1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

I drove one cross-country and did four straight hours in Nevada at 110 mph. With the car singing through its original mild-steel exhaust system, the sound is as unique as the rest of the car


In the collector car world, there is no more immediately recognizable sight than a 300SL with its doors open. Introduced in 1954 as a coupe with signature “Gullwing” doors, the legendary 300SL was conceived as a high performance street machine that was really a thinly veiled racing car. It was fast, solid, and handled well, and it quickly developed an enviable reputation, both on the track and in the streets.
This particular 300SL Gullwing has a fabulous history, as it was supplied new on November 27, 1956, to S. Agustin Legorreta of the Mexican banking dynasty, and stayed within the same family until early 2004. This Gullwing is one of only a handful that was ever supplied new for export to Mexico.
The original invoice confirms that the car was supplied through the Mercedes-Benz agents Delta, for the princely sum of 161,617.85 pesos (approx. $13,000). It came in “Rojo Tapiza” with natural beige leather interior, and special Conti-Super-Record 6.5- by 15-inch tires fitted to chrome wheels. Other original equipment included twin fog lights,
locking doors and glove box, and heater.
Under the bottom edge of the passenger door are the original Mexican brass registration plates denoting all the correct numbers for the car. The chassis and motor numbers match, and the engine still has its original belly pans. The panelwork is straight and the shut lines are all good. The paintwork is very presentable and the interior is clean and tidy. The instruments are all complete with a lovely older patina, and a superb large chronograph by Solvil of Geneva has been fitted to the center console. The car also retains an original radio.
At some time in the last 10-12 years, the car was repainted to its current burgundy livery, and the seat trim was slightly upgraded to later specification. Recently the car has benefited from new brake hoses and cylinders. The indicated mileage is 60,691 km, which is very likely to be accurate from new.