Matching Numbers Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Sells For $6.8 Million

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It's one of just 29 alloy-bodied examples ever made.

Easily one of the most recognizable shapes in the world, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing is also one of the most desirable and famed cars ever to exist. Not only is it a thing of exquisite beauty, but it spawned a celebrated dynasty of Mercedes-Benz SL roadsters and was the inspiration behind the spectacular, raucous brute that was the SLS AMG.

An illustrious racing history, rarity, and breathtaking styling have made the W198 Gullwing an incredibly desirable collector car, often exchanging hands for millions of dollars. This ultimate Leichtmetallausfuhrung (alloy-bodied, Light Metal Version) is finished in Silver Gray Metallic and is no exception - it just sold for $6.85 million.

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Just 29 alloy-bodied models were made. 1955 saw the majority produced (24) and this is the 13th example made. This 300SL has lived an interesting life, delivered new in Casablanca, Morocco. Features include a blue vinyl/blue gabardine fabric interior along with a high-speed 3.42 rear axle, an uprated 270 kph speedometer, a Becker radio, and highly desirable 'Rudge' wheels. This particular example is the only alloy-bodied W198 to ever be delivered new to the African continent.

It didn't stay there for long, though. The Mercedes found itself stateside and, after a brief encounter with several owners, it was sent to "the world's foremost 300 SL repair facility, Paul Russell and Company in Essex, Massachusetts (then operating under the name Gullwing Service Company in nearby Topsfield)." There, the M198 3.0-liter inline-six engine and aluminum body went through a complete restoration. Completed in 1979, it cost $45,000 ($172,000 in today's money) to rehabilitate this special Mercedes.

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This thorough restoration saw it clinch "Best Gullwing" at the Gullwing Group's 1980 National Meeting. In fastidious condition, it attracted myriad offers and in 1982, the car was sold to the group's president, Hyatt Cheek. He would end up keeping the car for 32 years.

The 300SL Gullwing is a truly special motorcar. This example builds on that, with its unique back story, superb condition, and rarity. While steel-bodied vehicles already command a hefty price - upwards of $1 million - this alloy-bodied example is truly worth the $6.85 million it sold for, especially considering numerous aluminum SL's have to be reskinned due to damage sustained in racing. It's certainly going to be the jewel in a lucky car collector's crown.

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