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1955 Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing

Matching Numbers Example with Rudge Wheels and Luggage. Few Miles Since Comprehensive Restoration.

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VIN 300SL/198.040-5500354
Exterior Color Silver
Interior Color Red Leather
Mileage 7782 Miles TMU
Engine 3.0 Litre 6-Cylinder no. 198.980.5500331
Transmission 4-Speed
Status Sold
Stock FJ2002


1955 Mercedes Benz
300SL "Gullwing"
Chassis No. 300SL/198.040-5500354

Engine No. 198.980.5500331

Exterior Paint: DB180 Silver Metallic

Interior color: Red Leather

Commission No. 668 031

Body No. 198.040.5500340

Gearbox No. 5500377

Rear Axle No. 5500412

Final Drive Ratio 3.64:1

Left Front Axle No. 5500335

Right Front Axle No. 5500335

Steering box No. 5500372

Completed May 31st, 1955
Shipped June 2nd, 1955
Shipping Method Ocean Vessel, Port of Los Angeles, California, USA

Invoiced To: Mercedes Benz Distributors Incorporated, North America. Selling Agent Mercedes Benz, Los Angeles 

The Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing is one of only a few iconic vehicles that has sustained cultural, artistic, and performance importance for over six decades. Originally released in 1954 with production culminating in 1957, 1,400 cars were produced and delivered to a worldwide audience eager to own one of the finest road-going sports cars ever assembled for public use. The automotive press heralded the 300SL as a triumph of engineering and design. Delivered with production fuel-injection (first of it’s kind), and achieving the world's fastest top speed, the 300 SL (S-Sport, L-Light) confirmed Max Hoffman’s challenge to Mercedes Benz engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut - Build a Gran-Prix, car tailored for road use. The 300 SL would further contribute to the legacy of racing achievements while simultaneously spawning a new age of ultra-performance cars.

This particular 300SL Gullwing is the 332nd of 855 built in 1955. 5500354 was completed under Special Order “Kommission” Order No. 668 031 at the request of Mercedes Benz Distributors, Inc for delivery to their Los Angles, California Mercedes agent. The order specified the following features to be assembled at the factory:

USA/North American Market model with silver-metallic exterior paint and blue plaid cloth interior

Fitted Luggage

Becker Le Mans radio
Seat Belts (Left & Right)

Sealed Beam Headlights

Rudge 5” x 15” “Knock-Off” wheels
Gauges calibrated in English units
Windshield Washing Equipment

North American spec. Bumpers Front and Rear with Over-Riders

Shipping specified to be in a special ocean going “Sea Crate”
One kilogram of DB 180 Silver Metallic lacquer touch-up paint 5500354

This car features several “early” components including the rare factory installed 5" x 15" "Südrad" Rudge wheels. All five of these October 1954 date coded wheels remain on the car today. This early series engine block features the casting date of January 21st, 1955 and remains in the car today. During a recent inspection of the engine, it was revealed that the car was configured as a high-performance compression unit, featuring an 8.68:1 compression ratio cylinder head and corresponding pistons. The engine also features a 26-degree static advance distributor as well and a standard “EP/KL 64 F2" fuel-injection metering unit mated to the stock injection pump and governor assembly. Other original stamped and date coded components throughout the car correspond to April and May of 1955.

Mercedes Factory records indicate that the vehicle was completed on Tuesday, May 31st, 1955 and released for shipping on Thursday, June 2nd, 1955. The authorized Mercedes Benz agent in Los Angeles, California sold this 300SL new to Malibu resident Karl Blackfisch in June of that same year. The car remained with Blackfisch until passing to Norman “Buddy’ Kergaard of Los Angeles, California and then eventually to his son, Richard N. Kergaard, also of Los Angeles, California. In 1982, Kergaard offered this 300SL for sale with an asking price of $49,000 describing it “An excellent original condition and fully operable iconic “Gullwing” classic.” It was subsequently purchased for $45,000 by Bellevue, Washington residents W.A. “Pat" Patterson (a world-renown unlimited class winner and world champion Hydroplane Racer who still holds several unbeaten records). Pat and his wife Sharon C. Patterson completed the sale in 1982 where it would remain in their collection for nearly twenty years. When first acquired by Patterson, 5500354 appeared in original and un-restored condition, described to be in “excellent driver quality condition”. Patterson had been searching for nearly a decade for the “right” 300SL but after purchase chose to store the car while he attended to other projects. In the early 1990s, the car went to marque specialist, Scott Grundfor’s "Scott’s Restoration" where it underwent a six year, no-expense-spared restoration.

In 2000, Michigan resident Scott Grundfor purchased the car for $197,500. Grundfor advertised the car for sale describing it as a "Complete frame-off, no-expense-spared restoration. Silver metallic, red German leather interior, Becker radio full history from new.” The car sold to respected Gullwing International member Brown M. Maloney of Sequim, Washington. Mr. Maloney kept the car until 2009 when it passed to Mr. Chris and Tammy Marsico of Englewood, Colorado, subsequently being sold to the current owner. Marque enthusiast Bill Noon has thoughtfully gathered much of the information acquired on this car.

Since the restoration, 5500354 has accumulated 7,800 enjoyable miles, performing in a manner one might expect from a thoughtfully restored car. The chain of well-respected marque specialists validates the proper stewardship this fine car has enjoyed. The care and attention to detail accomplished in the restoration more than a decade ago remain proudly in the remarkable fit, finish, and integrity of this example. The correct silver paint is uniformly sprayed and remains glossy and unstressed in any corners or tight surfaces. The doors, hood and trunk gaps are tidy and even throughout with mild evidence of use along the rubber gaskets. The hood and trunk open and shut smoothly and the iconic doors easily open, sustain upright position without sagging, and shut tightly.

The interior of the car has settled in nicely over the years with no evidence of sun damage, cracking, or stretching. The red color remains very nice throughout the majority of leather surfaces with typical light scuffing on some surfaces and light chaffing along corners typically seen due to ingress and egress experienced in Gullwing cars. Some evidence of light cracking is evident in the luggage strapping, however the luggage surfacing remains in excellent condition. Instruments are in very fine and functional condition and all ivory colored interior parts (steering wheel, shifter, and turn indicator lever) remain very nice showing only minor evidence of use. The glass is in very good condition with no major scratches as are the headlights and tail light lenses. Window trim rubber is in very good condition with evidence of slight shrinking in corners. The aluminum trim surrounding the exterior glass has slight dulling and minor surface scuffing, none of which detract from the overall finish of the car. The overall visual impact of the car is quite nice, exhibiting excellent uniformed finishes and light aging one might expect from a well-restored car that has seen premium care year after year.

As one might expect from a car that has been sorted and well-maintained, mechanical performance is consistent with the cosmetic condition. The car starts quickly and settles into a crisp idle. Shifting is smooth and confident with recent service to improve the shift linkage. Suspension is very nice on the highway and quite responsive on corners considering the era of this design. Braking and downshifting are as expected. Although the car has been driven quite a bit, the belly pans are in excellent condition overall with no significant road damage, punctures, or fastener failure. The integrity of the restoration on all upper surfaces is reflected diligently in the underside. All suspension and engine components have been restored to a high standard using correct finishes and fasteners consistent with the era. Some allowances have been made for safety and ease of use without compromising the intent of the original.

One of the most exotic cars available when new, and brimming with innovative features, Gullwings were fast, beautiful, and exclusive. Their appeal continues to be timeless and consistently in demand, in part due to their inherent beauty but also their exceptional build quality. As with all iconic vehicles 5500354 has the pedigree of ownership and originality that further validates it’s position as one of the most sought after performance sports cars ever built.


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