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Auktion: The Audrain Concours Auction
wurde versteigert am: 1. Oktober 2021
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1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe

Schätzpreis: 1.300.000 $ - 1.600.000 $
Zuschlagspreis:  1.556.000 $
Los-Nr. 22, Aufrufe: 18

2,996cc SOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine Bosch Mechanical Fuel Injection 240bhp at 6,100rpm 4-Speed Manual Transmission 4-Wheel Independent Suspension 4-Wheel Drum Brakes *Factory fitted Rudge-Wheel example *Matching numbers example retaining original engine and coachwork *Desirable early Gullwing in iconic livery for model *Properly maintained and serviced by noted experts including Paul Russell and Lloyd Buck THE MERCEDES-BENZ 300SL GULLWING Instantly recognizable not only by automobile buffs, but virtually anyone on the planet, the immortal 300SL (for Sports Leicht) Gullwing coupe arguably competes for the title of "Greatest Sports Car of the 1950s," and surely qualifies for anyone's Top 10 list of the greatest automobiles of all time. A period favorite of wealthy celebrities, it ranks today among the most valued and collectable sports cars ever produced. The 300SL coupe was the direct descendant of Mercedes Benz' Le Mans W194 competition coupe, conceived in 1952 and aimed at wresting the World Sportscar Championship from Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, and Lancia, which were dominating post-war endurance racing. Mercedes-Benz historian W. Robert Nitzke writes that company management wanted to jump back into Grand Prix racing, where it had been so successful before the war, but lacked the time necessary to design, build, and develop a new single-seater for the 1954 season. Instead, Chief Engineer Fritz Nallinger suggested that the company build a new two-seat sports car utilizing the strong in-line SOHC six-cylinder engine from its luxurious 300 series. Because the engine and drivetrain were relatively heavy, the chassis would have to be extremely light. Test Department manager Rudolf Uhlenhaut, having some experience with tubular chassis design, sat down with construction engineer Joseph Müller and laid out an extremely light (154 pounds) and rigid lattice-work chassis capable of accommodating the big in-line six. One major problem soon presented itself: there was no way to mount conventional doors without compromising the rigidity of the chassis. The solution was to raise the entry so that the doors cut into the roof, but that meant hinging them from the top, thus giving birth to this car's timeless signature design feature. The 300SL's first racing trial was the 1952 Mille Miglia, where Kling finished second to Giovanni Bracco's open Ferrari, while Rudolf Caracciola was fourth, the two Gullwings being split by a Lancia. The third Coupe had gone off the road early in the grueling contest. Next came the Grand Prix of Berne, where a quartet of 300SLs took the start and swept the top three positions, Caracciola having crashed in what would prove to be his last race. Then came Le Mans, where Uhlenhaut struck fear into the competition by bringing an SL coupe fitted with a hand-operated air brake mounted on the roof. While that particular car was not raced, Mercedes would tuck the idea in its pocket for future use. After the grueling 24-hour epic, a pair of 300SLs had finished in the top two positions...and were then driven back to the factory! New York imported auto entrepreneur Max Hoffman, credited with urging Mercedes Benz to build a production sports car based on the 300SL racing car. The 300SL Gullwing, in final form, was unveiled at the New York International Motor Sports Show in early February 1954, and actual production began that fall. The new coupe was slightly changed in appearance from the racing coupes and featured Bosch direct fuel injection. This prompted the factory to claim it was, "the fastest German production sports car." Between 1954 and 1957, a total of 1,400 Gullwings were delivered to eager purchasers. THE MOTORCAR OFFERED Delivered new to Mercedes-Benz of Salzburg, Austria on March 3rd of 1955, this early production Gullwing was equipped with factory Rudge wheels, a feature that has been one of the most sought-after options available on Gullwings since their inception. As a result of its original European delivery,

Informationen zur Auktion
Auktionshaus: Bonhams London
Titel: The Audrain Concours Auction
Auktionsdatum: 01.10.2021
Adresse: Bonhams London
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