Made in limited numbers and featuring many technological innovations, 300 SL cars are now considered some of the most valuable vintage cars a collector can own. This 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadsters takes it up a notch as it is one of only 554 models produced that year and displays a range of rare, early production features. The iconic roadster was first introduced in 1957 at the Geneva Motor Show as a more refined version of its predecessor. The changes from the 300 SL were not merely aesthetic; the roadster provided a better mechanical performance thanks to the upgraded six-cylinder engine featuring a competition camshaft used in the racing Gullwings, and a superior rear suspension to reduce oversteering. When it was discovered in early 2000s in a barn, the car’s exterior and wheels were painted in gold and the engine was resting in the trunk.
The roadster was refurbished extensively by Classic European Restorations in Escondido, California, with the engine and transmission rebuilt, various parts sourced from HK Engineering in Germany, the interior reupholstered in Parchment leather which complemented the new blue paint, period-accurate wheel replacements, a period ivory Bakelite steering wheel, and reconditioned electrical systems and gauges. Completed in 2005, the restoration project won several awards, including Best of Show at the Gullwing National Convention in San Diego. But this Roadster’s journey was not over yet. In 2013, the car went through its final restoration stage, completed by a seasoned specialist in 300 SL cars, Mark Allin of Rare Drive in Kensington, New Hampshire. The stunning attention to detail guaranteed a class award at the inaugural 2013 Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance show. Now this rare and valuable 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster is listed on RM Sotheby’s, with an auction date set at 19-20 August 2016. The car comes with the original matching-numbers engine, detailed documentation that includes the heritage certificate issued by Mercedes-Benz Classic in Stuttgart in 2004 and a detailed factory data card. As it has a 1957 build date, the car is also one of the few models eligible for the Mille Miglia Storico or the California Mille. Images courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.