The Gullwing that topped Concours: 1956 Mercedes Benz 300SL Coupe

9 March, 2015

Knowing that there are only two early Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwings in the country, the likelihood of stumbling across one in your local supermarket car park is extremely remote indeed. 

What makes this particular Gullwing so rare is that it’s number 27 of the 29 aluminium-body Gullwings ever built. This is the only one of the aluminium-body 300 SLs painted in this combination of MB 608 elfenbein (elephant ivory) with red, gabardine, tartan-plaid seats and cream leather — specification L2.

It is a matching number car with all components matching the build sheet, with the exception that it is trimmed in nappa leather rather than vinyl texleder.    

The car was delivered with, and still retains, the factory NSL-specification engine that includes high-performance camshaft, as well as a special suspension package. The restoration of this car has taken four years.

At the recent Ellerslie Intermarque Concours d’Elegance, this stunning example won the coveted Master Class competition against four other world-class restorations, scoring 564 points out of a possible 590 points. This is the third-highest score achieved at this event in its 42-year history. 

Read all about this 1956 Mercedes Benz 300SL Coupe in the upcoming New Zealand Classic Car Issue No. 292.

Travelling companion

It’s easy to see why the Morris Minor Traveller was one of the best-loved variants of the Morris Minor. Introduced in 1953, it was equipped with the same independent torsion bar front suspension, drum brakes, and rack and pinion steering as its saloon sibling but, with their foldable rear seat increasing versatility, many Travellers were used as trade vehicles, says Derek Goddard. Derek and Gail Goddard, the owners of this superbly restored example, have run Morris Minors since before they were married in 1974.
“Our honeymoon vehicle was a blue Morris Minor van — it was a rust bucket,” says Derek.

Super Leicht Gullwing

It’s fair to say that nothing much in the classic Mercedes world gets past Mercedes-Benz Club stalwart Garry Boyce so it wasn’t surprising to learn that around 15 years ago he had sniffed out an extremely rare 300SL lightweight Gullwing as well as a 1958 300SL Roadster hiding away in the Waikato. The cars were not for sale but Garry eventually managed to persuade the owner to allow him and his restoration team to take a look at the Roadster. They discovered a very distressed but largely unmolested car. The car was so original that the body had never been off the chassis, meaning most of the parts and fittings were still present and correct, as they had been fitted by the factory.