Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
As the original Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing” Coupe exited stage left in 1957, its successor, the 300SL Roadster, debuted at that year’s Geneva Salon. The conversion of the 300SL to an open car meant dispensing with the famous upward-opening doors and redesigning the chassis, which was strengthened to compensate for the loss of the roof structure. Headlamps were changed, the grille was smaller, and a chrome molding was added below the doors. Because the beefier new chassis was heavier than the original, the famous twin-cam six-cylinder engine was given a new camshaft and higher compression, which resulted in an addition of 20 horsepower. Revised rear suspension now boasted a compensating spring, added to reduce the over-steering tendencies of the single-jointed swing-axle arrangement.
No doubt to the delight of those who had known and loved the previous SL, the 300SL Roadster remained among the fastest cars on the road, capable of 133 to 155 mph depending upon the final drive ratio selected. Production continued into early-1963, and with 1,858 built, the Roadster proved even more popular than its “Gullwing” predecessor, while still remaining exclusive enough to be rarely seen. Truly “the car to own” among those successful enough to acquire it, at the turn of the 1960s, the 300SL Roadster was seen wherever moneyed motorists drove quickly.
Part of the RM Auctions event in California, in August, 2011 and in Arizona in January, 2013.
240 bhp (SAE), 2,996 cc overhead-cam inline six-cylinder engine, Bosch mechanical fuel-injection, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with upper and lower A-arms and coil springs, independent rear suspension with coil springs and swing axles, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5 in.
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Photogal Enterprises and Darin Schnabel