Originally delivered in rare and desirable DB 40 (black). Desirable late production disc brake alloy engine example offered in timeless colors.
1963 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster
Engine no. 198042-10-003159 (stamped replacement alloy motor)
Body no. 198.042-10-00171
Silver with Blue Leather Interior
The Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster continues to be listed at the top of premier collector and expert lists as one of the most important and iconic vehicles ever constructed. Not only did both the Gullwing and Roadster models create important milestones of excellence when first released, they continue to occupy center state in premier collections all over the world. Originally released in 1954 with production culminating in 1957, the gullwing arrived as a triumph of engineering and design, followed just three years later by the roadster. 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 – to build a Gran-Prix car tailored for road use.
Despite the impressive cost when new, demand for the gullwing was high, yet the growing US market, especially on the west coast, wanted unique cars with open configuration, motivating the birth of the roadster in 1957. Far more than a topless 300SL, the roadster was entirely unique from the gullwing, sharing very few components while vastly improving on the shortcomings of the earlier gullwing design. The roadster was fortified with additional structural frame members and the side structure improved for traditionally hinged doors with larger openings. Further structural improvements resulted in greater torsional rigidity and better handling via single-pivot swing-axle rear suspension, improving the former gullwing bump oversteer. Other improvements such as roll-up windows, increased horsepower, and softer coil springs made for a much more enjoyable ride without compromising the sporting nature of the race-bred original.
Benefiting from a host of gradual refinements over the six-year period of production, the 1963 model 300SL roadster featured the introduction of the lightweight alloy block engine beginning with chassis number 003049, and desirable Dunlop disc brakes beginning with chassis number 002780 (offered from 1961-1963). A total of 1,858 roadsters were built from 1957-1963, however a mere 26 roadsters were constructed in the final year of production. And while just 244 roadsters were built in 1962, and several were assigned 1963 registration and title, any of these final production alloy motor cars are extraordinarily rare and continually sought after by astute collectors.
This particularly handsome example has benefited from a comprehensive restoration performed several years ago. Reportedly under long term ownership after the restoration, the former owner is said to have engaged marque expert Paul Russel to service his cars. Very nicely preserved and thoughtfully maintained by previous owners, this 300SL roadster currently displays 87,043 miles. During the restoration, a correct alloy type replacement engine block was installed and stamped with a number that matches the chassis number for the car. Upon consignment, a recent inspection brake service was performed by local specialists at Burlingame Motors, Burlingame, CA. The front brake calipers were disassembled, cleaned, and new seals and pistons installed along with replacement of the rear axle boot. Additional brake work included rebuilding the brake booster, replacing the master cylinder, as well as replacing the front and rear brake hoses. The car has since been driven several miles and found to be in good mechanical order, though we recommend replacing axle boots and re-coring the radiator.
Today this rare and beautiful 300SL roadster presents as a very handsome older restoration with delightful cosmetics and responsive mechanical continuity. Clearly the restoration was performed to a very high level as the quality of the materials and finishes convey excellence both in retained quality and fitment. The silver paint was formulated with the correct metallic flake and uniformly applied. The finish remains glossy and smooth with attractive presentation, showing small signs of use and minor areas of paint correction, but otherwise very attractive overall. The doors, hood, and trunk gaps are tidy and even throughout with still supple rubber trim and weather stripping. The hood and trunk open and shut smoothly and the doors have properly finished jambs, also opening and shutting tightly with notable German precision. The exterior emblems and lenses are all in very good to excellent condition, while the chrome shows only minor areas of light surface hazing. The chrome plated wheels and wheel covers are beautifully finished with matching silver painted wheel covers contrasting the sporty black-wall tires. The low fender line, sculpted speed blisters, and race-inspired side vents deliver a powerful presence to the low-profile design.
The interior has a very handsome and settled presence which speaks well of the longevity of the finishes and quality of materials used during the restoration. The beautifully contoured leather surfaces have been properly stitched and applied with both the leather and distinctive Mercedes-Benz perforated seat insert material. The seats have a soft presence to them, still firm in support, but welcomingly contoured through gentle use. The workmanship throughout the interior is of high quality with excellent feel to the beautifully fitted leather topped dash, pleated door panels, and braided leather door pulls. The deep blue leather color is consistent throughout the leather surfaces offering a pleasing contrast to the silver exterior. The black canvas top smoothly disappears into the hinged rear deck and latches into the windshield header with tight closure including a clear, taut rear window. The dashboard is simply beautiful, with vivid instruments, excellent numeric indication, clear lenses, and finely restored details including the colorful center gauge cluster. The various detailed interior switches, levers, and knobs are all beautifully finished including the light ivory steering wheel which matches the gear shift knob and horn center emblem. Inside the trunk, the condition is consistent with materials used in the interior including a leather center strap and proper factory finishes for the underside and inner side panels. The overall visual impact of the interior is quite nice, exhibiting uniform finishes clearly enjoyed since restoration but lovingly and professionally tended to as one might expect from past dedicated owners.
Under the hood, the correctly finished fuel-injected 300SL engine is a visually captivating example of sculpted artistry and mechanical excellence. The engine compartment is clean and well-presented reflective of the quality of the restoration performed some years ago. Installed during the restoration, the replacement engine block has been stamped with the corresponding chassis number and finished with authentic components including a correct type fuel injection and rare engine parts. Correct finishes, proper fittings, and attention to detail is evident throughout the engine compartment, with modest allowances for modern use. The correct air cleaner housing and fittings are in place along with correct engine decals, some of which have lightly aged through use. Although some of the engine compartment finishes show evidence of use since the restoration was completed, the overall presentation is very satisfying, united by time and warmly hued from engine use.
The car starts on command with typical allowances for cold engine starts and proper warm up procedure before operation. The engine is well tuned with no fuel-injection issues and delivers snappy throttle response when pressed into action. The gearbox engages easily in all gears offering smooth shifts and a properly sprung clutch. Suspension is quite pleasant on the highway with light steering, great passing power, and symmetrical braking with a nice, even bite from the disc brakes when coming down from faster speeds. The chassis and underbody components are in very good condition overall with no significant issues and no visible signs of structural compromise. The integrity of the restoration on all upper surfaces is reflected diligently in the underside which has been correctly finished and properly restored, though time and modest miles have since gently aged the underside surfaces.
One of the most exotic cars available when new, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster was a performance leader in all respects, brimming with innovative features, many of which would become hallmarks of modern engineering. Today these fast, beautiful, and exclusive cars continue to appeal to collectors and enthusiasts for their inherent beauty, exceptional build quality, and ease of use especially when it comes to vintage road events. This beautifully finished example is ready for enjoyable driving, premier vintage road tours, or weekend travel, reflecting all the promises of superb luxury sport motoring as one of the finest Mercedes-Benz sports cars ever produced.
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.
Fantasy Junction • 510-653-7555 • 1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608