Mercedes-Benz W198 300 SL Roadster

  • Original color combination
  • Extensive documentation
  • Freshly serviced incl. new MOT
Year:1960
Paintwork:158 Whitegrey
Interior:1079 Leather red
Gearing Type:Manual
Mileage:78.750 KM
Power:215 HP
Fuel*:Petrol
Price:995.000,- € (TAX paid)

* Fuel consumption: (DIN 70030) 17,3 L Super determined at 3/4 of maximum speed, maximum of 110 km / h below surcharge of 10% (factory specification)

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The Mercedes-Benz W198 300 SL Roadster

No other sports car has an aura like the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, no one detail of automotive history has such high memorability like the gullwing doors of the coupé. Technically, the six cylinder’s direct fuel-injection is a world first in the four-stroke engine. The backbone of the 300 SL is a particularly torsion-resistant lattice tube frame taken from the 1952 racing car. The curves of the bodywork, unmistakably designed by chief stylist Friedrich Geiger, flourish above it. From the 1930s he made a name for himself as a Mercedes designer of dream cars. The 300 SL’s recipe for success is a harmonious blend of rough racing character and solid serial construction with a dash of luxury and avant-garde. The three-litre engine with dry sump lubrication, tilted 45 degrees to the left to the side, is located under the bonnet with its two striking “power dome” curves. The suspended valves are controlled by a camshaft driven by a duplex chain. With the sports camshaft, a frequently ordered option, the in-line engine delivers 215 hp. In the basic version it delivers just 190 hp. There is no optional gearbox: the 300 SL only comes with a four-speed manual transmission. The standard version of the 300 SL reached a top speed of 228 km/h. The sports car completed the sprint from nought to 100 km/h in 9.3 seconds. Mercedes development engineers took the chassis from the racing sports car and the prototype from 1953: the independent wheel suspension with double wishbones at the front and a swing axle at the rear. A drum brake system was used for deceleration. Disc brakes, which were standard equipment at Jaguar as early as October 1954, were not available until March 1961 on the 300 SL Roadster. Despite the elaborately handcrafted lattice tube frame, which was welded together from thin steel tubes, the coupé was relatively heavy at 1,310 kilograms. The steel sheets used for the body, bumpers, brake booster, heating, insulation material and interior for the standard SL took their toll. By way of comparison, the racing sports car with its light alloy body weighed just 1,060 kilograms. To reduce the weight of the serial version, the engineers experimented with lightweight construction for the W198. The light alloy body, the shape of which corresponded to that of the conventional model, reduced the curb weight to 1,203 kilograms. But with just 29 units, most of them built in 1955, the "Alu-Coupé" remained a mini-series. In contrast, the vehicle with its plastic body made with glass fibre remained a unique specimen (chassis number 198 040-55 00028). For a long time, SL was assumed to be an abbreviation for "Sport Leicht" [Sport Light]. However, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the model, a document was discovered in the factory archive in which the abbreviation was explained to mean "Super Leicht" [Super light]. This is how the racing sports car was described on the invitation to the press presentation in 1952, which was signed in the name of Rudolf Uhlenhaut, then head of the testing department. This engineer is referred to as the "father of the 300 SL".

In 1957 the open 300 SL Roadster with the same drive technology as the Coupé followed. However, the chassis had been improved. The rear wheels were now guided by a single-joint low pivot swing axle, which greatly improved how the car held its own on the road. In addition, the track width was increased at the front and rear. The test editor of the auto motor und sport magazine wrote enthusiastically: “From the driving view point, the 300 SL Roadster is one of the most amazing cars ever built in series”. From March 1961, disc brakes became standard at the front and rear. Many 300 SL roadsters were later modified to have these brakes. The lattice tube frame was pulled down on both sides, making it much easier to enter via conventionally mounted doors. In addition, the striking front section was given a facelift: instead of the round headlights, the Roadster was given vertical, rectangular lighting units for headlights and indicators. The tank volume was reduced from 130 to 100 litres. The convertible top was a masterpiece by stylist Friedrich Geiger: at the time it was considered the easiest convertible top to be operated by hand. From September 1958, a steel hardtop (coupé roof) could be purchased as additional equipment for an extra charge of 1500 Marks. In the mid-1950s, the 300 SL was “a vehicle that once again gilded the name Mercedes-Benz”. The two-seater sports car thus followed a clear strategy from the very first development step: the 300 SL was to shape a new brand image and thus open up the important US market. The New York International Automobile Show was deliberately chosen as the venue for the world premiere on February 6, 1954. The W198 was initially built as a closed coupé like the racing sports car two years earlier (W194). Its gullwing doors were a well-staged extravaganza from being shown for the first time at the Mille Miglia in April 1952. But it was precisely these doors that compromised comfort as a serial production sports car. It was only for the Roadster that the lattice tube frame made of thin steel tubes could be modified without limiting the torsion to enable conventional doors to be installed.

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster offered here was built in 1960 in the colour combination shown here and delivered to New York, USA, where it found its first owner. The car remained in his possession until 1974. In May of that year, Mr. Kanett from Evanston, Illinois purchased the car. He enjoyed his 300 SL Roadster until 2008 and used the vehicle regularly over the decades. The original maintenance history at our disposal gives detailed information about this. It can be seen that Mr. Kennett kept the car in a technically perfect condition until its sale in 2008. Due to an engine failure in spring 1996, a replacement engine was installed. In autumn 2009 the car was finally sold and imported to Germany. The German registration for its new owner, residing in Halle/Westphalia, took place on 1 July 2010. In the following years the 300 SL was used at numerous events. At the same time, the owner invested around €100,000 in the maintenance and optimisation of the roadster. The interior was extensively overhauled in November 2012. Among other things, the interior was repainted, the seats were saddled and the carpet renewed. Just four months later, in March 2013, the work was continued. In addition to various body work on the still almost completely original vehicle, including the wheel arches and convertible top enclosure, preparations were made to repaint the entire bodywork. The Roadster was then repainted in its original colour. At the same time, the gearbox was completely dismantled, tested and overhauled. The bearings, as well as the oil seals, gaskets and locking stones, were replaced. Furthermore the valves were adjusted, the ignition coil and the distributor were renewed. In addition, the alternator regulator was overhauled, as were the six injection nozzles. In September, the attachments were rechrome-plated. In May 2015 the engine was overhauled. In addition to the hollowing of the block, the pistons, cam chain, valves, piston rod and crankshaft bearings, valve springs and piston rings were renewed. The fact that a new cylinder-head gasket was also installed in one go is self-explanatory. The flywheel was also balanced. Finally, the newly assembled engine was fine-tuned. In order to complete the improvements, the main transmission shaft was last repaired in July 2015 and the injection pump settings optimised.

In October 2019, Mechatronik finally made the purchase. We hand over this beautiful 300 SL Roadster, newly serviced and with new TÜV certification [MOT], and with all original documents, which are very rarely to be found in this form today. For detailed questions please contact our sales staff at any time.