Who knew that Mercedes Benz’s first racing effort after the World War would be so potent. The W194, was introduced at the Mille Miglia in 1952, the car’s performance had already impressed everyone. In its debut outing at the Italian 1000km road rally, the car took home an impressive 2nd and 4th position. This was just the beginning for greater things to come for the W194, as it would soon go on to win at multiple events that included the 24 hours of Le Mans and the Carrera Pan-America, two of the most prestigious open-world motorsport events back then (and even today).
The W194 300 SL race car was an incredible machine. Stuttgart started building a car around a welded aluminium tubular spaceframe chassis that would hold the carburetted straight six engine. While the spaceframe was built around the driver compartment in a way that maximised weight saving and rigidity, hence the high-sill doors had to be installed instead of the regular ones, giving the W194 300 SL its most unique character.
It was Max Hoffman, a U.S-based Mercedes distributor and Daimler-Benz’s official importer who suggested the Daimler management that a road-legal car based on the competition-winning W193 would be highly successful. This resulted in the iconic Mercedes Benz 300 SL gull-wing, which apart from its outstanding performance also made supercars a norm for other sports car manufacturers to follow.
While the first 300 SL is an icon in ever right, its roadster version was the car that lived a longer life than the gull-winged machine. Where the coupe was available from 1955 to 1957, the roadster, which was even more polished than the roadster went on to sell for six years until 1963. While nothing as extravagant in its design as compared to the coupe, the 300 SL roadster had a redesigned cockpit area and conventional doors which made the car much more accessible to anyone. The rear suspension geometry was also changed to make the roadster a better match for the roads. Back in 1957, the time the 300 SL roadster hit showroom floors around the world, it had easily cinched the crown of being the fastest convertibles of its time.
This particular example here, a 1957 Mercedes Benz 300 SL is from the first year that the roadster was introduced to the world. It has been driven on both sides of the pond, starting its life in the United States, the car was brought back to Europe in Norway and then eventually landed in a private car collection in Denmark, from where it will now be apart of Bonhams Padua Sale later in October.