Lot No. 10 V


1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (without reserve)


Chassis 198 042 7500087
Motor 198 980 7500096
Aufbau 198 042 7500011

In the Wiesenthal Collection since 1976
The eleventh production Roadster built
Original 73.000 kms on the clock
Matching Numbers

The laurel wreaths marking the double victory at the race to beat all races, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, were still fresh when the Mercedes factory squad travelled to the Nürburgring in August 1952. The last of the ten 300 SL racing cars had been finished just in time for this race on home turf. This car did not only have a shorter wheelbase than the previous nine, it was also missing its roof. Three of the previously successful race cars had also been turned into open-top roadsters for this local competition. This had little effect on the model’s dominance. The 300 SL continued its winning streak and replicated this at the Carrera Panamericana after the Nürburgring.

At the end of 1952, the 300 SL’s fate looked to be sealed, its story ended before it had properly begun. The surviving race cars were acting as guinea pigs for the Experimental Department. The short-wheelbase roadster bit the dust and was sent for scrap, while two were topped with a roof and gull-wing doors before being taken around world as promotional vehicles. Just one open-topped 300 SL remained. This car was given a new fuel-injected engine in 1953. The decision as to whether to mass-produce the coupé was still up in the air, and so, the car’s stamina and ability to cope with heights was tested on the Grossglockner mountain. When the 300 SL came into production, it seemed to have completed its task, at last.

As the 300 SL became a success, people began clamouring for an open-topped version. One of the most vociferous calls came from the man to whom we owe the coupé: Max Hoffman, the business-hungry New Yorker from Austria, who once again came knocking in Untertürkheim. The mass-produced 300 SL had not even celebrated its first birthday before the Racing Department, headed by Rudolf Uhlenhaut, was commissioned to make an open-topped version in collaboration with Head of Experimentation, Fritz Nallinger.

They thought back to the last surviving open-topped racing car which had been mothballed. It started its second life as the prototype for this project. Of course, there was little more than the chassis left of the racing car - and even that had been massively mutilated. Ultimately, the roadster was supposed to have proper doors, so the tubular spaceframe needed to be adjusted and strengthened accordingly. The exterior was drawn up by summer 1955, and the finished prototype was ready for the executives by the start of November.

The new rear axle was at the very top of the specification. The 300 SL coupé’s two-joint swing axle was infamous, nay, feared, in the threshold area. It was narrow and, if the car started to swerve, it was near-impossible to bring it back under control. Help came in the form of a new one-joint rear axle with a lower moment and horizontal compensating springs under the differential. This increased comfort and stiffened the suspension.

In 1956, the prototype was able to prove its worth in extensive tests, which generally took place on Alpine passes far away from the public eye. Despite its heavier weight, its performance was convincing. The 300 SL sports car had indeed been turned into an open-top touring car. This was a prime opportunity to tap into the target market of the USA. This was also where the first photo of the car on the Stelvio Pass was published, captioned “The Secret SLS”. The decision was taken to launch series production, and the prototype was revealed to the public at the end of October.

However, the production Roadster was again supposed to be called 300 SL, with SLS being kept for two open-topped lightweight cars to be tested for their abilities on the racetrack. The experiments eventually succeeded, but things stopped there. The new 300 SL roadster celebrated its glittering premiere at the 1953 Geneva Motor Show. It replaced the coupé in the same year, upon which its production was ceased.

It had big shoes to fill, shoes that had also belonged to a legend in its own right. The 300 SL roadster successfully continued the history of the gull-winged car. 1,858 roadsters were made up to the start of 1963, with most of them being sent across the pond. Further development work was performed on the 300 SL on an ongoing basis over those six years. From 1958 onwards, a hard top was available upon request to make the roadster suitable for use in winter. In 1961, it was fitted with disc brakes all around, and in its final stage an aluminium engine block was instruduced in 1962.

The glory days came to an end in March 1963. It had no successors: the 230 SL was not able to fill the gap. Even the Head of Design, Bruno Sacco, admitted in retrospect that the W113 had been a step in the wrong direction, even though it had been successful. There would never again be a car to match the 300 SL.

The more special a car is, the more special the stories are that it can tell, as is the case with this 300 SL. It is not only the 11th car to come off the assembly line, built as the last coupés were leaving the factory: it has also been owned by the Wiesenthal company for 42 years. It can now tell the story of a family whose life was greatly shaped by it in between..

