SOLD: 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing
Exterior Color: Silver Grey Metallic (DB180)
Interior Color: Blue Leather
A stunning, numbers matching 1956 300SL Gullwing in silver metallic over blue leather. High level restoration and maintenance. Complete with original owners manual, tools, jack, and tire iron.
One Texas Owner from 1967 to 2001
Participant in Gull Wing Group Events & California Mille
Matching-Numbers Chassis, Engine, and Body
Presented in Iconic Colour Combination
Complete with Belly Pans, Books, Tool Kit, and Extensive Records dating back to 1970
Compression results Cylinders: #1) 128, #2) 132.5, #3) 130, #4) 130, #5) 132.5, #6) 130
In 1956, the Mercedes-Benz factory in Stuttgart produced 311 hand built 300 SL Gullwings. This particular Gullwing was dispatched from the factory on April 4th of 1956 with just 127 miles clocked on the odometer. The factory build sheet states the car was destined for export to the North America/USA, via the Holland America Line shipping company in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Order number 805 116 was a standard silver gray metallic Gullwing with a blue vinyl and plaid cloth interior. It came with a 1 kg of lacquer paint, window washer fluid and balancing weights. As it is a late production car, it has all but 4 of the 61 factory modifications from the release of the very first Gullwing and is very desirable as it is technically more advanced and similar to the early 300SL Roadsters.
Little is known about the very first owner(s) of chassis 6500075, but Daren Appelt recalls the still-present “Nassau Trophy Races, Bahamas” participant badge/sticker on the rear passenger window of his car back when he bought it in 1967. It would be unusual to take a 300SL all the way to Nassau to simply watch the races. In 1960 there was a Tourist Cup in addition to the main Trophy Race. Two 300SL participated in that event, one owned and driven by Stuart MacDunna (and this car is still owned by the MacDunna family), and another, alloy body Gullwing, owned by A. E. Junker, driven by legendary British race car driver Graham Hill. Earlier, starting in 1958, D. Stearly (#63), L. Vonkaesberg (#39), M. Malarkey raced Gullwings at Nassau. In 1957 only one Gullwing raced, driven by D. Stearly (#73). And in 1956, three 300SL raced, driven by M. Malarkey (#90), P. VanAntwerpen (#119), and C. Flynn (#146) in chassis #6500227. Few records exist to show precisely which car he ran, but very few Gullwings made the trek out to Nassau during the Bahamas Speed Week to race. A standard order car may not seem like the ideal one for racing, but who needs luxuries such as luggage and radios on the race track?
We do know that Richard Hall of Abilene, Texas, owned this 300SL Gullwing immediately prior to Appelt. Hall was high-living oil man, who apparently went bankrupt in 1966. His 300SL was confiscated by a bank in Abilene and given to the local Ford dealer to appraise and sell. Appelt heard about the car and managed to buy it for just $15,000. At the time it had 30,000 miles on the odometer and had been repainted a dull gray and trimmed all in cloth. Appelt drove the car daily for the next two years and then sparingly until he could afford a three year restoration at Rennsport Werkstatt, Ltd. in Tulsa, OK. Rennsport received the car in 1982 and had it back to Appelt in 1985. They took the car to bare metal, repaired any areas affected by rust and did everything short of taking the body off of the frame. Rennsport was able to source some original Mercedes-Benz blue leather to complete the interior. Receipts exceed $100,000 and the results still show magnificently today. In total Appelt put around 40,000 miles on the car during his 34 year tenure. Since acquiring this Gullwing in 2005, Alexandra Geremia put an additional 8,000 miles, many of which are accounted for in local rallies like the 2010 California Mille and frequent trips to Monterey for the Pebble Beach Concours and historic races. These records account for the 84,523 original miles currently showing on the odometer.
Appelt sold the 6500075 through Rennsport in Tulsa, OK in 2001. A private collector purchased the car and three years later entered it in the 2004 Palm Beach auction run by Barrett-Jackson. The Gullwing achieved a remarkable $302,400 USD including premiums. In 2004/5 most Gullwings and Roadsters sold in the low to mid-$200K mark and an alloy Gullwing sold for just $700,000. It was considered one of the best sold in its time and continues to outshine many more recent restorations.
The collector who bought the Gullwing at auction was forced to sell less than a year after purchasing the car because of a medical issue. The car was then bought by Alexandra Geremia of Santa Barbara, California. Geremia ran the car in the California Mille several times and took her Gullwing to most of the concours in the region, including Pebble Beach. During her ownership the car was cared for by vintage aircraft restorer and car collector, Garth Carrier of Santa Ynez, California.
Chassis 6500075 has recently been serviced at Fast Cars Ltd. of Redondo Beach, CA, where every effort was made to ensure that all details on the car are factory correct. It is in its original and iconic colour combination of silver gray metallic and is trimmed with authentic blue Mercedes-Benz leather hides from the 50s. The tone of the paint would be very difficult to recreate today with the use of water based paints and the quality of the work is outstanding. It needs nothing, except a new owner who is willing to drive, show, and perhaps race this Gullwing the way it has been in the past.
Richard Hall, Abilene, TX (? – 1967)
Daren R. Appelt, Austin, TX (1967 – 2001)
Private Collector (2001 – 2004) Auctioned in 2004 at Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach 2004 for $302,400 USD
Private Collector (2004 – 2005)
Alexandra Geremia, Santa Barbara, CA (2005 – 2013)
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