If a Mercedes Gullwing is the iconic 1950s Grand Touring car, as many insist, then the ultra-exclusive, all-aluminum “alloy Gullwing” is the ultimate example. Mercedes built 29 of them in 1955 as a lightweight, racing variant on the production car. It was 175 lbs lighter than the steel car and sat on lowered suspension, with an upgraded engine, Plexiglas windows, Rudge wheels, and plaid cloth in the seats. It was frighteningly expensive, a serious uptick from the $8,500 normal list price (about $70,000 in 2011 dollars) and of interest only to serious racers and a few who wanted the absolute best at any cost. In the high-end collectible feeding frenzy of the past few years, they have become extremely desirable, not least because they almost never become publicly available. The McBride collection car, recently consigned for Gooding & Company’s January Scottsdale sale, is a stunning, freshly restored example, originally delivered in California for street use.

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