SOLD 01/24

1955 Mercedes-Benz
300SL Gullwing

Remarkable two-owner California delivery Gullwing with original documentation from new, featuring original equipment preserved by passionate owners.

  • VIN198.040.5500666
  • Exterior ColorWhite
  • Interior ColorRed leather
  • MileageTMU
  • Engine3.0L Inline 6-cylinder
  • Engine no.198/980.5500715
  • Transmission4-Speed manual
  • StatusSold
  • StockFJ2825


1955 Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing
Chassis No. 300SL/198.040-5500666
Engine No. 198.980.5500715

Karrosserie No. 198.040.550644
Exterior Paint: White

Interior color: Red Leather

Completed August 30, 1955

The Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing has occupied the highest level of automotive excellence from the first day of production to receiving countless awards at contemporary world class concours events. 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 high-performance sports cars ever produced for road use. The automotive press heralded the 300SL as a triumph of engineering and design. Delivered with production fuel-injection (first of its 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 300SL Gullwing was purchased by the first owner, Dr. Glen Harmon, a resident of Northern California. A North American delivery example, the car was delivered new with the following specifications:

White exterior paint
Red leather interior
Fitted Luggage

Gauges calibrated in English units
European spec bumpers

Dr. Harmon, the original owner, was a passionate enthusiast with fortunate assets to support his desires. When he arrived at the local dealership to make his purchase, he purchased not only this 300SL Gullwing, but a 300S as well. Both cars received sequential California DMV license plate numbers and 1956 registration papers which remain on file with the car today. Harmon retained the car for a remarkable 47 years, joining the Gullwing Group in 1973 as an early member and enjoying the car in mostly casual club events. After driving the car for many years, Dr. Harmon had personally amassed well over 100,000 miles when he commissioned a glass-out repaint in the original color, gentle restoration of the interior leather, and mechanical freshening as needed. Great care was exacted in both preservation and careful restoration including retaining the correct door sill stitching, correct sun visor two tone patterning, correct seat stitching, German carpeting, and beautiful wool headliner. At the time of sale, Dr. Harmon had driven the car an astonishing 155,000 miles. In addition to the remarkable two-owner documented history, Dr. Harmon was obsessive about the care and maintenance to preserve his beloved Gullwing. Not only is the car still accompanied by the original 1956 California Title (signed but retained as part of the second owner’s preservation efforts), it is also accompanied by the original owner’s manuals, numerous registration slips and the original 1956 registration slip. After Dr. Harmon passed away, his widow specifically sought out a Gullwing Group club member to be certain the car would not simply be sold again to the next owner. Remarkable in preservation, Dr. Harmon’s good work was raised to another level when it was sold to the second owner, another true enthusiast of these cars.

The second owner, a Gullwing Group member and respected vintage Mercedes-Benz mechanic with restoration skills spanning his own cars including a 300SL roadster, a 1952 300 S coupe, a 1960 220 SE Cabriolet, and a 1958 220 S sunroof coupe, to name a few, purchased the car in 2003. Tall of stature, the second owner made a special driver’s side seat cushion which would allow a slightly lower seating position, making it more comfortable for long drives. During his ownership he continued meticulous efforts in keeping with Dr. Harmon’s history. Under his ownership, he improved the brakes, installed a set of chrome 300 S wheels (allowing for tubeless tires), upgraded the distributor to a 123 unit (original unit retained), and performed regular services as needed.

Both the son and daughter of the second owner as well as Pat Matthews, Former President of the Gullwing Group, have written their reflections of this car and the ownership history including attending various local events and, in one instance, when father and daughter drove to the 2006 Gullwing Group Gathering in Lake Tahoe, the car performed flawlessly. The second owner was so careful with the car that his children recall that anyone who drove in the car needed to remove their shoes and that their father made sure to remove his own shoes when driving this Gullwing. The daughter remembers her father driving barefoot so as not to scuff the materials inside the car but also to feel the car a bit more. Both son and daughter recall following strict maneuvers when entering over the leather doorsill instructed to be careful and not damage the leather material with their jeans. The owner was also insistent that the doors be only closed from a distance just 6” above the door sill. These efforts of preservation just in the doors alone have resulted in exceptional door fit, frequently found to be inconsistent from the top to the bottom as adjustment in one area will change results in another, due to the complex contours of these iconic doors. The owner enjoyed the car for twenty years until family members consigned it to Fantasy Junction in December 2023.

Today, in addition to the documented California two-owner history, the condition and visual presentation validates the unrepeatable stewardship this fine car has enjoyed. The correct white 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 just mild evidence of age shown in 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, when dropped only from 6” per long-standing family tradition. The glass is in very good condition with no major scratches as are the headlights and taillight lenses. The distinctive chrome accents remain in excellent condition. Even the Bosch branded headlight trim rings retain crisp, readable branded etchings often lost when re-chromed and excellent fit to the front fender shape. Exterior 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 aging but given the history, none of this detracts from the overall finish of the car. The visual impact of the car is remarkably cohesive and impressive, exhibiting excellent uniformed finishes and light aging one might expect from a consummately maintained car that has seen near obsessive care year after year.

The interior of the car has settled in nicely over the years since refurbishment with no evidence of sun damage, cracking, or stretching. The red color remains very nice throughout the majority of leather surfaces with only light hints of use evident in the modestly aged material. The luggage surfacing remains in excellent condition, most remarkably, still retaining the original materials as crafted by the factory. Instruments are in very fine and functional condition, including the factory windup watch which holds time. A set of added instrumentation is housed in a cleverly mounted lower red leather console panel, housing a Heuer Autavia dashboard stopwatch and VDO vacuum pressure gauge. A beautiful and rare period feature is the Nardi flat profile wood rim steering wheel. Thoughtfully installed, the steering wheel has a correct Mercedes-Benz Tri-Star enameled emblem centered in the aluminum spokes. The original ivory steering wheel is included as a spare. All ivory-colored interior parts (spare steering wheel, shifter, and turn indicator lever) remain very nice showing only minor evidence of use.

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 brakes having been rebuilt under current ownership. Although the car has been driven and maintained by experts, the belly pans are still in excellent condition overall consistent with the originality of the car. The underside is reflective of excellent care and thoughtful servicing. Suspension and engine components are correct and consistent with the era and there is no immediate visual evidence of structural damage when examining the undercarriage.

This car is accompanied by the original luggage with the original key set, the original four wheels dated 7/55, a soft side window case, two spare leather seat bottom cushions, a set of tools in a tool roll with tire pressure gauge, an original distributor, the original ivory steering wheel, the original owner’s book packet, the original service booklet with notations, registration records, the original 1956 title and 1956 registration, a fire extinguisher, and car cover, As noted on the original 1956 California Title, this car was titled using the engine number, consistent with title requirements of the period stating “Engine or ID Number” for title record. This number continues as VIN reference on the current California title.

One of the most exotic and technically advanced sports cars available when new, 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. This Gullwing offers an undisputed California two-owner pedigree of ownership and exceptional preservation that further validates its position as one of the most sought-after icons of the motoring century.

The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.

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Fantasy Junction  •  510-653-7555  •  1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608