Spectacular find of a rare Mercedes 300SL Gullwing left neglected for 40 years.
To mark his graduation in 1955, Tom Wellmer's parents bought him a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing. As one of the finest sports cars in the world at that time this was a lovely present to receive; yet the valuable classic and inspiration for the SLS AMG was left to rot in a garage for 40 years before Rudi Koniczek of Rudi & Company, a premier 300SL restorer, took it under his wing. "This is the ultimate garage find and may be one of the greatest finds ever in the collector car world," Koniczek says.
"It's amazing to know that the car had been there all those years without anyone knowing about it." During the fifties, the Stuttgart-based factory turned out 29 lightweight alloy body gullwing coupes fitted with Plexiglass windows. These represent some of the most valuable cars in the world today, and are valued at $2.5 million apiece. Having gotten whisper of a rumor that the last of these rare specimens was stored in a garage in Santa Monica twenty years ago, it was with an overwhelming sense of pleasure that Koniczek tracked the car down this spring.
Now in his late eighties, the owner agreed to the sale of his not-so-treasured treasure, which he abandoned in the seventies after a failed transmission, on the condition it would be fully restored and the award-winning restorer is on the case. The buyer has wished to remain anonymous and the restoration of the alloy-bodied 300SL is set to commence next year.