Yes, of course you want it: a pristine 1955 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing, quite simply one of the greatest cars of the second half of the last century. No, scratch that. One of the greatest cars of all time, period. You might impress potential passengers with the unexpected acrobatics of those doors, but you’ll buy it for the precision engineering, the pedigree, the imagination and - of course - the formidable speed that comes built in to this piece of automotive perfection. Forgive the hyperbole if you will: the Mercedes 300SL Gullwing really is that good.


If this car is remarkable now, imagine the dropped jaws when the Mercedes 300SL Gullwing was unveiled in 1954 at the International Motor Sports Show in New York. This was a race car made ready for the road, the brainchild of Mercedes-Benz’s American importer Maximilian Hoffman. He persuaded the company’s usually conservative management to convert their highly successful Mercedes 300SL racer into a highly desirable daily driver. Wide sills meant conventional doors weren’t possible. Those top-hinged entry points were the solution and New York jaws dropped further still as the doors rose upwards at that launch motor show.

Aficionados obsessed on the engineering highlights. The Mercedes 300SL Gullwing was the first four-stroke engined road car to have direct fuel injection, commonplace on every hatchback today. Then there was the performance: 161 mph top speed and 0 - 60 mph in 8.5 seconds made it the fastest production car of its day. The 215 bhp 3.0-litre straight-six engine meant that, even as it was built for the road, the Mercedes 300SL Gullwing excelled in competition, winning the gruelling Carrera Panamericana in Mexico for instance.

You’ll have noticed by now that this example is restored to racing specification, without the bumpers, adding disc brakes and a side exhaust to enhance power. It was German specialists HK Engineering who undertook the meticulous nut and bolt rebuild of the Mercedes 300SL Gullwing, including the period correct interior featuring plaid cloth seats and fitted luggage for your Monte Carlo Casino dinner suit.

Of course, every serious collector’s garage needs a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing. The Gullwing itself needs - demands - to be driven, often and fast, preferably across continents. That’s what it was designed for almost 70 years ago and what it deserves now. This one is peak desirable and is being sold privately so we'll leave you to make the discreet inquiry on price. Possibly do this while sitting down: while you could have bought one at launch for £5,300, recent auction results suggest that today you’ll need to raid around £1,250,000 from the piggy bank to make the Mercedes 300SL Gullwing yours. See you on the autobahn.

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