Market Finds: For Sale: The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing Race Car Of Your Dreams

For Sale: The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing Race Car Of Your Dreams

By Michael Banovsky
November 2, 2015

Photography Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

In 1966, an enthusiast finally bought his dream Mercedes-Benz: a 1955 300 SL “Gullwing”. Whether known at the time or not, he’d just acquired a vehicle once prepared by the Mercedes-Benz Sportabteilung, the company’s competition department. It was one of four Gullwings modified by the factory for racing, and was the first built. Not a bad buy.

Before the current owner’s father took possession, it was first sold from the competition department to a racing financier in France, who arranged for Sir Stirling Moss to use the car for the 1956 Tour de France road race, eventually finishing second overall. The car was campaigned during the next decade, though never returned a result to equal its first race entry with Moss behind the wheel.

Since 1966, it’s been owned by the same family, and was reanimated with a sympathetic restoration in 2011, ending four decades in storage. It’s now one of only two left, making this already-desirable “Gullwing” quite the rare bird, indeed.


  • Second overall at the 1956 Tour de France; driven by Sir Stirling Moss
  • Single-family ownership since 1966
  • Three-year “preservation restoration” to authentic TdF specifications completed in 2011
  • The first of four factory race-prepared W198 Gullwings
  • Special competition equipment, including desirable ‘NSL’ engine
  • Tested by the Mercedes-Benz competition department during the 1955 season

~240 horsepower, 2,996-cc SOHC inline six-cylinder competition engine with Bosch R3 mechanical fuel injection, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, modified rear swing-axle suspension with coil springs, and four-wheel ventilated drum brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5 in.

Vehicle information
Chassis no.: 198.040.5500640
Engine no.: 198.040.5500659
Body no.: 198.040.5500619

Auction house: RM Sotheby’s
Estimate: $5-7 million Usd.
Price realized: TBD; auction on December 10

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7 years ago

Just browsing an RM catalogue for 2000 Monterey auction –
1955 300SL black with black, cosmetic restoration, estimate $140 to $150,000. If only I hadn’t dropped my crystal ball …

KJ in Oz