1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster at Artcurial Sale

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster at Artcurial Sale

Automobiles sur les Champs 14 - Paris, France 4 November, 2018

Estimate 900,000 - 1,100,000 €
Extra-Community traffic title - Temporary import vehicle 
Chassis n ° 198.042.7500093 
Engine n ° 198.980.7500112 
Body n ° 198.042.7500019 

Royal provenance
"Matching numbers", original engine 
Exceptional state of preservation, same owner for 45 years 
Sold with original documentation 
One of the first 30 roadsters produced

This Mercedes 300 SL has had a very special past, having started its life in royal hands. The car was delivered on 27 June 1957, as recorded in the " Datenkarte ". It was carefully packed in a crate and transported by train to Antwerp from where it travelled by boat to Casablanca in Morocco. Collected by the Mercedes-Benz agent Joseph F. Weckerle, a renowned racing driver, it was then prepared for its final destination. The roadster had been ordered by none other than Crown Prince SAR Moulay Hassan, who became King Hassan II of Morocco in 1961, the " Commander of the Believers ". 

The 300SL specialist Eric Lemoine has confirmed that this is one of the first 30 roadsters built and therefore one of the oldest surviving examples of the model. It was ordered in white (ref. DB050G), with cream leather upholstery (ref. 1060). It had a Le Mans Becker radio, polished steel wheels with chrome rings and white wall tyres. The axle ratio was 1 : 3.89. The car was used on official plates for two years before being registered normally on 23 July 1959. 

Nearly 15 years later, in 1973, the car was bought by the current owner from a certain Mr Ancellin, the owner at that time. It had a moderate mileage at the time of 50 000 km, and was subsequently used sparingly. An amusing episode occurred in 1987. Several well-known drivers, including five-times F1 World Champion Juan-Manuel Fangio., were invited to an " international parade of old vehicles " organised in Tangiers. When he arrived at the airport, Fangio had the choice of several cars to take him to Tangiers, and amongst the Bugatti and Alfa Romeo, was our Mercedes 300SL. Turning to the organisers, he exclaimed : " I'm a Mercedes importer in Argentina, so it has to be the 300SL ! " And this is how our car came to be used for two days by one of the most famous and titled drivers in the world. 

This stunning 300 SL has not changed hands since 1973, and is presented in exceptionally well-preserved condition. The only cosmetic work carried out has been a re-spray (pre-1973) in its original colour, and a re-tint of the upholstery many years ago. The bodywork and the chrome have never been replaced or modified, and the leather on the seats dates from 1957. The dashboard is strictly original, with the exception of a water temperature gauge, added as a safety measure. The radio is still in place and the odometer had reached 71 286 km when we inspected the car. 

On the mechanical side, the engine turns but will require re-commissioning before the new owner can take to the road with confidence. It is the original engine with matching numbers. The car will be delivered with a spare set of headlamp lenses, and a fabulous collection of period documentation including the folder containing the logbook and various Mercedes brochures, such as the manual for the radio and a leaflet on the electric aerial. 

Thus, the new owner will have the choice of using the car in its stunningly original condition, or undertaking a full restoration. Either way, they will have in their hands a particularly desirable example of the Mercedes 300 SL roadster. This is one of the earliest examples, presented in exceptionally original condition, having not changed hands for 45 years. It also has a highly prestigious pedigree, having been owned by a prince and driven, if briefly, by a racing legend. 

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