1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing
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- Chassis no. 198.0405500457
- Engine no. 198.9805500508
- Body no. 198.0405500437
- Matching numbers
- DB 534G Fueurwehrrot paint
- Original gray leather interior
- Largely original condition throughout
- US Delivery
- Longtime California car
- Original owners manual
- Original concave star
- Original tools and bag
- Original belly pans
- Original jack and spare
This special order, factory equipped Rudge wheel Gullwing remains in charming, largely original condition as a longtime California car recently coming out of 40 years of private ownership. Presented today in its original color combination and retaining its matching numbers engine, this uber-desirable spec 300 SL coupe is primed for recommissioning to be used as-is or as the perfect candidate for full concours restoration.
300SL Gullwing History
As documented by the factory build sheet that accompanies the car, this 1955 Gullwing coupe was built as a special-order example destined for the US market, equipped with Rudge knock-off wheels and finished in DB534G Fueurwehrrot (red) with a gray leather interior.
According to the Gullwing Group Registry records, the first owner of this 300 SL was A.E. Knowles of Angwin, California, located in the beautiful wine country of Napa Valley. As the story goes, Mr. Knowles’ ownership was marked by a fateful day whilst crossing San Francisco’s famed Golden Gate Bridge in his Gullwing, when a maintenance crew working overhead accidentally dropped a bucket of bridge paint on the car as he neared the toll plaza. As a result of the mishap, the car was repainted on the City’s dime.
In 1976, chassis 5500457 joined the eclectic collection of David Lee Spurgeon of Danville, California. The following year, the Gullwing was sold to Jim Hammers of San Jose, California, joining an array of Mercedes-Benz’ already in the collection that included a 380 K, 600 Pullman, and a 300 SL Roadster.
On rare occassions, the 300 SL was in attendance at Gull Wing Group events held in Monterey, California, but otherwise it saw sparing use during its time in the Hammers collection. In 1979, chassis 5500457 was purchased by its most recent private owner, Wayne Stoller of San Mateo, California. Over the course of his ownership tenure, Mr. Stoller dutifully maintained and preserved his prized Gullwing in largely unrestored condition for the next 40 years. Over those four decades of ownership, the car made rare appearances at small automotive gatherings while remaining known only to a select group of friends and 300 SL historians.
Within the past several months, the Gullwing was serviced and has been started for the first time in many years. As testament to the robust nature of the W198 powerplant, this engine runs strong but will require tuning for regular road use and certainly the rest of the mechanicals on the car require recommissioning for regular use. Importantly, chassis 5500457 retains its original, matching-numbers engine, original date coded Rudge knock-off wheels as installed by the factory and remains in largely original condition with no signs of significant rust or accident. This Gullwing retains its original tool roll, jack, owner’s manual, several registrations from previous ownership tenures dating back decades and a charming original 1970s-era California blue plate that reads, “A 300 SL.”
Just out of 40 years of private ownership, this 300 SL Gullwing remains in usable, largely original condition with its grey leather interior still in place despite 65 years in its wake. With scant few of these ultra-desirable, factory equipped Rudge wheel 300 SL Gullwing’s remaining in unrestored condition in the world today, this longtime California example of Mercedes’ most prized design is a rare opportunity to own and enjoy a matching numbers Gullwing on the road as-is or as an exceptional candidate for concours restoration.