Günter Tugendsam moved from Vienna to Sweden in the mid-1960s. He was looking for work and found a job in a Mercedes workshop in Stockholm, where he had ended up stranded with his old Opel. Along with employment, he found his future wife there, Pia, the boss’ daughter. They got married and drove a 190 SL designed to look like its big brother, with its headlights adorning the front. Why? Because the 300 SL was always what he had dreamed of.

This dream came true when a Swedish collector decided to move overseas and sell all his cars.. Günter did not quite have enough cash for the gullwing, but he could manage the roadster, as that had been damaged at the front left-hand corner. He worked with his expert father-in-law to fix the damage quickly, renewing the that piece of chassis in the very front left. As the chassis number is found in that spot, for the coupés an the early roadsters, all this car still has is its original tag, not an unusual fate for the 300 SL.

Günter moved back to Vienna at around the same time, bringing his wife, their SL and plans for his own company with him, too. The roadster was issued its ‘Einzelgenehmigung’ on 15 April 1975 and fully registered in Pia’s name the next day. It was taken to Sweden the next summer. Not only had a daughter appeared on the scene, the roadster needed a new coat of paint. An argument broke out over the colour of its new paint. Günter’s father-in-law insisted in the original silver grey, but it was ultimately painted gold. As a result, the mood within the family was in need of some improvement.

The family said goodbye to their pride and joy one year later. The 300 SL made its way to the Wiesenthal collection in exchange for 300,000 Schilling, enough to build a house and start a business. The purchase test and sales contract from the time have been preserved to this day. Its unfortunate paint job was swiftly rectified in its new home and the roadster was repainted in its original shade. It was driven and well-maintained over the next few years.

This is exactly how it looks today: unrestored, with a beautiful portion of patina, that makes it utterly fascinating. The traces of its 60-year history and 73,000 kilometres travelled make it a work of art depicting history, a work of art which must be preserved. This is also part of this SL‘s story that makes it so truly exceptional.

01.12.2018 - 17:00

Realized price: **
EUR 1,123,000.-
Estimate:
EUR 750,000.- to EUR 950,000.-

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (without reserve)


Chassis 198 042 7500087
Motor 198 980 7500096
Aufbau 198 042 7500011

In the Wiesenthal Collection since 1976
The eleventh production Roadster built
Original 73.000 kms on the clock
Matching Numbers

The laurel wreaths marking the double victory at the race to beat all races, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, were still fresh when the Mercedes factory squad travelled to the Nürburgring in August 1952. The last of the ten 300 SL racing cars had been finished just in time for this race on home turf. This car did not only have a shorter wheelbase than the previous nine, it was also missing its roof. Three of the previously successful race cars had also been turned into open-top roadsters for this local competition. This had little effect on the model’s dominance. The 300 SL continued its winning streak and replicated this at the Carrera Panamericana after the Nürburgring.

At the end of 1952, the 300 SL’s fate looked to be sealed, its story ended before it had properly begun. The surviving race cars were acting as guinea pigs for the Experimental Department. The short-wheelbase roadster bit the dust and was sent for scrap, while two were topped with a roof and gull-wing doors before being taken around world as promotional vehicles. Just one open-topped 300 SL remained. This car was given a new fuel-injected engine in 1953. The decision as to whether to mass-produce the coupé was still up in the air, and so, the car’s stamina and ability to cope with heights was tested on the Grossglockner mountain. When the 300 SL came into production, it seemed to have completed its task, at last.

As the 300 SL became a success, people began clamouring for an open-topped version. One of the most vociferous calls came from the man to whom we owe the coupé: Max Hoffman, the business-hungry New Yorker from Austria, who once again came knocking in Untertürkheim. The mass-produced 300 SL had not even celebrated its first birthday before the Racing Department, headed by Rudolf Uhlenhaut, was commissioned to make an open-topped version in collaboration with Head of Experimentation, Fritz Nallinger.

They thought back to the last surviving open-topped racing car which had been mothballed. It started its second life as the prototype for this project. Of course, there was little more than the chassis left of the racing car - and even that had been massively mutilated. Ultimately, the roadster was supposed to have proper doors, so the tubular spaceframe needed to be adjusted and strengthened accordingly. The exterior was drawn up by summer 1955, and the finished prototype was ready for the executives by the start of November.

