialist and sports car enthusiast Rene Wasserman. Instead of having it delivered in his hometown, Basel, Wasserman went to Germany himself, in November. He took the car and drove it back home. He did not keep it for long and in early 1960, the 300 SL Gullwing was setting wheels on American soil. Its second owner was Jerome Seavey from Chicago, Illinois. John K. Scattergood III followed and the model went to Pennsylvania.
Also in Pennsylvania, it got in the hands of Keystone State politician and enthusiast Senator Theodore Newell Wood. A decade and a half and three more owners later, the 300 SL got into the hands of a German collector. He commissioned Kienle Automobiletechnik to fully restore it. It was a tough mission, since the aluminum body is not easy to deal with. They had to replace the parts that had suffered too much damage over the years. The KA experts were the ones who painted it in Silver Grey Metallic (DB 180) and turned the interior to its original color, with red leather.
The odometer only shows 1,620 miles (2,607 kilometers), presumably all of them after restoration.
The one who paid $5,010,000 to take it home is also getting numbers-matching chassis, engine, gearbox, front and rear axle, and steering box. It is still lightyears away from the record-breaking amount that the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe snatched this past spring.