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Car Tales: 300SL, The Sports Car of the Century!

‘Of all the vintage classic cars in existence, one that never fails to make me do a double-take is the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster, an utterly beautiful piece of automotive engineering. To me, it is the unicorn of classics, the Navy Seal of vintage motor-cars!
‘Unsurprisingly in 1999 the 300SL was voted ‘Sports Car Of The Century‘.

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‘The number of high status racing-drivers who were so seduced by the sensuous curves of the 300SL that they actually owned one must go some considerable way as an endorsement: Rob Walker, Juan Manuel Fangio, and Luigi Chinetti each drove a 300SL. And that’s not to mention some of the most revered taste-making cultural figures of the twentieth century – Pablo Picasso, arguably the greatest artist of his time, magazine publisher Hugh Hefner, and actors Sophia Loren, Clark Gable, Paul Newman and Tony Curtis. And let’s not forget such politicians and heads of state as Canadian premier Pierre Trudeau, the Shah of Iran, and King Abdullah II of Jordan.

‘Anyway, I have just bought one, which you can view on the Beverly Hills Car Club website. It is a beautiful and unrestored matching-numbers 1961 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster, which comes in fire engine red with a likely-original creme leather interior. It runs and drives and has 76,659 miles showing on the odometer.
300sl Roadster side panel
‘This is a one-owner car, and not just any owner but a meticulous surgeon, war veteran and pilot who loved the car, raced the car, and kept the original invoice. Therefore we know that the car was delivered to J.R.P Motorcars out of Bryn Mawr, PA in early 1963, serial number 300sl-002716. It was actually the owner’s second 300SL Roadster; he traded-in his 1957 300SL to upgrade to the new-and-improved 1961 model.
‘The car was driven until his death in 1994 and was even mentioned in his obituary, and then garaged by his widow until now. A beautiful one-family-owned, unmolested, original patina example like this is almost impossible to find anymore, as almost all available 300SLs have been restored.
‘Cosmetically, the car is in amazing condition with a very straight body and a finish that remains glossy. Patina adds to the attractive vintage presentation, but overall this is a well-maintained example without any prior restorations. The doors, hood, and trunk all open and shut smoothly. The emblems and lenses are in good condition, with light surface hazing on the chrome. The engine starts easily and settles to a smooth idle, and the gearbox engages easily with smooth shifting and pleasant action.
‘The suspension provides easy handling with the 300SL’s surprisingly light steering, even at slow speeds. Underside components and the chassis are all in good condition. All the lights, the horn, and even the electric antenna work too. The car comes with a copy of the car’s build sheet and the original dealer invoice.
‘This really is an astonishing find. Performance automobiles for public purchase and the “Gullwing” Mercedes were born. The Roadster 300SL was a direct development from the original ‘Gullwing’ Mercedes. The Roadster 300SL, was a ‘topless’ and technically better version of the original Gullwing model: it had increased horsepower, additional structural support, better handling, and better cabin airflow. And the Roadster 300SL was capable of amazing top speeds for its time: 125-150-plus mph.
‘Once it arrived from Pennsylvania, 2700 miles away, I saw that it was a virtually perfect example of a 300SL. I love unmolested originality. There was a thin layer of dust, so we gave it a bath with soap and water.
‘Then I took it for a spin down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and watched jaws dropping open.
‘Despite its ivory steering wheel not having been used for years, the car’s engine has such strength and power. And the condition of this one owner Mercedes-Benz 300SL is staggeringly good: all the instruments work and it fires up straightaway.
‘This excellent and original matching numbers 1961 300SL Roadster is ready for its next owner to enjoy the pleasure and prestige of not only owning a piece of history but driving a truly beautiful automobile!
-Alex Manos, Owner
Alex Manos Classic Car Buyer copy 3

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