1959 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
Location: United Kingdom
The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster was introduced in 1957 and built upon to enormous success of the legendary Gullwing that it was based upon. The Roadster was tasked with creating a more manageable and enjoyable driving experience, with US Mercedes distributor Max Hoffman believing that top-down motoring would appeal to the American market.
The most obvious change from Gullwing to Roadster was the transition from top-hinged to ‘traditional’ doors that required extensive chassis strengthening that also facilitated the open-top configuration. This also allowed for roll-up windows (not present on the Gullwing) to be fitted on the car, which was particularly useful when the removable hardtop was fitted to the vehicle. There were also changes to the suspension to focus on a comfortable driving experience, with the fitment of softer coil springs and damping.
Production of the 300 SL Roadster ran from 1957 to 1963 with a total of 1,858 cars made.
The 300 SL Roadster in question is an Italian-supplied example from 1959 that was remarkably retained by its original keeper until 1994. The car was supplied new in the classic combination that it retains today of anthracite grey (DB 172) over red leather interior complete with its soft top in black. Further, this car was also specified with a hard top, Becker Mexico radio, electric fan, chromed intake pipes and a matching red leather luggage set. Chassis 9500066 is equipped with a cast iron engine block, drum brakes and paint-matched “sport” wheels finished in chrome with alloy rims.
When the car entered the possession of its second owner, they commissioned a complete restoration by the experts of 300 SLs, Kienle. Carrying out the restoration over 1994 and 1995, #9500066 enjoyed the complete Kienle experience and was rebuild in its original combination to a standard that is widely regarded as ‘better than new.’ The original engine and gearbox were fully overhauled, and several sympathetic upgrades were carried out including upgrades to the clutch and throttle body, additional fans and colling and an exchangeable air filter cartridge.
Today, this 300 SL Roadster still presents in exceptional condition in all areas, which is testament to the quality of the restoration that was carried out and the diligence of the subsequent ownership. The car has been part of a significant collection in the UK for the past several years and in that time it has been maintained by 300 SL expert, Martin Cushway. When purchasing the car, the current custodian engaged Cushway to inspect the vehicle, who confirmed that it was still a full matching numbers example including its original engine, gearbox, front spindles, rear axle and body. A recent conversation that with had with Mr. Cushway confirmed that the stampings on the car are original and the car was meticulously restored and has enjoyed the correct subsequent maintenance.
Following his initial inspection, Martin Cushway has also regularly maintained #9500066 for the past several years, which included a camshaft replacement in 2017. Most recently, the car enjoyed a lubrication service and inspection in September 2021 and out a radiator overhaul and recore to ensure optimal operation.
This 300 SL Roadster is one of the finest examples available today, being an original European-supplied example sitting its original colours and complete with full matching numbers. The car presents in exceptional condition and is complete with comprehensive provenance that is further complemented by its original hard top, luggage set, tool rool, jack, Mercedes build sheet and books.