Here’s your chance to own a piece of automotive history with this 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster up for bidding at the Amelia Island auction On March 12. Here’s why it’s so special.
The concept for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster came when Max Hoffman, the U.S. distributor for Mercedes-Benz, convinced Daimler-Benz to put a customer version of the astounding 300 SL racecar into production.
Unfortunately, the first prototype was rushed, expediting the car’s details so it would be ready for the New York Armory show and dealer showrooms. This meant that shortcuts had to be taken, so almost immediately after the first iteration of the coupe was finished, design work began on a roadster version with the goal of correcting the flaws of the racer.
Almost everything was modified – the tube frame, chassis, suspension, everything was checked diligently this time around. Performance came thanks to increasing Engine compression, taking advantage of 100-octane gasoline that became available at the time. That change alone increased horsepower by 25, offsetting the 250 pounds of additional weight of the roadster through its other mods.
The 300 SL Roadsters sold well, beginning in 1957, until production ended six years later. In that time frame, a total of 1,858 units sold. This particular example was produced during the first year of roadster sales, and has been owned by the consignor for the past 42 years.