This Mercedes-Benz Gullwing is the ultimate all-original barn find
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Long before the world was struck by vintage Porsche 911 and Toyota Supra fever, cars like Mercedes-Benz's iconic 300SL were already lighting up auction-houses worldwide with ludicrous prices on the classic-car market.
These have long been an in demand car, and it's not just because of those definitive 'Gullwing' doors, either. The 300SL is considered to be one of the most important cars in the three-pointed star's illustrious history. Mercedes, like much of Germany, had taken a hit during World War II — losing its way with an aged line-up and a reduced motorsport calendar.
But from the ashes in the early '50s came the 300SL; the lightest and most aerodynamic car that had ever been produced. The power-train wasn't much; a 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine lifted from one of the company's sedans. But the advancements in weight savings and aero helped it win Le Mans, Carrera Panamericana, and much more.
Sixty five years after the 300SL first launched as a production car, they remain the talk of the town. And Mercedes-Benz celebrated the fact at the annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance event last weekend in Florida.
The manufacturer performed a modern rarity in pairing up two sequential-chassis 300SL Gullwings for the show — chassis No. 43 and chassis No. 44. The catch? One of them had been restored beautifully by the Mercedes-Benz Classic Centre while the other — pictured here — clearly was not.
Mercedes claimed that the tired-looking 300SL (chassis No. 43) was likely taken off the road in the '60s, and sanded down for a paint respray that ultimately never happened. It hasn't been registered for road use in the time since.
Despite its static status, the dishevelled 300SL was found almost totally complete. Everything is there, from the distinctive chrome bumpers to the complete cabin lined in grey leather, and all of the uniquely shaped glass.
The originality spans all the way down to the tyres, which are the Englebert Competition examples that came with the car when it rolled off the showroom floor in 1954.
Having now enjoyed some rare time in the Florida sun, chassis No. 43 will now enter an extended restoration process with the Mercedes-Benz Classic Centre. We can't wait to see how it looks when the group bring it back to its former glory. At that point, it's also certain to be one of the best examples of the historic car on the planet.