The collector car market these days is red hot… at the top anyway. Blue Chip collectibles, cars like Ferrari 250GTs of just about any type are pulling big money, the best, well documented, no stories Shelby Cobras are on fire, Aston Martin DBs of any number are going through the roof and Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwings and roadsters have seen price increases over the last few years that would make any Wall Street investor wish all their investments paid such returns. The ’55 300SL alloy bodied car that’s pictured here is being offered at Gooding and Company’s Scottsdale, AZ auction in January of 2012… it is, arguably, one of the most sought after 300SLs and it’s poised to pull big dollars at the sale.
Mercedes-Benz made just 29 alloy bodied 300SLs (alloy bodied refers to the aluminum coachwork as opposed to steel) for special clients who, theoretically, planned to race their cars. Not only were the bodies lighter, but they were equipped with tuned suspension and a more highly tuned engine making them perfectly suited to the gentleman racer back in the days when you could drive such a car to a race track, use some masking tape to cover the headlamps and put numbers on the side of the car, race the car and then drive it home afterwards.
The 29 alloy bodied Gullwings are well documented, they have been tracked for years, be serial number, by die hard enthusiasts and marque specialists around the world. A complete list of these cars and where they reside (and with whom) is printed in SL specialist and publisher of ‘The SL Market Letter” John Olson’s book “The SL Experience” available on his SL Marter website or at Amazon.com. This book is the definitive guide to Mercedes-Benz SLs by year starting with the 300SLs from the 1950s all the way into the early 2000s with the last of the R129 chassis cars.
This 1955 300SL alloy bodied car that will be auctioned at the Gooding and Co. auction in January is certainly one of the rarest of the breed. The auction estimate for this car is $2.5 to $3.5 million. Seeing how one of these hasn’t come up for auction in the past five years, and who knows when the next one will become available, it wouldn’t surprise me if this car sells handily in that range next month in Arizona. I suppose it wouldn’t surprise me if it went beyond that estimate, but it would certainly be all the money, as this estimate is easily twice the price of a perfect 300SL to this point… but hey, Where are you going to find another? If the right two bidders want this car bad enough, who knows how far up the price will go?