Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Fuel Curve

Mercedes 300SL Roadster – The Race Inspired Sports car

The Mercedes 300SL Roadster you see before you is a stellar example of just how sexy these cars were. Considering their production began over sixty years ago in 1957 (and lasted just 7 years ending in 1963), it is safe to say they were way ahead of their time in performance and style. Designed and engineered by Rudolf Uhlenhaut, the catalyst for the car was Mercedes’ Grand Prix race cars of the early 50s. The roadster was a continuation of the legendary 300sl “Gullwing” coupe which was no longer produced after 1957. They were manufactured in Stuttgart.

Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Fuel Curve

Making these roadsters the pinnacle of collector cars, there were only 1,858 of them produced between 1957-1963. Mercedes never changed the exterior design of the roadster making it virtually impossible to identify their year model by pictures only. As a result, we cannot be exactly sure what model year this example is. But we know one thing – photographer Jeremy Cliff’s images of this red SL in the snow are some of the most beautiful pictures we have ever seen let alone published here on Fuel Curve.

Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Fuel CurveMercedes 300SL Roadster, Fuel Curve

Mechanically, there were small changes to the roadsters over the lifespan of the production run. The first and most obvious difference from the coupe to the roadster was the elimination of the gullwing doors to conventional side opening doors. Four wheel Dunlop disc brakes were added in 1961. In ’62, Mercedes added an all-aluminum engine.Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Fuel Curve

Handling was superior to anything on the road thanks to a well-engineered tube frame and for a time these SL roadsters were the fastest production car in the world with a 155mph top speed. The 300 SL featured a 3.0 litre overhead cam straight-6 with groundbreaking-for-the-time Bosch mechanical direct fuel injection.

 

Mercedes 300SL Roadster, Fuel Curve

Today, 300SL roadsters are often headliners at auctions worldwide. We dug pretty deep for the record sale price of a 300SL roadster. Here’s what we came up with. At the recent Bonham’s Scottsdale auction held in January of 2018, the first-ever 300SL roadster imported to America (in 1957) brought $1,512,500. Other recent auction results have them selling anywhere from $800k to 1.4 million. The ’57 model from Bonham’s was the highest sale price we could find.

 

Thanks to Jeremy Cliff for letting us bring these images to you faithful Fuelers!

Senior Editor, Digital Media

With three decades of automotive journalism under his belt, John Drummond serves as Senior Editor – Digital Media for Fuel Curve and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association where he has worked since 1990. Drummond got his start in motorsports reporting by making a fake press pass to gain starting line access. The ruse worked and he began covering auto races as far back as 1986 in Northern California, eventually getting his stories published worldwide. He has owned and driven everything from a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere to a ridiculously modded Subaru WRX as well as a string of Mercedes AMG’s, most of which had the warranties voided the day after leaving the dealership.

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