16-17 August 2013

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Lot 117

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster

  • Chassis no. 198.042.7500229
  • Engine no. 198.980.7500107
  • Body no. 198.042.7500131

Sold for $1,430,000

215 bhp (DIN), 240 bhp (SAE), 2,996 cc overhead-cam inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transition, coil-spring independent front suspension, and coil-spring single point swing axle rear suspension. Wheelbase: 94.5 in.

  • Single-family ownership from new until 2009
  • Only 42,312 original miles since new
  • A First in Class and People’s Choice Award at the 2012 Mercedes-Benz National Starfest Concours d’Elegance
  • Fresh restoration in original Ivory with Green leather interior
  • Full matching-numbers example accompanied by original factory and title documentation and ample restoration documentation

This example, chassis 7500229, is a 1957 U.S.-specification example. It was dispatched by train to the seaport of Hamburg, Germany, on September 27, 1957. Its first destination was Studebaker Packard, of South Bend, Indiana, which was Max Hoffman’s distribution center. According to the specifications provided by a copy of the original build sheet, this car was delivered new in Ivory (608) with a Green leather interior (1073) and green cloth top. It was specified as having a Becker Mexico radio, sealed beam headlights, U.S.–specification instrumentation with English inscriptions, and a final drive ratio of 1:3.89.

From South Bend, it was delivered to Burklein Motors, of Beverly Hills, which was a Rambler dealer that also sold Mercedes-Benz. The car remained unregistered with Burklein Motors until March 28, 1963, when the franchise was dissolved; at that point, this Roadster was registered in the name of Mr. Burklein. The original California “pink title” from this transaction survives and is included with the sale of the car, as is the original 1963 California “black plate,” which notably only had one registration renewal sticker on it, for 1964.

In 1967, Mr. Burklein and his family moved to Tucson, Arizona, and the Mercedes went with them. It was driven sparingly and always well maintained, being resprayed in white sometime in the 1980s. It remained in Mr. Burklein’s Tucson estate all those years, until its purchase by the second owner, Mr. Mischler, of Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2009, ending the original ownership chain that had remained intact for half a century! At this point, the car had less than 42,000 original miles on the odometer, for an average of less than 1,000 miles per year. Mr. Mischler commissioned famed 300SL restorer Bill Richardson, of Richardson Restoration & Machine Werks in Phoenix, Arizona, to perform a full, no-expense-spared, four-year restoration, at a cost of several hundred thousand dollars. Originality was Mr. Mischler’s prime interest, and it was decided that the car would be restored to its original color combination and specifications, down to the last detail.

The restoration was one of the most comprehensive ever performed under Bill Richardson, who confirmed that, when he removed the paint, the condition of the car was one the best he had ever seen in the over one hundred 300SLs he has restored in the past four decades.

All the mechanical work was either performed or directly supervised by Bill. At the owner’s direction, every nut and bolt was restored at great expense, in order to retain all of the original numbered parts whenever possible, including the axles, A-frames, generator, and a long list of other items. As such, it is believed to be one of the purest restored examples available today. Further, this California/Arizona car has never had any damage or rust of any kind, and, except for the passenger door, it still retains all its original body panels. The only modification that was made from the factory card was the upgrade to the expensive and more desirable European-specification headlight assemblies and bumpers, which were sourced as NOS units.

Accompanying the spirited Mercedes is the original jack and an original owner’s manual, as well as the aforementioned pink title and California black plate. Complete records of the restoration are included on a CD, which contains over 300 photographs of the complete restoration. Finally, itemized billing, which comprises approximately 40 pages from Richardson Restorations & Machine Werks, is also included.

Finished in its original livery of Ivory and Green, the result of the work was such that it won both a People’s Choice Award and First in Class at the September 2012 Mercedes-Benz’s factory-sponsored Starfest National Concours d’Elegance at the Biltmore Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The chain of ownership is amazingly intact, having remained in the Burklein family until 2009, when the title was established in the name of the current owner, Mr. Mischler, making the next owner of the car only the third in its 56 years of existence. Presented in stunning, show-ready condition, it is ready to grace the fields of concours around the globe, and the stable of its next owner.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more