Amelia Island

8 March 2014

Lot 122

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster

To be auctioned on Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sold for $1,842,500

  • Chassis no. 198.042.7500569
  • Engine no. 198.980.7500545
  • Body no. 198.042.7500493
History is important to us, and all lots offered are fully researched. All corresponding information and accessories, from certificates to tool kits, stays with the lots we sell. All of this is held at our library on site, under the Access the Knowledge banner, so please visit us there or contact us before the auction if you require further information.


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

  • One of only 25 original Rudge wheel Roadsters
  • Originally owned by Natalie Wood
  • Restored by 300 SL specialist Rudi Koniczek
  • Winner of Best in Class at the 2012 Amelia Island Concours
  • Desirably equipped and beautifully finished, with Hollywood provenance


There was no doubt that Mercedes-Benz had a hit on their hands with their spectacular 300 SL Gulling. The car’s looks, performance, and brilliant engineering captivated the automotive world, and it proved to be a runaway success for Mercedes-Benz. After production ended on the iconic Gullwing Coupe, the marque was eager to add a convertible version to its lineup.

A prototype of this new model was first spotted in the summer of 1956 at Stuttgart, by the German magazine Auto, Motor und Sport, while the production model would later debut at the 1957 Geneva Motor Show. By the end of that year, the final 70 of the 1,400 Coupes and the first 618 of the 300 SL Roadsters were assembled.

Along with a convertible top, the 300 SL brought a host of advancements to the already state-of-the-art 300 SL platform. The central section of the 300 SL’s space-frame chassis was lowered, the sills were smaller, and the doors were enlarged, in order to allow improved entrance and egress. Strength was maintained, nonetheless, with the addition of diagonal struts, which braced the lowered side sections to the rear tubular members. The suspension was also revised to allow for a more comfortable ride and improved handling. At the rear, the spare tire was repositioned below the trunk floor, necessitating a smaller fuel tank but also maintaining reasonable luggage space. While these revisions added some 250 pounds, with the majority of the weight being associated with the convertible top and its mechanisms, the car remained an excellent performer, with a factory-claimed 137 mph top speed.

Just like the Coupe, the 300 SL Roadster proved to be the vehicle of choice for those with brilliant taste in aesthetics and cutting-edge engineering. As such, many wound up in the garages of celebrities, racing drivers, and other financially successful individuals. With a list price of $11,000, ownership of a 300 SL Roadster was a dream to most when the car was new, but to those with the funds to spare, the car was worth every penny. To those looking to make a statement with the purchase of a new car, there was simply no better option available for purchase in 1957.

This 300 SL Roadster was one of only about twenty-five fitted by the factory with the extremely desirable Rudge wheels, as they were more often seen on the Gullwing. In January 1958, it was purchased new by none other than legendary actress Natalie Wood. Wood’s starring role in the classic film Miracle on 34th Street propelled her to A-list status at the age of 9, and by 1955, she had been nominated for an Academy Award, for her performance as Judy in Rebel Without a Cause. She purchased her Roadster at the age of 19, a month after marrying fellow actor Robert Wagner. It was the perfect automobile for Natalie Wood, as both car and driver were young, fashionable, beautiful, and brimming with talent.

Even though her new Roadster was clothed in a gorgeous shade of Mercedes-Benz Silver (DB 180) with a Red (641) leather interior, Wood had the car repainted bright pink, but she retained the red leather interior. It could be argued that no other car in Hollywood attracted more attention, especially with a gorgeous young actress behind the wheel. The 300 SL clearly had quite an impact on Wood, and even after parting ways with her pink Roadster in the 1960s, she was often seen in other vehicles adorned with the three-pointed star.

The Roadster was later owned in 1978 by Don McColl, an enthusiast in Ontario, and it was reported to have been returned to the original color combination at that time. In 2000, it was fully restored by the noted 300 SL expert Rudi Koniczek, of Rudi & Company in Victoria, British Colombia.

The car was refinished in a brilliant shade of Silver Blue (353 G), with a red leather interior and dark blue convertible top, and interestingly, the paint seems to change in different settings, as it appears silver in most conditions, but a subtle hint of blue will emerge when under bright sunlight. Mechanical authenticity was a top priority in restoring the car, and as such, it is factory correct in every detail, down to the correct hose clamps in the engine bay. The original Rudge wheels are also fitted with modern limited-production Dunlop tires that were specially designed for the 300 SL. The car is also offered with a complete set of books and tools, an original spare Rudge wheel, and a period-correct Becker radio, and it is fitted with the more desirable European headlights.

In 2010, under the stewardship of its current owner, the 300 SL Roadster participated in the Colorado Grand, where it performed effortlessly for the entirety of the rally, proving to be a comfortable and competent high-speed tourer.

Then, in 2012, it had the honor of returning to Hollywood, where it was displayed by Mercedes-Benz U.S.A. in the exclusive SL@Hollywood - Celebrating 60 Years of a Living Legend exhibition, which took place at the Warner Brothers Studios in Los Angeles, California. This exhibition served to show the connection of the SL family of cars to Hollywood’s elite. This particular Roadster was used to represent the model for the 1950s, and it was displayed amongst examples of other generations of Mercedes-Benz SLs, right up to the current model. Celebrating Natalie Wood’s career, it was put on display with other items owned and often associated with the actress. Later that year, the Roadster would remain in the limelight, as it made an appearance at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. This was a special year for the SL at Amelia Island, as the concours was celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL and its win at Le Mans in 1952. It was also a special event for this example, as it was awarded with Best in Class honors amidst an excellent field.

Having put nearly 3,000 miles on the car since the completion of its restoration, the consignor notes that everything on the 300 SL works perfectly, down to the original clock. It has proven its worth as both a touring and concours-level machine, as it is as comfortable at speed as it is parked on a concours lawn. Combined with the added bonus of its celebrity provenance, the most desirable factory option of Rudge wheels, and an utterly ravishing color combination, this is one of the finest 300 SL Roadsters available for sale today.

Titles as 1958.

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

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

aclassick@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

Annette Abaci

aabaci@rmauctions.com

+49 (0) 40 441 95 737
Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

dwarrener@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmauctions.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmauctions.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, USA

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

gduff@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

jboxstrom@rmauctions.com

+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

mgirardo@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

rmyers@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

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

Vinnie Mandzak

vmandzak@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more