A perfectly restored, aluminum-bodied 300SL Gullwing went for a record number at the Scottsdale Auction over the weekend.
Rare car collectors Ralph Lauren and Jay Leno both have a 1955 300SL Gullwing in their private collections. But neither has this rare aluminum 'Alloy' Gullwing, of which only 29 were built. Completed on 20 April 1955, chassis number 550028 was finished in metallic silver gray over a blue leather interior, and fitted with Rudge wheels, the NSL motor and Plexiglass windows. That same year the car made its way to California and in 1980 it was sold to a German collector for $57,000.
By 1982 it had been through a meticulous restoration at the hands of Hill & Vaughn in Santa Monica, famed for their restorations and who were frequent winners at Pebble Beach. It later returned to Germany and went through numerous restorations and a new paintjob, but by 2009 it was in the hands of Ken McBride, a noted Gullwing collector. Knowing the importance of an Alloy Gullwing, the car was sent to renowned 300 SL restorer Rudi & Co., who brought the car back to its original self, with the right shade of silver and blue leather interior. In 2011 the restoration was complete, boasting superior attention to detail.
The original engine remains, it sits on original chrome Rudge wheels, the luggage is properly finished in natural pig skin, the grille has the proper 'curved star', and even the Becker radio is correct. The Gullwing is a beautifully engineered motorcar with plenty of power and torque. Arguably the most important road-going Mercedes of the post-war era and certainly one of the most iconic cars of all time, it's not often one of these rare cars goes to auction, hence why more than double the expected price was paid to own a genuine piece of automobile history.