A half-dozen of Mercedes-Benz's finest SL classics are all destined for Gooding & Company's Scottsdale sale next January – we've picked out the cream of the crop
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Our pick of the Mercedes bunch is the 1955 300 SL Gullwing, which is estimated to attract $1,100,000 - $1,400,000 (£860,000 - £1,095,000, €966,000 - €1,230,000). It’s rare to see Gullwings selling under the $1 million mark in recent years, and this preserved model is likely to be selling at the higher end of its estimate.
It was recently found in a Northern California garage, having been kept out of sight for years. First owned by Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan, the car has a Weissgrau finish and tan vinyl upholstery with red plaid fabric inserts. It certainly wasn’t a usual selection, and marked out von Karajan’s passion, especially when he added Rudge wheels to his order. These options add to its value, and its history can be guaranteed by its factory build record. This is the first time the car has appeared at public auction.
If gullwing doors aren’t your thing, then there’s two roadster versions of the famous car also in the sale. The older and cheaper of the two is a 1957 model, and has had three owners since 1963. The second owner paid for a four-year restoration project, delivered by marque expert Richard Restoration & Machine Werks.
It too has its original colors, with an Elfenbein Ivory finish and a green leather interior that spills onto the rear decking. It’s obviously a popular combination, as it won the People’s Choice Award at the September 2012 Mercedes-Benz Starfest National Concours d’Elegance. It’s covered 44,000 miles, and has a sale estimate of $900,000 - $1,200,000 (£703,000 - £937,000, €790,000 - €1,053,000).
Its sibling is one of the 210 built with the alloy-block engine and disc brakes, has covered less than 16,000 miles, and as a result is expected to attract $1,750,000 - $2,250,000 (£1,365,000 - £1,756,000, €1,536,000 - €1,975,000). The colour scheme isn’t as exotic as the other models, but still a classic with white paint and red leather.
Accompanying the 1963 car in the sale is a wood and metal Nardi steering wheel, some vintage luggage and a hardtop. Most 300 SL roadsters equipped with the alloy-block engine are stored in permanent collections, meaning the appearance of this car at auction is certainly a rarity.
There are two other 300 models selling: a restored dark red 1956 SC roadster, one of 53 built with a retracting flat top that fold into the coachwork, and a 1967 cabriolet version with a fuel-injected straight-six engine and hydraulic suspension.
To see some of these lots, visit Gooding & Company’s website, or pay $40 to visit the auctions for one day. $100 is required to see the auction catalogue and visiting rights to both days of the auction.