1961 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster
Chassis no. 198.042-10-002999
The Mercedes-Benz 300SL is a model which needs no introduction. The iconic design of the Gullwing coupe is among the greatest shapes in automotive history. Introduced in 1957, the Roadster was internally known as the W198 Series II. Roadsters, similar to the Gullwing they replaced, continued to be fitted with drum brakes until late 1961 where much improved disc brakes were introduced. Further model revision occurred in 1962 where production shifted to an alloy engine block, away from cast iron, as the casting tool became unusable due to wear. Such was the success of the 300SL model that the tooling became unusable due to production numbers!
This example is among the ultimate specification 300SL Roadsters with both disc brakes and cast iron block. Only 253 cars were produced with both before the alloy block was introduced. While the alloy engine may be slightly lighter in weight, any weight savings is offset with unreliability. Much like the BMW 507 which is also known for frequent alloy block engine replacements, the 300SL suffered the same fate. The alloy used routinely lead to corrosion around the cylinders resulting in many alloy engine cars necessitating engine replacements. Consequently a disc brake cast iron car is the specification which is most sought after.
Delivered new to John Beeler in Los Angeles, California, the car was then sold to Robert Clarke of Newport Beach, California in 1977 for a cost of approximately $5,000. Clarke would remain its caretaker for the next 39 years. Factory delivery documents confirm the unique color combination of triple black; one of only two such examples. Remarkably, throughout its history the car has remained entirely original having never been restored or repainted. Mercedes-Benz Expertise is on file confirming the cars originality.
Surely this example being the ultimate specification, with known history and documentation from new, fantastic original colors, and unrestored status makes this one of the best 300SL examples in the world.