Gooding & Co.takes 4 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL to the auction block in Scottsdale
Gooding & Co.
Scottsdale Fashion Square
4700 N. Scottsdale Road
Corner of N. Scottsdale Road and E. Highland Ave
1959 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL drum brake Roadster
According to existing Mercedes-Benz factory records, this 300 SL Roadster was constructed in fall 1958 – as a 1959 model – and originally finished in silver with red leather upholstery. Once completed, the 300 SL was delivered to Al Haddad Motors of Inselah, an official Mercedes-Benz dealership founded in the Kingdom of Bahrain in 1958 and still in operation today.
In the early 1960s, the 300 SL was imported to the US and sold to a resident of Santa Barbara, California. It is believed that the car remained in California until the 1990s, when it was exported to Japan. By 2000, Motomori Tanaka of Tokyo had acquired the Mercedes-Benz and it remained in his private collection for approximately 10 years before returning to Southern California.
Shortly after its arrival, the well-kept 300 SL Roadster was sold to the current owner, a San Diego-area collector with a passion for iconic sports cars of the 1950s and 1960s. Though the Mercedes-Benz was in very presentable condition at that time, it did not satisfy the high standards of its new owner and was soon scheduled for restoration.
In 2010, the consignor commissioned Brian Anderson’s Classic European in Vista, California, to perform a full body-off, show- quality restoration that would stand up to the most stringent concours standards. Having developed a successful working relationship with Classic European preparing competitive show cars, the consignor spared no expense on this project and went to great lengths to ensure that every aspect of the 300 SL received the utmost attention. A comprehensive file of documentation supporting the exacting nature of the work performed is included with the sale of the car.
Refinished in the tasteful color scheme of White (DB147G) with black leather upholstery and desirably outfitted with European headlights, a factory hardtop, an optional Nardi wood-rimmed steering wheel, a Becker Mexico radio, and custom-trimmed fitted luggage, this 300 SL has a marvelous period- correct appearance that is at once elegant, sporting, and understated. The accompanying tool kit, jack, owner’s manual, Becker radio instruction manual, spare parts list, first aid box, engine-bay work light, and factory sales brochure are important additions that further underscore the impressive attention to detail that has gone into this car’s exquisite presentation.
Since the restoration was completed in April 2012, the 300 SL has garnered significant accolades on the show circuit, testifying to the quality and accuracy of the work performed. During its debut showing, at the 2012 La Jolla Motor Car Classic, the 300 SL Roadster captured a First in Class award, defeating an impressive selection of entrants. From there, the car was displayed at the 2012 Gull Wing Group National Convention in Palm Springs, where it achieved an impressive Second Place in the highly competitive Show Roadster Division. The only other concours outing for this expertly restored 300 SL took place in August 2012 at the Quail Motorsports Gathering in Carmel Valley.
In the care of the current owner, the 300 SL has been driven approximately 100 miles and meticulously maintained in show-ready condition. Brilliantly restored, authentically detailed, and immaculate in every respect, this is a truly outstanding representative of the legendary 300 SL Roadster. A stately presence on any show field, it is sure to find further success at the most prestigious concours d’elegance as well as marque gatherings.
Though this 300 SL is sure to remain a sensational concours display for many years to come, it should not be forgotten that these Mercedes-Benz are true driver’s cars, eligible for the very best tours and rallies. The fuel- injected straight six delivers a seamless rush of acceleration accompanied by a mechanical symphony and the pure, visceral experience of open motoring. It is in high-speed touring that the 300 SL Roadster really comes alive, and it would make a fabulous choice for events such as the Colorado Grand and the Copperstate 1000, where, on long sweeping sections and challenging mountain passes, driver and passenger can enjoy vintage grand touring at its finest. EST: 1 M- 1.3M US$
1956 Mercdes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing
On April 16, 1957, the completed 300 SL was shipped to Los Angeles, and subsequently delivered to its first owner, William “Ike” Eichelkraut, a Northrop Grumman engineer then living in nearby Inglewood. After several years in his care, Mr. Eichelkraut sold the Gullwing to Daniel Jampol, a North Hollywood enthusiast who owned at least five 300 SLs during the early 1960s.
In 1965, Robert Robar of Van Nuys acquired the used 300 SL and, like many California- based Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts, became a member of the Gull Wing Group. After enjoying the 300 SL for the better part of a decade, Mr. Robar decided to retire the car to his home garage, though he continued to pay registration fees through 1983.
Recently discovered after 30 years in total seclusion, this highly original 300 SL is a most remarkable find.
Virtually untouched since its original delivery in 1957, the Gullwing possesses a fantastic time-warp appeal. According to the consignor, the vast majority of the patinated black paintwork is the original factory-applied finish, with a few minor areas of blending and touch-up evident. Similarly, the interior is factory original, from the cracked red leather upholstery to the distressed, hanging headliner. The engine bay retains nearly all of the important ancillary components and, most significantly, the original chassis and engine stampings – along with the factory data tags affixed to the firewall – appear clear and undisturbed. In the trunk, the original tool roll and side-window storage bag are present, as is an ancient Michelin X spare.
Attesting to the car’s long-term Los Angeles- area provenance are several charming details, such as the California Highway Patrol inspection sticker (with an expiration date of December 1975) as well as the original blue and yellow California license plate “G 300SL” with its Gull Wing Group accessory frame.
Given its rare factory color scheme and well- documented history, this matching-numbers Gullwing is a deserving candidate for either a high-point concours restoration or a sympathetic recommission. Whatever the future holds in store for this unique 300 SL, its current presentation is sure to appeal to those with a reverence for unrestored automobiles and it is virtually guaranteed to draw a receptive audience wherever it is seen.
