This 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing hasn't turned a wheel since 1984 and requires a total rebuild. Dry stored for 34 years, would you pay $800k for it?
Coughing up $800,000 for any car takes courage, let alone a 62-year-old project. However, that’s the current bid on this 1956 Mercedes-Benz non-runner – in the form of a red 300SL Gullwing. The final price is anybody’s guess, as it’s still got five days to go.
What’s the reason for such an eye-watering amount? Without getting our anorak on, any 300SL Gullwing commands top dollar – and a ‘garage find’ example more so. For the collector, all this originality – blended with barn find provenance – creates an aura too seductive to ignore.
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One of an estimated 1400 Gullwing examples built between 1954 and 1957, this Benz (chassis 198.040-6500286) was purchased by the current owner’s foster father back in 1968, before being gifted to him some sixteen years later. That’s one hell of a gift but, for whatever reason, the iconic Mercedes was never driven under his ownership. We suspect it was in poor running order back in 1984.
Having covered less than 1000 miles since 1977, this 300 SL Gullwing hasn’t turned a wheel for 34 years, and neither has the engine. In fact, the ignition system hasn’t been fired up since Ronald Reagan was in power.
Having escaped salted roads and harsh summer rays for the best part of four decades, it's resulted in a 100% complete 300 SL Gullwing in time-warp condition. The definitive sportscar may not drive under its own power, but the mechanicals are far from molested.
What we can tell you is that a leak down test was performed in 2017, showing a 10-22% loss across all cylinders. Further inspection from 300SL specialist Albrecht Stachel revealed a fuel system in need of purging and perished coolant hoses. The fuel pump was then removed for cleaning and recalibration.
Now reading 83,000 miles on the odometer, the original 3.0-litre inline-six resides under the bonnet, mated to the factory-fitted four-speed manual gearbox. Finished in Feuerwehrrot over a black leather interior and fitted with a Becker Mexico radio, there’s also two cabin heaters, a tachometer and non-glare rearview mirror.
Now offered as a non-running project car on behalf of the current owner, the Mercedes comes with a Daimler-Benz built sheet, a recent condition report and partially-complete tool kit. It’s worth noting that the body panels aren’t free of imperfections or pitted paint, with jammed windows and age-related cracks in the brake lines.
The factory-fitted rubber floor mats are also missing, and every mechanical component will require a strip-down rebuild; but as a restoration project for the dissident elite, there is little to rival a barn find Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing. As you can see, it’s attracting a fair number of them already…
Get a closer look here.