The new rear axle was at the very top of the specification. The 300 SL coupé’s two-joint swing axle was infamous, nay, feared, in the threshold area. It was narrow and, if the car started to swerve, it was near-impossible to bring it back under control. Help came in the form of a new one-joint rear axle with a lower moment and horizontal compensating springs under the differential. This increased comfort and stiffened the suspension.

In 1956, the prototype was able to prove its worth in extensive tests, which generally took place on Alpine passes far away from the public eye. Despite its heavier weight, its performance was convincing. The 300 SL sports car had indeed been turned into an open-top touring car. This was a prime opportunity to tap into the target market of the USA. This was also where the first photo of the car on the Stelvio Pass was published, captioned “The Secret SLS”. The decision was taken to launch series production, and the prototype was revealed to the public at the end of October.

However, the production Roadster was again supposed to be called 300 SL, with SLS being kept for two open-topped lightweight cars to be tested for their abilities on the racetrack. The experiments eventually succeeded, but things stopped there. The new 300 SL roadster celebrated its glittering premiere at the 1953 Geneva Motor Show. It replaced the coupé in the same year, upon which its production was ceased.

It had big shoes to fill, shoes that had also belonged to a legend in its own right. The 300 SL roadster successfully continued the history of the gull-winged car. 1,858 roadsters were made up to the start of 1963, with most of them being sent across the pond. Further development work was performed on the 300 SL on an ongoing basis over those six years. From 1958 onwards, a hard top was available upon request to make the roadster suitable for use in winter. In 1961, it was fitted with disc brakes all around, and in its final stage an aluminium engine block was instruduced in 1962.

The glory days came to an end in March 1963. It had no successors: the 230 SL was not able to fill the gap. Even the Head of Design, Bruno Sacco, admitted in retrospect that the W113 had been a step in the wrong direction, even though it had been successful. There would never again be a car to match the 300 SL.

The more special a car is, the more special the stories are that it can tell, as is the case with this 300 SL. It is not only the 11th car to come off the assembly line, built as the last coupés were leaving the factory: it has also been owned by the Wiesenthal company for 42 years. It can now tell the story of a family whose life was greatly shaped by it in between..

Günter Tugendsam moved from Vienna to Sweden in the mid-1960s. He was looking for work and found a job in a Mercedes workshop in Stockholm, where he had ended up stranded with his old Opel. Along with employment, he found his future wife there, Pia, the boss’ daughter. They got married and drove a 190 SL designed to look like its big brother, with its headlights adorning the front. Why? Because the 300 SL was always what he had dreamed of.

This dream came true when a Swedish collector decided to move overseas and sell all his cars.. Günter did not quite have enough cash for the gullwing, but he could manage the roadster, as that had been damaged at the front left-hand corner. He worked with his expert father-in-law to fix the damage quickly, renewing the that piece of chassis in the very front left. As the chassis number is found in that spot, for the coupés an the early roadsters, all this car still has is its original tag, not an unusual fate for the 300 SL.

Günter moved back to Vienna at around the same time, bringing his wife, their SL and plans for his own company with him, too. The roadster was issued its ‘Einzelgenehmigung’ on 15 April 1975 and fully registered in Pia’s name the next day. It was taken to Sweden the next summer. Not only had a daughter appeared on the scene, the roadster needed a new coat of paint. An argument broke out over the colour of its new paint. Günter’s father-in-law insisted in the original silver grey, but it was ultimately painted gold. As a result, the mood within the family was in need of some improvement.

The family said goodbye to their pride and joy one year later. The 300 SL made its way to the Wiesenthal collection in exchange for 300,000 Schilling, enough to build a house and start a business. The purchase test and sales contract from the time have been preserved to this day. Its unfortunate paint job was swiftly rectified in its new home and the roadster was repainted in its original shade. It was driven and well-maintained over the next few years.

This is exactly how it looks today: unrestored, with a beautiful portion of patina, that makes it utterly fascinating. The traces of its 60-year history and 73,000 kilometres travelled make it a work of art depicting history, a work of art which must be preserved. This is also part of this SL‘s story that makes it so truly exceptional.


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Auction: The Wiesenthal Collection
Date: 01.12.2018 - 17:00
Location: Camineum der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, <br>Eingang: Josefsplatz 1, 1015 Wien
Exhibition: 27.11. - 01.12.2018


** Purchase price excl. charges and taxes

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