This is a Mercedes-Benz with tremendous appeal to those with the most discriminating tastes. Significant 1950s sports cars in this condition do not come along very often, and with the passing years it is increasingly unlikely that very many wonderfully original 300 SLs will remain to be found.
For the collector who has been searching for an essentially untouched Gullwing that wears its history with pride, this is the chance of a lifetime. EST: 1.1 M – 1.4 M US$
1956 Gullwing – freshly restored
A three owners from new, this Gullwing has been carefully maintained and loved since the day it was delivered to a Toronto family. Remaining in this ownership from 1957 until 2006, it had covered a mere 56,000 miles at the time it was sold to its second caretaker. This enthusiast was thrilled with his purchase, which was still wearing its original finishes of red paint with green tartan cloth interior.
This 300 SL Gullwing was determined by its solid condition and history to be a perfect candidate for a thorough, top-quality restoration. An irreplaceable file of paperwork, dating back to 1957, documents its low mileage and maintenance from its earliest days. Its decades of respectful, sparing use and fastidious upkeep has preserved the Gullwing like few others.
In 2007, the Gullwing was brought to RM Auto Restorations shop in Ontario, Canada, for a complete restoration. The work involved the removal of the body from the tube-frame chassis and both were fully restored. Examination confirmed that the Mercedes-Benz’s body was straight and solid, save for some minor corrosion in the lower sections. Further, the engine was completely inspected and repaired as required and the suspension was overhauled.
New belly pans were made for the 300 SL, and all trim items were refinished. The original color scheme was changed to the dramatic black (DB 40) exterior with red leather expertly sewn and fitted into the cockpit. The restoration of the car’s innumerable small parts are chronicled by hundreds of photographs as is the final assembly. A series of images of the gleaming body being reinstalled on the restored chassis recalls the treasured factory photographs of the 300 SL assembly line. The spectacular results of the multi-thousand hour effort are immediately apparent upon inspection. This is without a doubt one of the most attractive, well-finished, and correct Gullwings in existence today.
This Mercedes-Benz had traveled only 150 miles before it passed into the hands of its third custodian in mid-2011. Since then, it has seen 1,000 miles pass, reaching a total of just over 57,000 miles from new. The consignor has shown the Gullwing in concours competition just once – the only time it has appeared since the completion of the restoration. That appearance, in a special class of 300 SL Gullwings and Roadsters at the 2012 San Marino Concours d’Elegance in California resulted in a Best in Class prize among formidable competition.
During the current stewardship, the Gullwing has been expertly maintained by noted Mercedes-Benz 300 SL specialist Rene Luteraan in Van Nuys, California, who has thoroughly sorted the car post-restoration. Today the Mercedes-Benz remains outstanding in appearance – beautifully maintained and fastidiously cared for – showing little evidence of use. Its presentation is as well suited for leading concours events as it is for high-speed touring or rallying.
On a recent extended drive, the Gullwing was found to perform extremely well, exhibiting smooth power at all speeds, confident braking, and outstanding road manners. The legendary engineering of the 300 SL is most apparent in this finely prepared example. This 300 SL Gullwing will undoubtedly provide its next owner, just its fourth in 57 years, the rare opportunity to own one of the very best of the best. EST: 1.35 – 1.7 M US$
1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
This striking 1960 300 SL benefits from caring owners, high-quality maintenance by respected specialists, and an older restoration that continues to present well. Notable among its former owners is Ned Stone Tanen, the legendary Hollywood studio executive, who acquired the 300 SL in late 1987 at the pinnacle of his career. A driving force at MCA Records, which signed Neil Diamond, Elton John, and Olivia Newton-John, Mr. Tanen went on to head production of such hits as Jaws, The Deer Hunter, and Animal House at MCA’s Universal division. Mr. Tanen left Universal in the early 1980s to form Channel Productions, from which John Hughes’ “Brat Pack” classics Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club emanated. Going from strength to strength, Mr. Tanen became president of Paramount’s movie division in 1985 and under him, yet another succession of hits followed including Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Fatal Attraction, and Children of a Lesser God.
Mr. Tanen clearly enjoyed his SL and under him, it was carefully maintained. In 1995, Hjeltness Restoration of Escondido, California, refinished the exterior paint and repaired both the fuel- level gauge and heater. In 2007, the respected European-car specialists at West Los Angeles’ Sehmi Motors replaced the trunk and tonneau- cover seals, repaired the radio and clock, re-chromed the bumpers, tuned the engine, repaired the fuel pump, and replaced the tie rods. Next in 2008, Van Nuys Sports Cars of Sherman Oaks cleaned the fuel injectors, reconditioned the intake manifold, and replaced the water pump.
After Mr. Tanen’s passing in 2009, his remarkable automobile collection was gradually sold by his estate and the 300 SL, along with a Shelby 289 Cobra and Ferrari 275 GTB, were purchased by a highly selective California collector. The 300 SL was maintained for him in “ready-to-go” status by Jack Bianchi, the noted Santa Barbara-area sports car mechanic, who fitted a correct and hard-to-find white factory steering wheel to replace the Nardi wheel that was in place under Mr. Tanen. The 300 SL was acquired by the consignor in August 2012 and retains its original manuals and warranty cards, including the original tire warranty, plus a complete tool kit. The radio is the preferred Becker Le Mans unit.
A matching-numbers example of one of the most desirable and respected sporting machines ever conceived, this 1960 300 SL clearly continues to benefit from excellent care and maintenance, representing a strong and highly enjoyable touring and event car. With timeless, instantly recognizable styling, and race-bred technical specifications, it will continue to thrill its next owner and take pride of place in the finest of collections. EST:800,000 US$ – 1,000,000 US$