1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing
Location: United Kingdom
This stunning example was built to order for Count Philipp Constantin von Berckheim who was of significant importance for both Daimler Benz and Porsche. A Gentleman racer of note, he won the 1952 Mille Miglia Gran Turismo 1.5 Class in a Porsche 356 Gmünd Coupe 1500 with co-driver Giovanni Lurani. Tragedy struck the Count whilst campaigning in the Carrera Pan Americana when a crash left the Count wheelchair bound, closing the chapter on his impressive racing career.
Disability didn’t prevent the Count from wanting the very best the automotive industry had to offer. He commissioned Daimler Benz to build something extra special and the craftsmen of the Sindelfingen works did not fail to disappoint. The car was totally unique, a Mercedes 600 Grosser State Landaulet, all other Landaulets produced were Pullmans but he had this car tailor made to make room for his wheelchair.
Following 4 owners in the USA and repatriated back home to West Germany in 2004 the Gullwing was dispatched to marque specialists HK Engineering who carried out a body-off, Concours restoration. We have on file a comprehensive photographic record of the restoration works. During the restoration, a huge amount of attention to detail was paid to the drive ability and the end result would have gotten Count Von Berckheim’s seal of approval with improvements such as the fitting of a 5-speed gearbox and improved brake boosters. The extra gear combined with the special order 4.11 rear axle really transforms the drive and makes the car today a very capable outside lane cruiser.
Presented beautifully today in its original colour of DB40 Schwarz (Black) with Crema hide interior, matching woven carpets, ivory steering wheel, chrome wheels, the car truly exemplifies the outstanding beauty of the 300SL Gullwing.
The car was acquired by a long term UK collector in 2006 through Ivan Page-Ratcliffe, the well-known 300SL Gullwing and Roadster aficionado. Over the course of the next 16 years, the Gullwing covered 9000 miles since its restoration works and was always maintained regardless of expense by the best marque experts, most recently Martin Cushway who serviced the car in August 2021 and May 2022 – on file we have a set of compression readings which where carried out and well within good tolerances.
Most recently the Gullwing has been presented on the lawn at the London Concours at The Honourable Artillery Company, Armoury House London EC1 in June 2022 where it was the Winner of Mercedes Great Marques – a true reflection of the quality of this exceptional car.